Boeing, Nammo Develop Ramjet Air-Breathing Long-Range Artillery
Boeing and Norwegian defense firm Nammo successfully tested their air-breathing artillery projectile in Norway, the latest development in the US Army’s effort to develop longer-range artillery for future conflicts, Andrew Eversden reported for Breaking Defense.
Photo Insert: Defense firms have developed Ramjet 155, an upgraded version of the BLU-109 munitions, featuring improved speed and range.
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 seeks to extend the reach and effectiveness of artillery rounds.
“We believe the Boeing Ramjet 155, with continued technology maturation and testing, can help the US Army meet its long-range precision fire modernization priorities,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing Phantom Works vice president and general manager.
“This successful test is evidence that we are making great progress.”
Dan Palmeter, business development lead for Boeing Phantom Works, said the June 28 test successfully verified that the ramjet projectile could stay stable in flight and that the ramjet engine was able to ignite to sufficiently propel it.
“The biggest challenge we’ve had with it is to get it stable, get it flying, get good thrust and get good motor burn,” Palmeter told Breaking Defense in an interview at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Boeing describes the Ramjet 155 projectile as a “hybrid” between guided artillery and a missile. The successful test of the ramjet projectile is an important step forward, Palmeter said, because now Nammo and Boeing can focus on other capabilities, such as range.
“Once you have the propulsion and the stability figured out, then comes the range, the guidance and the rest of the system,” Palmeter said. The ramjet technology aims to extend the Army’s 155m howitzer’s range to more than 70 kilometers, up from 40 kilometers.
Boeing and Nammo said they completed more than 450 tests of the artillery. “In terms of packaging, think of it almost like a philharmonic orchestra,” Palmeter said. “Everything has to be working in concert.”