The US Air Force has chosen Technical Directions (TDI) to provide the engine for the powered version of Lockheed Martin's Low Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS).

Michigan-based TDI will supply a 30lb (0.13kN) thrust turbojet to replace the previously used 50lb thrust Hamilton Sundstrand TJ50 engine, should the LOCAAS go into production. In the meantime, the TJ50 will be used for LOCAAS flight tests next year.

TDI is also developing 100lb and 60lb thrust engines - the TDI-J7 and TDI-J5 respectively - for decoy, target and missile applications. Company officials believe the TDI-J5 will be suitable for the Northrop Grumman (formerly Ryan)ADM-160A Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) and its derivative, the Miniature Air-Launched Interceptor (MALI). Both systems are in development for the USAF and are powered by the TJ50.

Powered LOCAAS is one of the candidates for the USAF's Miniaturised Munition Capability (MMC) programme. LOCAAS is a small, lightweight weapon with a laser radar terminal seeker and a multimode warhead designed for use against mobile targets. Typically, a fighter could carry 16 LOCAAS and a bomber nearly 100. The MMC will not be fielded before 2007.

Lockheed Martin is to perform three powered LOCAAS flight tests, beginning in December next year, as part of a $33 million advanced technology demonstration that runs until the end of 2001.

TDI has been chosen to power the LOCAAS because the TJ50 is deemed too large for the production weapon. Development of the TDI-J45G is almost complete and the company expects to have prototype engines ready next year for as-yet unscheduled follow-on flight tests.

Source: Flight International