Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) (TBCC)

sferrin

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"DARPA’s new Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program seeks to develop and demonstrate a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate at subsonic through hypersonic speeds and lay the framework for routine, reusable hypersonic flight. Click below for high-resolution image.

In the decades-long quest to develop reusable aircraft that can reach hypersonic speeds—Mach 5 (approximately 3,300 miles per hour/5,300 kilometers per hour) and above—engineers have grappled with two intertwined, seemingly intractable challenges: The top speed of traditional jet-turbine engines maxes out at roughly Mach 2.5, while hypersonic engines such as scramjets cannot provide effective thrust at speeds much below Mach 3.5. This gap in capability means that any air-breathing hypersonic vehicles developed today would use disposable rockets for one-time boosts up to operating speed, limiting the vehicles’ usefulness.

To help remove these constraints and lay the framework for routine hypersonic flight with reusable vehicles, DARPA has launched its Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program. AFRE seeks to develop and demonstrate a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds required from low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight. "

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/175011/darpa-launches-advanced-full-range-engine-program.html


I thought several companies were already working on this? Isn't that the basis of the so-called "SR-72"? And are they going to actually finish this program or quit as soon as they're covered old ground?
 

flateric

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http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24
 

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dark sidius

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Its the same than Facet program ? Why doing another new instead of pursue the earlier program ?
 

fredymac

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I have often wondered what the backdrop to seemingly erratic bureaucratic behavior entails. In the particular case of the DOD/DARPA and hypersonic technology, if you list out all the various programs that were started, often to great fanfare, and then quietly dropped, it seems there is some hidden struggle behind the curtain between proponents who genuinely want to advance the technology vs an entrenched and determined resistance who maneuver to gut the funding and render the project stillborn. It is enough to inspire conspiracy theories such as Aurora where the government goes through gyrations to demonstrate it is responsive to calls for action but then arranges to scuttle any real effort so as to protect the advantage of having a secret hypersonic operational capability. Unfortunately, the prosaic explanation of incompetence plus factionalism is probably closer to the truth.
 

sferrin

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flateric said:
http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24

Isn't that pretty much what LM is already doing? The last I heard they were going to stuff a fighter engine in a TBCC path. (Hello XF-103.)
 

merriman

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So, using Alan Bond's heat-exchanger, they will bridge the performance gap between the turbine's high-end and ram-jets low end; use the air-chiller to keep the compressor from melting till the plant hits ram-jet 'start' velocity and, bingo, you have your oft promised hybrid.

No they won't. NIH. Government at work (sic).



David
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
flateric said:
http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24

Isn't that pretty much what LM is already doing? The last I heard they were going to stuff a fighter engine in a TBCC path. (Hello XF-103.)

I suspect that since most of the DMRJ work has been sole-sourced to Aerojet that there was pressure to compete some of the development. And to put the effort under tighter security than NASA typically operates at.
 

sferrin

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marauder2048 said:
sferrin said:
flateric said:
http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24

Isn't that pretty much what LM is already doing? The last I heard they were going to stuff a fighter engine in a TBCC path. (Hello XF-103.)

I suspect that since most of the DMRJ work has been sole-sourced to Aerojet that there was pressure to compete some of the development. And to put the effort under tighter security than NASA typically operates at.

Is NASA actually doing anything in that realm?
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
marauder2048 said:
sferrin said:
flateric said:
http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24

Isn't that pretty much what LM is already doing? The last I heard they were going to stuff a fighter engine in a TBCC path. (Hello XF-103.)

I suspect that since most of the DMRJ work has been sole-sourced to Aerojet that there was pressure to compete some of the development. And to put the effort under tighter security than NASA typically operates at.

Is NASA actually doing anything in that realm?

They do a fair amount but not huge $$$. But even this DARPA effort is only budgeted for $9M this year.

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/cdtb/aboutus/workshop2015/HSP_3_Stueber.pdf
 

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CammNut

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AFRE is in essence the Mode Transition (MoTR) program, which was to be an outgrowth of DARPA's FALCON, but which was going to use a high-Mach turbojet to get the propulsion system to the ramjet takeover speed. AFRE's goal is to achieve this with a "normal Mach" turbojet.

MoTR was terminated, but would have used one of the small Mach 3-plus engines developed by Williams and Rolls-Royce under the US Air Force Research Laboratory's HiSTED program. AFRE will use a small turbojet that can operate to a more normal Mach 2-2.5 range.

