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Boeing and Nammo successfully test Ramjet air-breathing and longer-range artillery

Boeing and Nammo jointly tested their Ramjet 155 projectile in Norway. (Courtesy of Boeing)

SMD 2022 – Boeing and Norwegian defense company Nammo have successfully tested their air-breathing artillery projectile in Norway, the companies announced today, the latest development in the U.S. military’s efforts to develop more air-breathing artillery. long range for future conflicts.

The Ramjet 155 projectile is part of the Army’s XM1155 program, an effort under the service’s Extended Range Artillery Munition Suite technology effort that explores advanced technology to extend the range and effectiveness of artillery shells .

“We believe the Boeing Ramjet 155, with continued technology maturation and testing, can help the U.S. military meet its long-range sniper modernization priorities,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and director. general of Boeing Phantom Works, in a statement. “This successful test is proof that we are making great progress.”

According to Dan Palmeter, business development manager for Boeing Phantom Works, the June 28 test successfully verified that the ramjet could remain stable in flight and that the ramjet was capable of igniting to propel it sufficiently.

“The biggest challenge we’ve had with him is stabilizing him, getting him flying, getting a good thrust [and] get good engine burn,” Palmeter told Breaking Defense in an interview at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala.

Boeing describes the Ramjet 155 projectile as a “hybrid” between guided artillery and a missile. The ramjet’s successful test is an important step forward, Palmer said, because now Nammo and Boeing can focus on other capabilities, such as range.

“Once you figure out propulsion and stability, then comes range, guidance and the rest of the system,” Palmer said.

According to a Boeing data sheet, the ramjet technology aims to extend the range of the army’s 155m howitzer to more than 70 kilometers, up from 40 kilometers previously.

According to Mark Altobelli, director of Boeing Phantom Works, the fact that the ramjet survived the launch of the gun was a victory in itself, as it presented a challenge in the past. The companies said they had completed more than 450 artillery tests.

“In terms of packaging, think of it almost like a philharmonic orchestra,” Palmer said. “Everything has to work together.”

With flight stability and propulsion performance verified in the recent test, the team will now work towards guided flights, which Altobelli called the “next big step”. These flights will take place in 2023 and 2024, he said.

The military awarded Boeing and Nammo a contract in July 2019 to develop the Ramjet 155 projectile and then won a phase two technology development contract in May 2021, according to Boeing.

“We have great confidence in the ramjet concept,” Nammo chief executive Morten Brandtzæg said in a statement. “The test – with all aspects from gunfire to projectile body, fins and trajectory working flawlessly – represents a true technological breakthrough in artillery and a major success for Boeing, Nammo and the U.S. military. .”