Nammo finalise initial developmental test phase of ramjet-powered missiles motor

Nammo finalise initial developmental test phase of ramjet-powered missiles  motor

Nammo has announced the completion of the initial experimental test phase of its ramjet engine designs designed to deliver a significant increase in range and speed for missiles and artillery shells.

The company hopes that its new ramjet engines would revolutionize the approach to missiles and artillery.

The initial test process involved more than 150 positive engine trials. The software will switch to the second stage of evaluation, which will include nuclear firing trials.

Ramjet engines support many missile types, including air-to-air, ground-to-air and naval missiles.

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.”

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.”

The oxidizer accounts for 80 per cent of the fuel weight, leaving just 20 per cent of the propulsion to the actual fuel.

The fuel content limitation hinders the range of missiles.

Ramjets, on the other hand, has the potential to use the air intake as a compressor. It creates space for almost five times the fuel capacity when the oxidizer is brought. The software would help improve the range of air-to-air missiles to hit targets of up to 500 km.

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.”

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.”

What is ramjet propulsion?

Thrust is the force that drives every aircraft through the air. Thrust is provided by the aircraft propulsion system. Different propulsion systems develop thrust in different ways, but all thrust is generated by some application of Newton’s third law of motion.

There is an equal and opposite reaction to every action. In any propulsion system, the working fluid is accelerated by the system and the reaction to this acceleration generates pressure on the system.

The general derivation of the thrust equation shows that the amount of thrust produced depends on the mass flow through the engine and the output velocity of the fuel.

The thermodynamic study of the ramjet is used by engineers to forecast

The combustion that produces the thrust of the ramjet happens at a subsonic rate in the combustor. In the case of a vehicle that travels supersonicly, the air entering the engine must be slowed to subsonic speed by the inlet of the aircraft.

Shock waves present in the inlet cause loss of power to the propulsion system.

Above Mach 5, the propulsion of ramjets becomes very inefficient. The new supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, solves this problem by supersonic combustion in the burner.

Insight Analysis

With the new technology, Nammo aims to eliminate the need to transport oxidizer as part of the traditional rocket engine propulsion system.

Nammo plans to use 155 mm artillery projectiles for the first long-range test.


Valerie Tricarico

Valerie Tricarico is a Defence, Aerospace and Security journalist specialised in C4ISR systems.
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