Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Tests Mach 4 Ramjet


Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s PWR-9221FJ dual-mode ramjet engine successfully completed its first ground test at Mach 4 flight conditions at Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tenn. A dual-mode ramjet engine is a key technology for developing reusable hypersonic vehicles. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

“Successful demonstration of the dual-mode ramjet engine integrated with a variable geometry inlet and exhaust nozzle sets the stage for future turbine-based, combined-cycle propulsion and flight demonstration opportunities,” said Cal DeFreese, program manager, Falcon Combined-Cycle Engine Technology (FaCET), Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. “Current testing is focused on validating the operability and robustness of the dual-mode ramjet design during simulated transitions from turbojet to ramjet propulsion modes.”

A dual-mode ramjet engine is designed to operate as both a ramjet at moderate supersonic speeds (up to Mach 5) and a scramjet at hypersonic speeds (greater than Mach 5). This broad range of operational capability is required for turbine-based, combined-cycle propulsion that would enable a vehicle to take off from and land on a conventional runway, and travel at speeds up to Mach 6.

The tests are being conducted as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s FaCET program; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a principal contractor to Lockheed Martin on the program. Additional tests over the next two months are designed to check the integrated system performance from Mach 3 to Mach 6 flight conditions.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.