Rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP) have been around for decades, but Nammo has gone a step further by using a solid fuel ramjet to reach ranges of over 100km, which requires no modification to the 155mm gun.
Nammo on 12 June introduced the new round. “This could be a game-changer for artillery. With the exception of a small number of precision-guided shells with 50-60 km range, most artillery systems still fire across the same distances as they did when the M109 was introduced more than 50 years ago. This could completely change that,” said Thomas Danbolt, VP of Nammo’s Large Caliber Ammunitions unit.
Nammo’s new design is built around a compact solid fuel ramjet which is kick-started by launching it from a cannon, and is a collaborative program between ammunition and rocket engineers in Nammo.
“We have been building rocket motors for about 60 years, and have specialised in small and powerful motors for air-to-air missiles, such as Sidewinder, IRIS-T and AMRAAM. Some years ago, we began looking at using air-breathing motors to help extend their range, but we quickly saw the massive impact this could have if we fitted it to an artillery shell,” said Erland Ørbekk, VP Technology with Nammo’s business unit for Aerospace Propulsion.
Test firing of the new projectile is planned to commence in 2019-2020, while the new artillery ammunition concept will likely be operational around 2023-2024.