X-Bow to Assemble Solid Rocket Motors for US Navy

Defense manufacturing firm X-Bow has received contracts to build Mk 72 and Mk 104 solid rocket motors for the US Navy.

The project aligns with the service’s Standard Missile program, which integrates primary surface-to-air defense weapons into the American surface fleet.

In support of the agreements, the New Mexico-based company will leverage its proprietary design solutions and manufacturing processes for the first and second stage propulsion of the navy’s standard missiles.

The approaches will build on models developed through a previous effort with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, which sought modern, low-cost solid rocket motor production techniques.

Work for the contracts will be facilitated in partnership with the US Navy’s Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 3.0, the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division – China Lake, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division, and the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

Standard Missile-6
A Standard Missile-6 Dual II is launched from the USS Daniel Inouye off the coast of Hawaii. Photo: US Navy

X-Bow wrote that its latest solid rocket motor contracts are the 7th and 8th initiatives launched with the form in the last eight months.

Other projects include the supply of new engines in strategic and tactical sizes for various military and commercial users.

“X-Bow Systems is proud to be a partner in addressing the nation’s critical need for more solid rocket motors,” X-Bow CEO Jason Hundley said.

“We have assembled a nationwide, experienced and talented team that is revolutionizing the approach to conventional manufacturing: enabling performance, flexibility, scaling, affordability, and reliability.”

US Navy Standard Missiles

The US Navy currently utilizes three types of standard missile systems for its ships, including SM-2 medium-range surface-to-air missiles, SM-2 Block IV extended-range air defense, and SM-6 over-the-horizon anti-air warfare warheads.

All have been developed in collaboration with defense industry contractor Raytheon since the 1980s and have received multiple iterations due to the US Department of Defense’s evolving firepower demands.

Depending on its configuration, the navy’s standard missiles can neutralize threats situated up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles/370 kilometers) away.

Recent Projects

The US Navy awarded Anduril Industries a $19-million contract in June to develop solid rocket motors for its SM-6 missiles.

In April, Colorado-based Ursa Major agreed to design an MK 104 dual rocket motor prototype for the navy’s existing standard missiles.

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