QinetiQ, as the lead contractor in Team ImpaQt, has successfully fired the first metre long fully composite ’strength of design’ projectile at the MOD Eskmeals, Cumbria firing range. Part of an MOD-wide initiative to ensure modern fighting forces are suitably equipped and have maximum mobility to operate on tomorrow’s urban battlefields, this is a key stage in the UK MOD Lightweight Advanced Munition (LWAM), part of the Advanced Ordnance Demonstrator (AOD) programme.
The AOD programme is investigating the ability to provide mobile forces with a lightweight rapid response capability with at least the same performance as today’s conventional heavyweight systems like the MLRS or AS90. The current work on ’strength of design‘ will demonstrate the design performance and capability of the LWAM and a further ballistic firing is anticipated for March 2008.
LWAM is a 30kg, 155mm munition, able to carry a variety of payloads including high explosive, smoke or illuminating canisters. Its structural airframe components are manufactured almost entirely from composites which, in comparison with existing conventional 40+kg, 155mm ammunition, enables range, lethality and accuracy at least as good as current in-service conventional munitions together with a large reduction in weight consistent with achieving a Rapid Reaction capability. Precision targeting will be achieved by using a gun-hardened guidance, navigation and control system.
When fired from a conventional 39 calibre 155mm ordnance system preliminary results indicate that the composite munition withstood the demanding loading conditions in-bore and operated correctly during subsequent flight.
Team ImpaQt is comprised of the following European defence research and manufacturing organisations: QinetiQ, NEXTER (until recently known as Giat Industries), BAE Systems Bofors AB and MBDA. Team ImpaQt is currently conducting various guided munition and related research programmes for the UK and French Ministries of Defence. By exploiting the synergies between these programmes, Team ImpaQt customers gain maximum advantage without compromising individual governmental aspirations for their particular munitions.