Test success for composite missile

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Qinetiq has successfully fired a metre-long, fully composite prototype intended to prove the ‘strength of design’ of a new missile at the MoD Eskmeals firing range in Cumbria.

Qinetiq-led Team Impaqt, which comprises NEXTER, BAE Systems Bofors and MBDA, is developing the missile. The projectile represents a key stage in the UK MoD Lightweight Advanced Munition (LWAM), part of the Advanced Ordnance Demonstrator (AOD) programme.

The AOD programme is studying the feasibility of a lightweight replacement for conventional heavyweight systems like the MLRS or AS90 more suited to mobile forces. The current work on ’strength of design‘ will demonstrate the design performance and capability of the LWAM. A further ballistic firing is anticipated for March 2008.

LWAM is a 30kg, 155mm munition that is 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 enables range, lethality and accuracy at least as good as current in-service conventional munitions. 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 from the test firing showed that the composite missile withstood the loading conditions in the launcher and operated correctly during subsequent flight.