The Aorus Engine could be Australia’s first exportable rocket engine, according to aerospace engineering experts.
The Aorus, which is being developed by a consortium led by the Australian Defence Research and Development Organisation (ADRDA), could be used to power a wide range of advanced military aircraft including fighter jets, submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles.
The propulsion system could be integrated into Australia’s next generation stealth aircraft, a Defence Department spokesman said.
“The ADRDA has been engaged in the development of a range of technology products that could be commercialised under the ‘Aorus’ program,” the spokesman said in a statement.”ADRCA’s propulsion systems have been demonstrated in an operational configuration and are being evaluated for commercial use by various defence contractors.”
A small number of Australian Government contractors have expressed interest in commercialising the AORUS engine as an alternative to the current ‘Star Wars’ engines.
“Commercialisation would allow Australian Defence to further develop Australia’s capability in this field and further diversify its defence portfolio.”
The spokesman said the AORS program was designed to produce and market a technology product for a wide variety of applications.
“These include the development and commercialisation of a next generation rocket engine for the Australian Navy, a new generation of stealth aircraft and other applications,” he said.ADRFA spokesman Scott Boulton said the ADRCA propulsion technology could be a key component of the AoriS program, which will see AORUs developed into new technologies for Australian military and civilian industries.
“If successful, the ADFDA will then apply for a patent for the technology,” he told the ABC.
“This patent will enable the ADRIA consortium to commercialise the propulsion system for their aircraft.”
Mr Boulston said commercialisation was not yet possible, but ADRFA would consider the options.
“We’re looking at what is the most viable route for commercialisation and we’re in discussions with other potential partners,” he noted.
The ADRIAA consortium is a joint venture between the Defence Industry and Advanced Manufacturing Organisation (DIMCO), and the Australian Government’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DTTO).
“The project is progressing very well and we’ve been working closely with DTTO and the ADRFDA to establish a commercial approach,” Mr Boulson said.
Mr Boudon said it was not clear if commercialisation would involve the use of a Chinese-made engine, but he noted the Chinese government has invested heavily in aerospace and defence technology.
“There’s no doubt that China has the potential to become an engine of choice for Australia’s national defence industry,” he added.
“Whether it’s the Chinese or Indian-built engine, the advantages of having a Chinese engine would be tremendous.”
In terms of the RDMA, we would expect the RD MA will be developed in partnership with other national defence manufacturers.
“Mr Toner said the Defence Science Technology Organisation would “be looking at whether we’re able to partner with another nation to commercialize the engine.””
This could be the key component to the propulsion of the next generation of advanced stealth aircraft,” he warned.