Aerojet has been awarded an $11 million low-rate initial production contract from Raytheon Missile Systems to build 51 Dome Cooling Systems, which protect the infrared sensors on US Navy Standard Missile 2 Block IVAs.
According to a statement the contract follows successful verification testing and production readiness reviews at Aerojet. Once the low-rate production phase is complete in about three years, Aerojet expects full-rate production contracts to start.
In total, Aerojet will supply up to 1500 Dome Cooling Systems to Raytheon over the next 10 years for approximately $200 million.
Aerojet’s Dome Cooling System is said to play a critical role in enabling the infrared sensor on the Standard Missile 2 Block IVA to accurately locate, track and close in on its target.
The system provides a continuous flow of cool gas in front of the sensor dome to prevent build-up of the extreme heat that would normally occur during flight. Such heat would otherwise blind the infrared sensor.
The flow of cool argon gas is controlled the same way as fuel in liquid rocket engines, using channels formed by platelets to direct the gas through slots at the dome’s base and using pintle valves for precise volume control.
Solid propellant gas generators, similar to those found on solid rocket thrusters, ensure maximum coolant expulsion.
Aerojet began work on the Dome Cooling System in 1993 with an initial study contract, followed by a Risk Reduction Flight Demonstration contract in 1994.