The winner of the first xTechSearch works to scale itself and its product.
by Zeke Topolosky and Dr. Matt Willis
Adranos Inc. is a Purdue University-affiliated company that won the grand prize in the inaugural xTechSearch 1.0 for ALITEC, its high-performance, clean solid propellant for missile and space launch systems.
Adranos demonstrated a substantial performance increase over traditional propellants: ALITEC could increase the range of an Army Tactical Missile System by nearly 40 percent. Similarly, as a drop-in replacement for traditional solid propellant, ALITEC could increase the range of any other existing or future DOD missile systems, including rocket-assisted projectiles, hypersonic boosters and other similar applications. Adranos’ launch video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps9KBeXYhxE&t=61s.
The live flight demonstration enabled by xTechSearch garnered attention across DOD. For Chris Stoker, Adranos co-founder and CEO, the competition enabled his small company to get on DOD’s radar in a much more significant way than might otherwise have been possible. “The Army’s xTechSearch competition set forth relatively broad goals and allowed companies to propose solutions to accomplish those goals,” he said. “This approach was ideal for us, because funding opportunities that fit our specific solution were difficult to find. In addition, we were astonished at how quickly the Army progressed through all four phases of the competition. It enabled us to accelerate the development of our products so that we can implement them sooner than we would have been able to otherwise.”
Adranos is applying for fiscal year 2019 funding from the Rapid Reaction Technology Office of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in partnership with the Aviation & Missiles Center of the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command and the U.S. Air Force. It is also seeking fiscal year 2020 funding through the Joint Enhanced Munitions Technology Program. These funds will be used to perform additional tests and qualify ALITEC for use in specific platforms.
Additionally, Purdue University and the state of Indiana are putting together an incentive package for Adranos to build a research and development (R&D) and rocket motor manufacturing facility. The facility is expected to be operational by August 2020, producing mid-size rocket motors for customers and performing the remaining R&D that will be necessary to field ALITEC.
Also see A Different Kind of Competition.
This article is published in the Fall 2019 issue of Army AL&T magazine.
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