General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has announced demonstrating its Autonomous Flight Termination Units (AFTUs) during a hypersonic rocket test flight campaign.

The AFTUs carried onboard two sounding rockets during the test flight at Wallops Island, Virginia.

The hypersonic test flight campaign is sponsored by the Navy Strategic Systems Programs and Army Hypersonic Program Office.

GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “GA-EMS’ long-established cooperative relationship with the army, navy and Sandia National Labs has been key to the design and advancement of hypersonic weapons technologies.

“Test flight demonstrations such as this are a critical part of the process toward verifying and inserting this technology into future hypersonic weapon systems. We are pleased the AFTUs performed successfully, advancing the readiness of the AFTU technology. This represents a major step in proving the AFTU’s capability to successfully operate in the hypersonic environment for which they were designed.” 

According to GA-EMS, the AFTUs are designed to help in ensuring flight safety for missiles. The units, added to the missile, compare the launched missile indexes with the pre-launch defined mission profile.

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In case of significant anomalies, the AFTU will command the vehicle to destruct.

Forney added: “The missile and space flight industry must provide a means of preventing a launch or aeronautical vehicle and its hazards, including any payload hazards, from reaching any populated or other protected area in the event of a vehicle failure.

“Our AFTUs provide the flexibility to operate independently or can be paired to operate together to share data, with the ability to continue the flight should one fail, thus increasing mission assurance.”

The test campaign involves demonstrating technologies to support the development of the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) offensive hypersonic strike capability.

Last year, GA-EMS won a design contract for large displacement uncrewed underwater vehicle (LDUUV) motors and power systems from the US Navy.