Ursa Major Technologies partners with US Navy for solid rocket motor development

April 9, 2024

Small prototype motors for a man-portable application. Proprietary Ursa Major technology enables monolithic case manufacture, including incorporation of aero surfaces and internal motor features (Courtesy Ursa Major)
Small prototype motors for a man-portable application. Proprietary Ursa Major technology enables monolithic case manufacture, including incorporation of aero surfaces and internal motor features (Courtesy Ursa Major)

Ursa Major Technologies Inc, located in Berthoud, Colorado, USA, has announced a contract with the Naval Energetics Systems and Technologies (NEST) Program to develop and hot fire test a prototype solid rocket motor (SRM) for the US Navy’s Standard Missile (SM) programme. Under this contract, Ursa Major will develop a new design and apply the company’s Additive Manufacturing process to the Mk 104 dual-thrust rocket motor in coordination with the US Navy’s Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) 3.0, Naval Air Warfare Center – Weapons Division at China Lake, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head.

The Mk 104 SRM powers the US Navy’s SM arsenal, including the SM-2 for surface-to-air defence, the SM-3, used for ballistic missile defence, and the SM-6, an anti-air, land, and sea missile. In 2022, the Missile Defense Agency stated that the SM-6 is the only missile capable of intercepting manoeuvrable hypersonic missiles.

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While the Mk 104 is a high-performance motor, legacy models are challenging to manufacture. Using Ursa Major’s Lynx production process for SRMs, the company will leverage Additive Manufacturing to design a high-performing motor built for manufacturability and reliability.

“We are proud of the Navy’s support and recognition of Ursa Major as a trusted partner to develop the next generation of Mk 104 solid rocket motors,” stated Joe Laurienti, Ursa Major founder and CEO. “Our new approach to manufacturing SRMs allows Ursa Major to quickly develop high-performing motors at scale, driving volume and cost efficiencies to address this critical national need.”

“PEO IWS is excited to work with Ursa Major on this effort to bolster a critical component of the Nation’s industrial base,” said Captain Thomas Seigenthaler, Director of PEO IWS 3.0. “The production of solid rocket motors is a top priority, and we are impressed with Ursa Major’s innovative approach to address manufacturing challenges.”

Lynx, Ursa Major’s new approach to designing and manufacturing SRMs was introduced in November 2023. The process uses Additive Manufacturing and a product-agnostic tooling system to rapidly produce scalable SRM systems without expensive or time-consuming re-tooling or re-training.


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