The big issue with turbine-based combined cycle engines for hypersonics bridging the speed gap between the turbojet and the ramjet. Research has been focused of getting the ramjet takeover speed as low as possible, and AFRE suggests they have made some progress.

At AFA in 2015, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks displayed a (model of a) version of its YJ102R HiSTED engine redesigned for lower Mach number, but longer endurance, to power potential future supersonic cruise missile. A version of this STELR engine could work within AFRE.
 

CammNut

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And I do suspect this is all related to the "SR-72". Lockheed's Skunk Works was a driving force behind first HTV-3X/Blackswift, then FACET, then MoTR, all of which came to nought. AFRE is another chance to get DARPA to fund a demo of the required TBCC propulsion system. HAWC is probably taking care of maturing the streamline-traced/inward-turning inlet and round-section DMRJ part of the system.
 

Flyaway

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sferrin said:
marauder2048 said:
sferrin said:
flateric said:
http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-06-24

Isn't that pretty much what LM is already doing? The last I heard they were going to stuff a fighter engine in a TBCC path. (Hello XF-103.)

I suspect that since most of the DMRJ work has been sole-sourced to Aerojet that there was pressure to compete some of the development. And to put the effort under tighter security than NASA typically operates at.

Is NASA actually doing anything in that realm?

Yes they were contracted by LM to do a SR-72 related study in the backend of 2014.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/nasa-launches-study-for-skunk-works-sr-72-concept-407222/
 

sferrin

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CammNut said:
And I do suspect this is all related to the "SR-72". Lockheed's Skunk Works was a driving force behind first HTV-3X/Blackswift, then FACET, then MoTR, all of which came to nought. AFRE is another chance to get DARPA to fund a demo of the required TBCC propulsion system. HAWC is probably taking care of maturing the streamline-traced/inward-turning inlet and round-section DMRJ part of the system.

What's particularly asinine about this is they'll just end up cancelling it again before anything flies. We all know they will. That's how supersonic/hypersonic air-breathers work in the US. How many times are they going to quit at the first sign of difficulty only to pick it up with a new crew years down the road in hopes there will be no problems? Where would they be today if they'd just gritted through with Blackswift and RASCAL, knowing that it costs money and were willing to pay for it?
 

bring_it_on

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Flight testing isn't a part of AFRE. They'll need a new follow-on program for that, and that could be years away. I'm satisfied as long as we are headed in the right direction (as opposed to letting capability Atrophy even more than it already has) even though its not nearly as fast as I would like :'(
 

sferrin

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bring_it_on said:
Flight testing isn't a part of AFRE. They'll need a new follow-on program for that, and that could be years away. I'm satisfied as long as we are headed in the right direction (as opposed to letting capability Atrophy even more than it already has) even though its not nearly as fast as I would like :'(

Even worse. Just to put things in perspective, I believe it was in Ben Rich's biography "Skunk Works" wherein they estimated the development of the J58 for the Blackbird at $1 billion (with a "b") and those were 1960 dollars. So 9 million? That's good for maybe some powerpoints and the challenge coins the way things go today.
 

bring_it_on

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$9 Million is the FY17 spend on something where they are just now entertaining discussion through a proposers day . I don’t think this will be a one year program, so there is the possibility of them steadily increasing per annum $ allocation as the scope is defined, and as the team (s) get to work. Media hype aside, this is a TTO project that should run a few years.

FY17 Objectives:

- Begin preliminary design of the TBCC transition demonstration propulsion system, and develop ground test and associated
technology development plans.
- Design, fabricate, and initiate large scale dual-inlet testing.
 

sferrin

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"- Begin preliminary design of the TBCC transition demonstration propulsion system, and develop ground test and associated
technology development plans.
- Design, fabricate, and initiate large scale dual-inlet testing."

One can't help but wonder how this is different than any other of the numerous attempts done before. If they were actually serious they'd have a program the size of IHPTET/VAATE/AETD, etc. Oh well, I guess we'll see.
 

Flyaway

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sferrin said:
"- Begin preliminary design of the TBCC transition demonstration propulsion system, and develop ground test and associated
technology development plans.
- Design, fabricate, and initiate large scale dual-inlet testing."

One can't help but wonder how this is different than any other of the numerous attempts done before. If they were actually serious they'd have a program the size of IHPTET/VAATE/AETD, etc. Oh well, I guess we'll see.

Considering you seem to think no project will ever get to fruition I am not surprising you take stance.
 

sferrin

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Flyaway said:
sferrin said:
"- Begin preliminary design of the TBCC transition demonstration propulsion system, and develop ground test and associated
technology development plans.
- Design, fabricate, and initiate large scale dual-inlet testing."

