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.

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Andy
Andy
6 months ago

We might even be able afford a few.

Herodotus
6 months ago
Reply to  Andy

No doubt they hunt in packs and strike fear into the hearts of many. Or was that a helicopter with the same name….my bullshit detector has gone off!

Dan
Dan
6 months ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Are you thinking of Airwolf?

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 months ago

Hmm, a bigger Spear 3.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
6 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Spear 3 has a projected range of 85 nm and is more of a directed munition. Gray Wolf is 250 nm plus.
Gray Wolf will not be used in a network swarm. That effort has been transferred to a program called Golden Horde.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

That’s not the point I was getting to. Spear 3 is a multi-mode weapon it can pretty much attack any target the seeker can lock on to, including slow moving aircraft in theory. It was designed using the research that went into the evolution of Brimestone, but also included local networking when used as a group weapon. At some point Brimestone may also get these features for a closer ranged and slightly smaller weapon. Brimestone was offered to the US forces some time ago to meet a number of their requirements and also from the USAF having seen us use… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The defence lobby make it very difficult that’s for sure, still suprised NSM got through, that must have been a NSM in planning somewhere.