The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has completed a flight test campaign to assess the TDI-J85 low-cost turbojet engine that will power its Gray Wolf cruise missile.
“The TDI-J85 engine underwent a successful flight test campaign culminating in multiple inflight engine starts and operation at high altitude. The engine met performance expectations for thrust and surpassed fuel efficiency expectations.
The engines tested accumulated sufficient inflight operating time, building confidence in the design durability. The engine design focused on affordability and manufacturability, which enables increased production. Test results proved the engine capability. It is the first engine in its class and price point to successfully operate at altitude. With the success of this test, AFRL is one significant step closer to launching a low cost cruise missile.”
Gray Wolf is a directed prototype production and demonstration of low-cost cruise missile, say the U.S. Air Force.
“These low-cost cruise missiles will offer a stand-off solution with a variable payload capability, meaning the missiles are designed to cruise for distances greater than 250 nautical miles and can accommodate multiple mission profiles. Additionally, the program explored using multiple Gray Wolf missiles in a networked swarm to meet an evolving warfighter mission requirement.”
“The success of this test greatly increases our confidence in the performance of the engine and weapon systems as a whole. Developing the TDI-J85 engine in parallel to the cruise missile has proved challenging, but the collaborative partnership between AFRL, TDI, and Northrup Grumman has been outstanding.” – Col Garry Haase, AFRL/RW Director, said in a news release.