Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2003-2004 Andreas Parsch


The ALVRJ (Advanced Low-Volume Ramjet; sometimes Air-Launched Low-Volume Ramjet) program was begun by Vought (later LTV) in 1968 under contract from the U.S. Navy. The goal was the flight test of a small and compact ("low volume") ramjet engine for missile applications. LTV designed the propulsion system of the ALVRJ missile as an integral rocket/ramjet. A solid-fuel rocket motor boosted the missile for 5 seconds to ramjet ignition speed, and then the empty rocket motor casing functioned as the ramjet's combustion chamber.

Photo: Vought

The first of the non-recoverable ALVRJ test vehicles (sometimes called simply LVRJ) was air-launched from an A-7E aircraft in December 1974, and reached a speed of over Mach 2, covering a distance of about 75 km (40 nm). Four successful flight tests followed during 1976, after which the program was completed.

After the completion of the successful ALVRJ program, LTV proposed a tactical derivative for the Navy's generic STM (Supersonic Tactical Missile) requirement. It was very similar to the ALVRJ vehicles, and first flew in April 1979. However, the Navy did not pursue this project, and instead tried to develop the BGM-109 Tomahawk together with the Air Force as a medium-range air-to-surface missile (MRASM).

Photo: Vought

In 1983 LTV offered the VTS-6 (Vought Target System 6), a derivative of the ALVRJ/STM design, as its entry into the Navy's YAQM-127A SLAT (Supersonic Low-Altitude Target) competition. The VTS-6 missile was essentially identical to the ALVRJ vehicle except for a slightly longer fuselage to accomodate additional target-specific equipment. However, the Navy selected Martin Marietta's design, which was based on the cancelled ASALM (Advanced Strategix Air-Launched Missile) and also used integrated rocket/ramjet propulsion.

Photo: Vought
VTS-6 ("YAQM-127A" proposal)


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for ALVRJ:

Length4.57 m (15 ft)
Diameter38 cm (15 in)
Speed2735 km/h (1700 mph)
Range> 160 km (100 miles)
PropulsionIntegrated rocket/ramjet

Main Sources

[1] Norman Friedman: "US Naval Weapons", Conway Maritime Press, 1983
[2] R.T. Pretty (ed.): "Jane's Weapon Systems 1977", Jane's, 1977
[3] Kenneth Munson: "World Unmanned Aircraft", Jane's, 1988
[4] Vought Heritage Website

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 5 April 2004