HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Sept. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, announced today the establishment of the company's Advanced Hydrocarbon Propulsion Development Office (AHPDO) in Huntsville, Alabama. The facility will focus on delivering a 21st century advanced hydrocarbon rocket engine to the nation and the integration of the company's ongoing hydrocarbon technology and development efforts. This development work will include the AR1 advanced large hydrocarbon rocket engine, the NASA Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration Risk Reduction program, the U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Development program, along with internal Aerojet Rocketdyne research and development involving the company's Bantam Engine family for lower thrust applications.

AHPDO will work toward bringing a new generation of globally competitive hydrocarbon rocket engines to the marketplace, by integrating the latest breakthroughs in 21st century materials, manufacturing and engineering with decades of Aerojet Rocketdyne's pioneering work in advanced hydrocarbon large liquid rocket engines. Modern engine cycles, new materials and state-of-the-art additive manufacturing are some of the key focus areas. Low cost, yet high-performing and highly reliable engines are the expected product from this effort.

Rapid development and certification of AR1, an all-U.S. designed, developed and produced advanced hydrocarbon engine, manufactured to power America's current and future national security launch vehicles, is a key focus for AHPDO. AR1 is expected to be a catalyst for U.S. launch providers to compete more effectively in the global commercial launch marketplace, as it is being designed to be affordable, reliable and high performing. The AHPDO office will integrate AR1 development and production activities across Aerojet Rocketdyne's various sites. The company's Los Angeles and Sacramento, California facilities will bring the nation's most advanced large rocket engine engineering and specialized manufacturing expertise to AR1. Aerojet Rocketdyne's additional manufacturing and assembly work from the West Palm Beach, Florida facility will support AR1 development. Aerojet Rocketdyne's Stennis facility will be used for AR1 engine final assembly and could begin to test as early as 2017. In addition, main propulsion system final assembly is planned for the Decatur, Alabama area in conjunction with the company's strategic industry partners.

The AR1 rocket engine represents the first advanced hydrocarbon large liquid rocket engine in development by Aerojet Rocketdyne since the merging of the two leading U.S. rocket propulsion companies, Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, in June 2013.

"Our goal with this new Advanced Hydrocarbon Propulsion Development Office is nothing short of a renaissance in American rocket engine development," said GenCorp President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Seymour. "AHPDO is exactly why just over one year ago we brought together America's two top rocket engine companies, Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. AHPDO will integrate the tremendous R&D and production capacity found across Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide America with an affordable world-class hydrocarbon engine."

Huntsville, Alabama was selected as the home base of this 21st century R&D office due to the tremendous capability in the area and alignment with key government, academic and private sector organizations. A Huntsville base for this new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office aligns with several other national advanced liquid rocket engine activities, such as work with Aerojet Rocketdyne's strategic partner, Dynetics, including NASA's current risk reduction work for key components of this type of rocket engine; important production capacity provided by strategic partner, Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville; and the ongoing efforts of the National Institute of Rocket Propulsion Systems.

According to Aerojet Rocketdyne President Warren M. Boley, Jr., "Making Huntsville home for this new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office is a logical extension of our company's growing presence in the Huntsville community."

Dr. Jerrol "Jay" Littles has been named to lead the new advanced hydrocarbon propulsion development office. Littles, a native of Huntsville, has been with Aerojet Rocketdyne in the Huntsville community for the past six years after working for Pratt & Whitney in West Palm Beach, Florida and East Hartford, Connecticut. He will work in close coordination with Gene Goldman, former acting NASA Marshall Space Flight Center director and Stennis Space Center director, who guides Aerojet Rocketdyne's growth in the Southeastern United States.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. GenCorp is a diversified company that provides innovative solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense, and real estate markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' websites at and