The objective of this project is to evaluate the performance and viability of Electric Solid Propellant (ESP) technology as an environmentally-benign alternative fuel source for tactical rocket propulsion systems. Warfighters and nearby personnel are invariably exposed to toxins during the handling and usage of man-portable and shoulder-launched rocket systems. The need for low toxicity, high performance substitutes for traditional rocket motor propellants has led to the development and maturation of ESP technologies.

Technology Description

ESPs function by using electric current to induce activation of specialized solid propellant. Once activated, electric propellant can be operated like any standard energetic propellant. Additionally, it can be extinguished and restarted to produce pulsed or throttled propulsive output. ESPs have demonstrated high performance at the theoretical and laboratory testing level, but have not been scaled to meet the size and performance requirements of tactical rocket motor systems. In this project, Hydroxylammonium Nitrate (HAN)-based ESPs will be formulated, scaled, and tested to approach or exceed propulsion performance criteria for Javelin-sized tactical rocket systems. Technical performance will be evaluated via subscale testing, heavy-wall motor simulation testing, and prototype system development at U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal.


ESP yields high environmental benefit due to an innate lack of toxic ingredients. This creates an environmentally friendly ecosphere for an ESP-fueled weapon system, which extends throughout the entire lifecycle of the product including development, fielded use, and demilitarization. Environmental benefits will be evaluated and quantified during the project. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2019)