11 JULY, 2016 BY: LEIGH GIANGRECO FARNBOROUGH
Textron Systems could deliver the Fury precision-guided munition before end of this year.
The company’s lightweight weapon would not replace the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missile, but could help fulfil an insatiable demand for munitions from the US Air Force and US Special Operations Command.
Textron performed tests with its Fury munition on 25 April, which met the required accuracy for the weapon’s terminal guidance against static targets, Brian Sinkiewicz, vice-president of Textron precision weapon systems, told FlightGlobal. Flight tests had been scheduled for earlier this year, but the company delayed testing after making weapon enhancements.
Textron expects to complete development and turn over Fury to US Special Operations Command and Air Force Special Operations Command by the end of this year, Sinkiewicz says. The services have expressed an interest in a small order of the munition – about 10 to 15 – and the company’s partner, Thales, has already opened up discussions with the UK Ministry of Defence.
“The customer has indicated a desire to see a moving target engaged, end-to-end test with guidance, and accurate engagement of a moving target,” Sinkiewicz says. “Due to some issues we ran into, we weren’t able to run that test, so we’ve scheduled tests for later in the year.”
The US Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2017 budget expressed an immediate need to replenish its depleted munitions stocks, including Hellfire missiles. The Fury munition would complement but not replace the Hellfire’s role, which was originally designed as a helicopter-delivered anti-tank weapon and later adapted to unmanned air systems.
Textron tested the munition on the Textron Shadow UAV, but the company has focused its attention on the hundreds of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator, Reaper and Gray Eagle platforms that are heavily utilised by the services. While Textron would not be required to change the munition’s design for these UAVs, the company is creating a rack that can mount three Fury munitions and interface with a Hellfire missile rail, Sinkiewicz says.
Compared with the 45kg (100lb) rocket-motor-propelled Hellfire, which can destroy a tank, the 6kg Fury offers a lighter, precision glide weapon that can prosecute people in vehicles. The lighter design could allow its delivery platform to carry three of the Fury munitions, rather than one large missile.
“Imagine a terrorist in a pickup truck – that’s up our alley,” Sinkiewicz says. “It wouldn’t engage something with heavy armour, but we could do light armour.
“The system is designed to perforate armour, but main battle tanks wouldn’t be a typical target.”
Textron Systems and Thales Successfully Test Fury® Weapon Guidance Package
July 11, 2016
FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW, ENGLAND – JULY 11, 2016 – Textron Systems Weapon and Sensor Systems, a business of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), and Thales announced today the successful testing of the Fury® lightweight precision guided glide weapon from the Shadow® Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) against static vehicle targets.
The Fury was tested from a Textron Systems’ Shadow TUAS at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on April 29. During the testing, the Fury was released from 8,000 feet altitude, conducted a Global Positioning System (GPS) guided fly-out maneuver and transitioned to the Semi-Active Laser (SAL) guided terminal engagement, directly striking a static vehicle target.
“We are pleased with the test results and development progress of the Fury weapon system – the latest test proved out the GPS and SAL guidance capability from 8,000 feet and was a significant incremental step in the weapon’s development,” says Weapon and Sensor Systems Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Sinkiewicz. “To date, the tests have demonstrated that the lightweight weapon features a mature and proven warhead and accurate guidance system paired with a fully integrated aircraft solution. With these results, we believe the Fury system could be a great complement to the Shadow TUAS, other UAS or light attack aircraft.”
“We are delighted with the recent success of Fury,” says Thales General Manager Philip McBride. “Building on the technology used in the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM), this latest addition to the LMM family has proven the precision of the munition. Fury offers proportionate effects in time-critical, network-centric Close Air Support (CAS) and armed Information, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions against both fixed and moving targets”.
Textron Systems and Thales began development of the Fury weapon system in 2014. The team utilizes their expertise in weapon systems and sub component and system-level integration in major United States and United Kingdom weapon system programs in development of the system. The team plans to co-market and produce the system for U.S. domestic and international markets.
The Fury weapon uses a common interface for rapid integration on multiple manned and unmanned aircraft systems. The weapon’s tri-mode fuzing – impact, height of burst and delay – further enables a single Fury to address a broad target set, ranging from static and moving light armored vehicles to small boats and personnel. The precision weapon Fury is guided by a GPS-aided inertial navigation unit system with a Semi-Active Laser Seeker terminal guidance capability. This enables the weapon to engage both stationary and moving targets within 1 meter accuracy, or fly to specific target coordinates.
About Textron Systems
Textron Systems’ businesses develop and integrate products, services and support for aerospace and defense customers, as well as civil and commercial customers including those in law enforcement, security, border patrol and critical infrastructure protection around the globe. Harnessing agility and a broad base of expertise, Textron Systems’ innovative businesses design, manufacture, field and support comprehensive solutions that expand customer capabilities and deliver value. Textron Systems consists of its Advanced Information Solutions, Electronic Systems, Geospatial Solutions, Lycoming Engines, Marine and Land Systems, Support Solutions, TRU Simulation + Training, Unmanned Systems and Weapon and Sensor Systems businesses. More information is available at www.textronsystems.com.