O-103 Review of the Use of HTPE in Rocket Motor propellants

November 2005
Michael Fisher (CPIA, Johns Hopkins University)Ian J. Powell (Mitigation Methods) Duncan Watt (Energetic Materials)

A new family of propellants based on the hydroxyl-terminated polyether (HTPE) polymer has moved into the forefront of solid propellant technology for tactical missile rocket motors, mainly because of a reduced sensitivity to Insensitive Munitions (IM) stimuli. HTPE is primarily used as a binder for rocket propellant formulations that contain energetic plasticizer (usually Bu-NENA), Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) and Ammonium Nitrate (AN). Both aluminised and non-aluminised propellant compositions have been produced.

In a number of development efforts and technology demonstrations, rocket motors in a range of sizes containing HTPE-based propellants have demonstrated the potential to meet the IM test criteria established by NATO and national authorities (and reaffirmed under Australian Defence Instruction (General) Logistics 07-10, Insensitive Munitions). In addition, these propellants have exhibited properties that match or exceed the performance of comparable HTPB-based propellants, as measured by density-impulse values.

This paper will provide a review of HTPE rocket propellant development. This is particularly relevant to the Australian Defence force as HTPE-based propellants are utilised in the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) rocket motor coming into service with the Australian Navy.

Presentation & publication details: 
This paper was presented at PARARI 2005 in Melbourne, Australia on 8-10 November 2005