Raytheon Wins DARPA Contract for Air-Breathing Propulsion Program with Rotating Detonation Engine

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 11:04 AM, October 5, 2023
  • 1106
Raytheon Wins DARPA Contract for Air-Breathing Propulsion Program with Rotating Detonation Engine
Illustration of DARPA's Gambit program

Raytheon has secured a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the development of Gambit, an air-breathing propulsion program featuring a Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE).

This engine design offers numerous advantages over traditional missile propulsion systems, including enhanced efficiency and the potential for reduced costs.

DARPA's Gambit program focuses on the development of RDEs as a novel propulsion solution for achieving standoff strikes against time-critical targets from fourth-generation fighter aircraft, scaled for campaign-level operations. Existing propulsion technologies, such as conventional rockets, ramjets, and gas-turbine engines, have inherent limitations in terms of maximum range, speed, and affordability, which hinder their ability to meet the objectives of the Gambit program. RDEs offer a solution, thanks to their compact size, allowing for increased fuel capacity, and their simplified design compared to gas turbine engines. These attributes make RDEs a cost-effective means of achieving the Gambit program's goals.

The Gambit program will culminate in the development and demonstration of RDE technology in a full-scale freejet test. Phase 1 will focus on the initial design of the freejet test article, substantiating the design through combustor and inlet testing. In Phase 2, detailed design, fabrication, and testing of the freejet test article will take place. Gambit holds the potential to lay the groundwork for the future development of prototype weapons.

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