Raytheon developing Ramjet powered shell for US military


The U.S. Army has contracted Raytheonto start out developing 155mm ramjet-powered long-range artillery round. Raytheon will work with the Netherlands Organization for Applied research for this project. The thought is to develop a shell that will hit a target 60 miles or 95 km away. On May 11, 2020, Raytheon announced it had received $7.9 million from the military to urge started on the ramjet shell, also mentioned because of the XM1155. 

Artillery Gun

Netherlands Organization for Applied research project is going to be liable for developing the ramjet. Raytheon is going to be liable for integrating the ramjet into the remainder of the projectile, which it'll design and manufacture. Readers might note that this project is one of the varieties that's being initiated for future long-range 155mm howitzers. during this article. Defence talks, analyzes how the U.S Army is planning to deploy Ramjet powered shell to counter China & Russia? Let's start


Artillery was important within the past and can still be relevant within the foreseeable future. An artillery barrage not only provides protect the infantry to advance but modern artillery can land precise fire on high-value tactical targets on the battlefield. It's cheaper and faster than air support making them an important asset for any modern army. Hence, all major military powers are continuing to place effort to develop better artillery which will fire further and more accurately. Russian Army deploys 2S19 Msta howitzer which features a range of 15 miles or around 25 km. 

It entered service within the late 1980s. Now an upgraded variant is 2S33 Msta-SM2 is being produced and deployed. The new howitzer features a 2A79 152 mm cannon that's capable of hitting targets at ranges up to 25 miles or 40 km. Sometime back Gen. John Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command, had told reporters at the Association of the US Army Annual Symposium, “The Russian and Chinese are ready to outrange most of our systems" He added, “In Ukraine, we saw the pairing of drones with artillery, using drones as spotters. 

Their organizational structure and tactics were a warning call for us to start out watching a more serious strategy.” The powerful Senate Armed Services Committee chairman — Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla had told Defense News in 2018, “I’m concerned that we’re currently behind China and Russia, both in terms of range and rate of fireside. During the eight years of [President Barack] Obama, we fell behind. We delayed maintenance and deferred modernization — all while China and Russia were improving their conventional forces and artillery. 

We don’t have the simplest of everything immediatelyand that I want to form sure we will get the simplest equipment for our warfighters in order that they don’t face a situation where they're out-ranged or outgunned.” Keeping this insight, U.S Army has been working to fill this gap. The U.S Army has successfully fired two different munitions from its new extended-range cannon for the M109 howitzer. Consistent with Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is responsible for long-range precision fires modernization, the U.S. Army took two shots from its ERCA or Extended Range Cannon Artillery system, which both reached 40 miles or 65 km in range and hit their intended targets, during a demonstration at Yuma workplace, Arizona, on March 6. 

Readers may note that long-range artillery is one of the U.S Army’s top priorities. This marks a big technical leap as currently, most artillery fires from an M777 Towed Howitzer or Self-Propelled Howitzer are ready to hit targets at a maximum distance of 18.5 miles or 30 km. Presently U.S Army uses 227 mm guided rockets to hit targets at distances at a variety of 40 miles or 65 km. 


Consistent with Raytheon's handout, "The tactical 155mm XM1155 are going to be ready to strike moving and stationary high-value targets ashore and stumped. The maneuverable, extended-range airframe is going to be compatible with legacy and future 155mm artillery systems.” The important detail is that the shell is predicted to require on moving targets and will be used with normal 155mm artillery systems. As of now, Raytheon didn't offer any specific details about the technical aspects. 

Readers may note that for a ramjet to figure, the shell first must attend an optimal velocity. This is often generally done by employing a rocket booster that provides this first burst of speed. Ones this first speed is attained, the ramjet will kick in and therefore the shell is going to be ready to travel at supersonic speed with reduced drag. This reduction in drag will enable a longer range. Raytheon stated that it might leverage its past experience with the M982 Excalibur precision-guided 155mm shell

The Excalibur, which the United States Army & U.S. Marines, are using for quite a decade, is capable of hitting stationary targets using its GPS-assisted inertial guidance system (INS) guidance package. The M982 features a maximum range of 20 miles or 32 km. The XM1155's will obviously need a way more robust guidance device package. The projectile will probably use a multi-mode guidance package. It could include GPS-INS guidance to urge to the target then switch to radar or imaging infrared to seek out then hit the target. 

This type of arrangement will mean that the shell is going to be ready to stationary target with none modification using the GPS-INS guidance alone. With this type of arrangement, the US military will have a really flexible weapon in its hands. The world coverage is going to be increased to an excellent extend too. for instance, XM1113 155mm shell which will 40 miles away will have the power to hide a neighborhood of 5026 sq miles, whereas the new shell with will have coverage of 11,310 sq miles. So, tactically it will be a major step forward. 


Currently, divisions supporting brigade combat teams have to call on rocket forces or air power to deliver firepower at 40 miles or 65 km. This increases the response time which can be the difference between life and death or winning and losing. The new shell will negate this kind of thing and a significant operational edge will be gained. A longer-range cannon will make the US military more agile in the fast-paced modern battlefield. 

A 60 miles or 95 km equipped cannon will substantially outrange the 25 miles or 40 km Msta-S Russian howitzer. In some aspects, Russian & Chinese systems have evolved to an extent that they are at par with U.S counterparts or even surpassed them in capability. Through programs like this, the American military is plugging these holes. A variant of this shell, small in size could also be developed later to arm US Navy warships like the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga class cruisers. 

It is important to note that, US Navy has more than 65+ Arleigh Burke-class destroyers & 22 Ticonderoga class cruisers in active service. Also, the US military is working on 2 other systems with the aim of having extended range firing ability. These are Hyper Velocity Projectiles (HVP) and Rail Guns. It remains to be seen how things pan out in the coming days.

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