Aerojet Test Fires MDA’s Next Motor for Ballistic Missile Targets

Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed a live-fire test of the eSR-19 advanced large solid rocket motor at Edwards AFB, California.

The rocket motor is being trialed to power the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) next-generation Medium Range Ballistic Missile target to test the US government’s missile defense systems.

In addition, the test serves as preparation for associated flight test motor deliveries later this year in partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory.

Rocketdyne’s eSR-19 Rocket Motor

The eSR-19 is a revamped version of Rocketdyne’s SR-19 rocket motor currently utilized by the US government for the second stage of the LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.

The new system has a composite chassis and other upgrades for a lighter performance.

Rocketdyne and Air Force Research Laboratory conducted the eSR-19’s design verification test in October 2022.

Minuteman III ICBM missile launch
Unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile during an operational test in 2017 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Image: US Air Force/Senior Airman Ian Dudley

Supporting US and Allies

Once completed, the eSR-19 will propel both stages of MDA’s next air-launched, medium-range target vehicle being developed by Rocketdyne segment Coleman Aerospace.

Design and fabrication for the eSR-19 are being conducted at Rocketdyne facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, while cast and curation processes are taking place in Camden, Arkansas.

The final phase includes the integration of the rocket motors with the MDA target systems in Orlando, Florida.

“I applaud the dedicated efforts by teams across Aerojet Rocketdyne to meet this important milestone,” President and CEO Eileen Drake stated.

“Our steadfast workforce and advanced solid rocket motor propulsion remain crucial to helping protect our nation and our allies.”

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