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 details

This paper was presented at PARARI 2005 in Melbourne, Australia on 8-10 November 2005