Solid Rocket Motors (SRMs) and defense technologies supplier X-Bow Systems will deliver its Pathfinder I mobile energetics factory demonstration unit (Rocket Factory In-A-Box) to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Edwards, California.
The unit has been developed as part of X-Bow’s low-cost additive manufacturing approach to solid rocket motors, developed in conjunction with, and as part of, AFRL’s Eternal Quiver Program.
X-Bow’s Rocket Factory In-a-Box (RFIB) Pathfinder I is an inert demonstration unit of a mobile, containerized SRM ‘factory’ that combines innovative design, automation, and additive manufacturing techniques.
Pathfinder I operates in a small footprint and greatly increases flexibility in the manufacturing and fielding of rockets to specific missions.
The X-Bow approach removes many design constraints and delays that are inherent to the current methods of producing SRMs. X-Bow’s design and modular manufacturing techniques, together with state-of-the-art automation and digital engineering, enable affordable rocket propulsion anytime, anywhere.
“Advanced propulsion technology, cutting-edge manufacturing, and our talented and dedicated team of engineers are critical to developing next-generation rocket solutions,” said Jill Marsh, X-Bow System RFIB program manager. “Over the next several years, X-Bow aims to work together with AFRL to identify projects and technologies to evolve the Pathfinder I capability for use in defense and other applications.”
“I look forward to our continued collaboration with X-Bow Systems and witnessing their technology change and modernize how we manufacture solid rocket motors,” said Dr Shawn Phillips, Chief Rocket Propulsion Division of AFRL Rocket Lab, located at Edwards AFB, CA. “We eagerly look forward to receiving the world’s first Rocket Factory In-a-Box Pathfinder and evaluating the amazing potential this technology brings to our mission. The pace of the world’s threats and evolution of capabilities means we cannot stand still. This demonstration unit will allow us to redefine what solid rocket motor production means in the 21st century.”
“X-Bow is poised to deliver the world’s first tactical mobile energetics factory demonstration unit. The significance of this technology and what it could do to enable tactical responsive space access, increase the solid rocket motor industrial base resiliency and production capacity, shorten the design and production timelines and radically lower the cost for hypersonics, tactical missiles, missile defense and other commercial applications is now a significant step closer with this AFRL backed endeavor,” said X-Bow CEO Jason P. Hundley. “We look forward to demonstrating its capabilities and further collaboration with AFRL Edwards in radically pushing the paradigm of solid rocket motor design development forward.”