Nammo has announced the completion of the initial developmental test phase of its ramjet motor concepts intended to deliver a significant increase in range and speed for missiles and artillery shells.
The company hopes its new ramjet motors will revolutionise the approach to missiles and artillery.
The initial test phase involved more than 150 successful motor tests. The programme will transition to the second stage of the testing, which will include ballistic firing tests.
Nammo CEO Morten Brandtzæg said: “This is probably the most significant programme our company has ever worked on. We believe it will change the way we fight in the air; we believe it will change the way we fight on the ground.”
Ramjet motors support most missile variants, including air to air, ground to air and naval missiles.
Nammo ramjet team member Frank Møller said: “The initial test phase has been a resounding success, well beyond our expectations. We are ready to start long-range firing trials.”
Through the new technology, Nammo intends to remove the need for carrying oxidizer as part of traditional rocket motors’ propellant.
The oxidiser accounts for 80% of the fuel weight and this leaves only 20% of the propellant for actual fuel.
The restriction on the fuel content hinders the range of the missiles.
Møller added: “Traditional rocket motors have significant limitations due to the need to carry oxygen. Oxygen is needed for the propellant to burn, but it also takes up a lot of space.
“That severely limits the amount of fuel in missiles. This, of course, hampers range, velocity and the ability to go high.”
Ramjets, on the other hand, have the ability to use an air intake as a compressor. This creates space for nearly five times the fuel capacity when an oxidiser is carried.
The technology will help improve the range of air to air missiles to hit targets up to 500km.
Møller further said: “Our tests show that we could be looking at as much as five times the range. Missiles could also go much higher and faster. And burn times up to 300-400 seconds would give more energy to manoeuvre at extended ranges.”
Nammo intends to use 155mm artillery projectiles for the first long-range tests.