Exquadrum’s mission on the DARPA Operational Fires (OpFires) program was to develop and demonstrate a highly innovative rocket booster to launch hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical time sensitive targets. DARPA awarded Exquadrum a $15.1 million Prime Contract in September 2018. Exquadrum partnered with key subcontractor, Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama, in order to achieve DARPA’s challenging technical and programmatic objectives.
Three weeks after contract award, Exquadrum began hot-fire, static testing of TopFuel rocket propulsion technology, which uses a tactical, liquid monopropellant to augment and control a solid rocket motor enabling a wide range of throttleabilty and energy management capability to meet OpFires mission objectives. By the time that technical work on the OpFires contract ended in June 2020, Exquadrum had conducted over 200 hot-fire, TopFuel rocket tests. Exquadrum was the only one of the three OpFires Prime Contractors to conduct a full-scale, full-duration static test within the first year after contract award.
In June 2020, Exquadrum conducted its final OpFires rocket test known as the Technology Maturation Event 2A (TME2A). TME2A was a second full-scale, full-duration (90+ second) static test, but used flight-ready solid propellant and liquid monopropellant. The hardware was primarily flight-weight, but the stage structure/case was heavy-weight. TopFuel rocket propulsion technology is now ready to transition to a host of advanced flight applications from hypersonics to traditional rocket booster systems.
DARPA Approved for Public Release the following materials about Exquadrum’s OpFires program:
- DARPA’s OpFires TME1 Press Release
- Exquadrum’s OpFires TME2A Press Release
- Photo of Exquadrum’s OpFires TME2A Test (see above)
- Accelerated-Time Video of Exquadrum’s OpFires TME2A Test
- Normal-Time Video of Exquadrum’s OpFires TME2A Test