The US and Norway have completed the first flight test of their solid fuel ramjet missile as part of the Tactical High-Speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range (THOR-ER) program.
By Joe Saballa, on October 11th, 2022
THOR-ER flight vehicle moments after being launched. Photo: US Department of Defense.
The test vehicle fired several times to demonstrate the ramjet propulsion technology’s viability and significant increase in range, according to the US Department of Defense.
The event allowed the THOR-ER team to meet the Phase I objective, which is to demonstrate the capabilities of jointly-developed propulsion technologies in flight.
The THOR-ER ramjet missile utilized its new high-energy fuels, advanced air injection, and throttling methodologies essential for future missions.
“The flight vehicle was accelerated to above Mach 2 with the help of a solid rocket booster, and transitioned to ramjet mode,” Nammo Vice President Stein Erik Nodeland said.
“The flight phase was a resounding success with stable flight, robust ramjet operation, and a high thrust-to-drag ratio.”
The first test of the ramjet missile demonstrated its ability to fly across a wide range of altitudes and speeds.
The second test, meanwhile, focused on a high-thrust flight profile.
Both flight tests were reportedly successful, with the ramjet missile demonstrating high supersonic speeds before burnout and splashdown.
“We believe that the [ramjet missile] is going to be a game-changer for the US Navy and our allied partners,” Naval Air Warfare Center official Stephen Farmer stressed.
“We are also humbled in having this partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Defense and Norwegian industry partner Nammo. We know that our combined team will continue to build on this success, and we are excited for what the future will bring.”