A team comprised of Exquadrum, Inc. of Adelanto, Calif., and Dynetics, Inc. of Huntsville, Ala., has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under the Operational Fires (OpFires) Propulsion System program.
Under the contractprogram, the team will design and develop innovative technologies that enable an advanced tactical weapon system.
Exquadrum is the prime on the $15.1 million contract, which is a two-phased effort over 24 months. The program aims to develop and demonstrate a novel ground-launched system for hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical time sensitive targets.
Exquadrum will lead the development and demonstration of the team’s innovative propulsion system technologies. It will perform fabrication and sub-scale testing in Adelanto. Large subsystem and system-level testing will be conducted in their Victorville, California, facility at Southern California Logistics Airport.
“We are thrilled to be part of this DARPA program,” said Kevin Mahaffy, Chief Executive Officer ofExquadrum. “We formed the team and developed the innovative approach specifically for OpFires. We’re excited that DARPA recognized the potential to offer ground-breaking capability to the warfighter.”
Dynetics will lead system engineering and integration, as well as produce the team’s design for the OpFires operational booster. It will also advise on propulsion technologies and lead development of other booster subsystems, such as avionics and controls.
“OpFires provides an ideal opportunity for Dynetics to team with Exquadrum,” said Andy Crocker, Dynetics Director of Strategy for Space. “Exquadrum is an established business known for innovation that offers rapid hardware demonstration of critical technologies. Dynetics is an agile and diverse aerospace and defense contractor with propulsion expertise and recent DARPA integration experience to ensure the technologies can be fielded in a weapon system. We are a perfect match for OpFires.”
Phase 1 will demonstrate the team’s critical technologies and include a Preliminary Design Review over 12 months, culminating in a system-level hot-fire test of the propulsion system. The award includes the potential to exercise a Phase 2 option, which will mature the propulsion system and the booster design over an additional 12 months, highlighted by a Critical Design Review and flight-weight system demonstrations.
Both companies have previously supported DARPA on technology advancement projects. Exquadrum was also a prime on the Force Application and Launch from Continental U.S. (FALCON) program. Dynetics was selected as the final performer for Gremlins, an aerial launch and recovery of low-cost, reusable unmanned aerial systems (UAS) demonstration program. Additionally, Dynetics is a prime contractor for the Mobile Force Protection counter-UAS program.