WASHINGTON — X-Bow Systems announced it will develop solid rocket motors for the Standard missile, the U.S. Navy’s primary surface-to-air weapon for anti-air warfare and ballistic missile defense.

The company received two contracts, one for $3.3 million to develop solid rocket motors for the Standard missile’s Mk 72 booster, and $4 million for solid rocket motors for the Mk 104 second stage.

“X-Bow Systems will develop new designs for the Mk 72 and Mk 104 solid rocket motors,” Jason Hundley, X-Bow CEO, said in a statement. 

The company specializes in solid rocket motors and small launch vehicles for orbital and suborbital launch services. Headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, X-Bow has locations in California, Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Texas, Maryland, Utah and Washington, D.C.

Hundley said X-Bow is supplying both strategic and tactical size solid rocket motors to “multiple armed services and commercial customers.” 

Diversifying supplier base

The U.S. Navy in recent months also announced contracts with Ursa Major and Anduril for solid rocket motor development in an effort to diversify its supplier base of solid rocket motors for different variants of the Standard missile made by the defense contractor RTX.

The Pentagon said it’s concerned about overreliance on a shrinking pool of domestic suppliers for solid rocket motors. The ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East have strained existing production capacity, particularly for tactical solid rocket motors. DoD said it wants to work with commercial startups that are bringing new technologies and manufacturing processes to the table.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...