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Aerojet Rocketdyne demonstrates SCEPS propulsion for next-generation torpedoes

Aerojet Rocketdyne has revealed the build and test of a Stored Chemical Energy Propulsion System (SCEPS), lithium boiler, which could feature in the next generation of US Navy (USN) lightweight torpedoes.

Announcing the milestone on 8 February, the company said the self-funded demonstration builds upon a Penn State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL) technical data package distributed by the USN in 2020 for the Compact Rapid Attack Weapon (CRAW) programme.

Applicable to high-power, short-duration missions, SCEPS is a thermal energy system that combines a closed volume, liquid metal combustor with a standard Rankine cycle. SCEPS propulsion was previously used in the USN's MK 50 lightweight torpedo, developed in the latter stages of the Cold War to counter fast, deep-diving, double-hulled Soviet submarines but subsequently retired in favour of the development of the more affordable Otto II fuelled MK 54.

The USN is returning to SCEPS propulsion for its MK 54 Mod 2 Advanced Anti-Submarine Lightweight Torpedo (ALWT), with Aerojet Rocketdyne under contract to the USN to deliver SCEPS prototype afterbody/tailcone assemblies for the ALWT propulsion system. Aerojet Rocketdyne also sees SCEPS being applicable to production exploitations of CRAW.

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