Eurosatory 2018: Nammo presented its new ramjet propulsion for artillery shells

Stelios Kanavakis

Senior Defence Analyst

At this year’s Eurosatory exhibition, Nammo unveiled for the first time the new ramjet propulsion system for 155mm artillery shells.

Nammo presented its new ramjet propulsion for artillery shells 
Nammo's ramjet propulsion 155 mm artillery shell will offer precision fire at distances in excess of 100 km. (Picture source Army Recognition)

This new project is Nammo’s effort to expand its well-established portfolio of products with a new solution that would deliver effective precision fire, in large quantity and at distances above 100 km, surpassing by large the products offered currently in the market. 

The company is developing this technology with a focus in the Norwegian and NATO Armed Forces. Although there is no firm requirement, through the interaction with customers Nammo has understood that there’s a need for such a technology.

The technology to allow such a capability is ramjet propulsion. A ramjet air-breathing engine that utilizes air intake as compressor and surrounding air in the combustion process. The engine is self-regulated, giving the shell a maximum speed of around 3 Mach, for a sustained period of 50 seconds, upon the shell’s exit from the barrel. 

As mentioned earlier, the concept is under development and the first flight of the projectile is expected in the 2019-2020 period in order to have them operational between 2023 and 2024. 

The same technology will also be used in other company products, such as its missiles. Nammo is developing such a product, which will feature an engine with a burning time of almost 100 seconds. The demo flight of this missile is expected to take place in 2021.

Considering the high speed of the shell, many of the parts found on a typical guided shell will have to be redesigned. That includes the fuse and the guidance unit, which will be redesigned to fit their purpose.