Virginia-based SPARC Research has secured a contract from the US Office of Naval Research for work on the Missile Integration Science and Technology – Ramjet (MISTR) programme.

The initial phase of the contract will include ‘significant follow-on potential’, lasting for a one-year period.

Despite being considered as a promising high-speed ramjet propulsion system with several tactical advantages, the Solid Fuel Ramjet (SFRJ), which has been in development for years, is yet to be implemented in an operational weapon system.

The MISTR programme of the US Navy has been designed to analyse the barriers to adoption of SFRJ, as well as to develop a ‘structured science and technology programme’ aimed at boosting readiness.

The aim of the programme is to enable SFRJ to become a feasible option for advanced combat capability.

SPARC Research president Patrick Hewitt said: “The MISTR programme is well-timed to support emerging long-range supersonic and hypersonic missile propulsion needs for the warfighter.

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“Almost across the board, user requirements seek to increase missile range and speed, and the SFRJ is one of the most attractive propulsion options available, if a number of technology challenges can be addressed.”

SPARC noted that the MISTR programme would benefit from a huge database of prior SFRJ research activities.

Founded in 2017, SPARC Research is aimed at advancing rocket and airbreathing technology development, as well as prototype demonstration using Multiphysics modelling tools.