Raytheon Technologies Inc.’s Tucson-based missiles and defense division is investing in and collaborating with a Texas aerospace manufacturer that specializes in high-performance propulsion technologies.
The series A investment in Firehawk Aerospace means the two companies will work together in research with a view toward integrating Firehawk’s technologies into future Raytheon’s (NYSE: RTX) missile system.
Firehawk, which is based in Richardson, Texas, is focused on developing hybrid rocket engines. It has several patents related to hybrid propulsion, rocket propellants and manufacturing.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense President Wes Kremer described the collaboration as key to the development of future missiles.
“Advanced propulsion technology is critical to developing next-generation missile solutions,” Kremer said in a statement. “Over the next several years, our companies will work together to identify projects that evolve Firehawk’s technology for use in defense applications.”
Firehawk describes a hybrid engine as one that uses both solid and liquid propellants. The advantage of these engines are that they are immune to accidental detonation. The company says such engines have historically had performance disadvantages, but it said those have been solved with Firehawk’s 3D printed rocket fuel.
“Our custom-made rocket engines use hybrid propulsion systems rather than conventional solids,” said Will Edwards, co-founder and chief executive officer of Firehawk, in a statement. “Applying these technologies to defense solutions will open up new capabilities against advanced threats.”
Separately, earlier this month Raytheon announced a major contract with the U.S. Navy to bring three new destroyers into service in a deal that could ultimately be worth as much as $1.68 billion.
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