News | Aug 18, 2017

An Actuator and Valve System for Simulated Missile Plumes

With the ever-present threat of surface-to-air missiles, many U.S. military aircraft have sensors that alert pilots to hostile fire. The trick is, anti-missile defense systems must be tested in realistic environments before being deployed—but testing against actual missiles isn’t an option. Instead, testing is done with simulated missile plumes generated by a pyrophoric fluid that ignites on contact with air.

With support from the Air Force’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Maryland-based Active Signal Technologies, Inc. developed a whole new actuator and valve system that is now improving the effectiveness of simulated missile plume testing at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC).

This technology is just one of many successful innovations enabled by the US Air Force’s SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. For more information, visit