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AFTU Tackles Live Hypersonic Flight Test

March 4, 2024
A compact AFTU recently earned passing grades during live testing of an experimental hypersonic platform.

Hypersonic flights have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to the extent that subsystems are now being tested in the field. Testing is being performed as part of the Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonics Test Bed (MACH-TB) program to “accelerate” the development of hypersonic technology for the DoD, NASA, and industry.

During recent flight testing, CAES contributed successful development by having an autonomous flight termination unit (AFTU) perform without problems (see image above) as part of a hypersonic test platform. 

CAES Chief Operating Officer Dr. David Young remarked, “We are excited to expand upon the CAES product portfolio to include AFTUs for hypersonic vehicles.”

He explained, “The recent flight test continues to reaffirm our confidence in the AFTU product line by successfully demonstrating one of the CAES-developed and manufactured AFTU prototypes. Hypersonic development is a critical area, and we look forward to continuing to develop products that meet the needs of today’s challenging environment.”

The fully configurable termination unit is constructed with the latest software, component technologies, and manufacturing processes for long operating lifetime even in the hostile environments of hypersonic vehicles. It complies with the latest aerospace and defense (A&D) reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements in support of longer-distance, hypersonic systems. 

The CAES unit is remotely accessible for status monitoring and functional reconfiguring in the field. It includes five customizable input/output (I/O) banks and is compliant with all applicable specifications of the 319-19 commonality standard from the Range Commanders Council (RCC) Range Safety Group.

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