One can't help but wonder how this is different than any other of the numerous attempts done before. If they were actually serious they'd have a program the size of IHPTET/VAATE/AETD, etc. Oh well, I guess we'll see.

Considering you seem to think no project will ever get to fruition I am not surprising you take stance.

Nobody would be more happy to be wrong about this than me. Seeing announcements like the one above, with almost token funding, combined with past performance, well, it's difficult for me to even take them seriously anymore.
 

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On Aug. 12, 2016, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued a broad agency announcement for the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) effort "to conduct component-level and full scale ground-based testing of a reusable propulsion system that will enable future long range hypersonic air vehicle applications."
 

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marauder2048

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from DOD Contracts for Sept. 12, 2017

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY



Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC (Orbital ATK), Elkton, Maryland, has been awarded a $21,441,308
cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a research project under the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program.
Fiscal 2017 research and development funds totaling $1,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity (HR0011-17-C-0100).
 

marauder2048

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DARPA Awards Aerojet Rocketdyne Contract to Develop Hypersonic Advanced Full Range Engine


SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc., a subsidiary of
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has entered into an agreement with the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop and ground test an innovative propulsion system under the
agency’s Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program.

“Through the AFRE program, we aim to mature the design and component technologies and bring them
together to conduct a full system-level Turbine Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) ground test demonstration,”
said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “Developing propulsion technologies capable of
operating at subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds would enable us to build future generations of
high-speed military aircraft to ensure air dominance.”

The primary goal of the AFRE program is to develop and ground demonstrate a reusable hydrocarbon
propulsion system that can seamlessly operate in a reliable and affordable manner over the full range of
speeds between takeoff and hypersonic cruise to enable responsive hypersonic aircraft for a variety of
military missions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the
aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that
provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems
and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets.
 

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marauder2048

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Possibly related (my highlight).

from

"Future of NASA's Aerosciences Capability" by Schuster and D'Agostino
 

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sferrin

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I sincerely hope they're not just trying to figure out boring old pre-compressor cooling. It took them about 5 minutes to figure that out for the F-4 Phantom Skyburner flights back in the day.
 

marauder2048

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DARPA Selects Orbital ATK for Hypersonic Engine Research Project
Program Seeks to Integrate Technologies into a New Aircraft Propulsion System

January 23, 2018 08:30 AM Eastern Standard Time
DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, has
entered into a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study potential integration of
turbine and hypersonic engine technologies into a new aircraft propulsion system under DARPA’s Advanced Full Range
Engine (AFRE) program.

The AFRE program seeks to develop a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds
from conventional runway low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight and then back to a conventional landing. Systems
that operate at hypersonic speeds potentially extend range and shorten response times, offering enhanced effectiveness
compared to current military systems. The program will explore the concept of a combined cycle engine technology
whereby during the flight, a turbine engine would operate up to supersonic speeds and a dual-mode ramjet would
transition to hypersonic speed.

Aside from the AFRE program, Orbital ATK is developing rocket pulse motors to operate at extremely cold temperatures
that provide increased range and flexibility for both tactical and defense applications. The company also maintains a
number of state-of-the-art hypersonic test facilities along the East Coast, as well as offers custom test products to
organizations to advance these groundbreaking capabilities and meet the needs of tomorrow’s warfighter.

...
 

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Boeing is working with Orbital for the propulsion system on the futur hypersonic plane , surely not hazard if they show it now.
 

sferrin

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dark sidius said:
Boeing is working with Orbital for the propulsion system on the futur hypersonic plane , surely not hazard if they show it now.

Key phrase here: "seeks to develop". Meaning you might get a powerpoint.
 

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sferrin said:
I sincerely hope they're not just trying to figure out boring old pre-compressor cooling. It took them about 5 minutes to figure that out for the F-4 Phantom Skyburner flights back in the day.

Considering the recent work refurbishing the old RASCAL precooler test rig for ostensibly the new SABRE testing, which is technically a TBCC,..
 

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is there any info. related to precooling?

it probably looks like enhancng thermal efficiency via cooling ambient air to me.

but is there any other reason?
 

ouroboros

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litzj said:
is there any info. related to precooling?

it probably looks like enhancng thermal efficiency via cooling ambient air to me.

but is there any other reason?

MIPCC and the mach 3 phantom project covers most of the current tech base. The point is to not melt your combustor/turbine blades by precooling, and in the phantom case you get more thrust due to water mass injection
 

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