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Northrop Grumman successfully tests a new solid rocket motor developed in less than a year

Northrop Grumman successfully tests a new solid rocket motor developed in less than a year
Northrop Grumman’s SMART Demo static test successfully demonstrates several solid rocket motor innovations at the company’s Promontory, Utah, test area. (Photo Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully conducted a full-scale static test fire of a new solid rocket motor that was developed in less than a year as part of its Solid Motor Annual Rocket Technology Demonstrator (SMART Demo).


The SMART Demo successfully demonstrated several innovative technologies, alternate manufacturing materials and processes to reduce lead times by 75 percent, including:


  • Several advanced, long-lead tooling products as well as components of the solid rocket motor’s nozzle structure, constructed with additive manufacturing techniques

  • A new cost-effective solid rocket motor propellant capable of operating at cold temperatures

  • Alternative suppliers and new materials that could supplement or replace other long-lead materials experiencing challenged supply chains


Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman: “We are designing and building the world's largest and most advanced solid rocket motors, and we’re proving we can do so with shorter lead times, an expanded supply chain and increased agility for our customers.”


Details on SMART Demo:

SMART Demo shows the effective implementation of new solid rocket motor technologies, materials, and processes to reduce development time and costs and improve motor performance. The efforts include the design, development, build and test of a new solid rocket motor and associated tooling.


Northrop Grumman plans to execute SMART Demo’s annually as the company continues to invest and advance in solid rocket motor development and propulsion. SMART Demo expands and strengthens Northrop Grumman’s supplier base by streamlining the test and qualification of new materials, processes and alternate suppliers who manufacture critical materials that use faster and more efficient processes.


Northrop Grumman is also developing five new motors concurrently for the first time. As the company anticipates significantly expanding and increasing motor production count by 2030, it is constructing 11 new buildings and modifying 16 more to support new and existing programs. 


Northrop Grumman is a leading global aerospace and defense technology company. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with the capabilities they need to connect and protect the world, and push the boundaries of human exploration across the universe. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our employees define possible every day.


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