Orbital ATK is preparing to conduct first air-dropped guide-to-hit trials of the Hatchet miniature precision strike weapon in Q3/2017–Q1/2018. Specific detail of the exact date, location of the trials, and the platform type to be used have not been disclosed, other than that they will be conducted in the ‘continental United States’.
Hatchet is a guided glide munition featuring a tri-form wing design and aft control surfaces and three updated fixed mid-body wings, aerodynamically re-configured from the previous conceptual drawings that had been made publicly available. Still under development, the initial variant of the completed weapon will be equipped with global positional system/inertial navigation system (GPS/INS) midcourse guidance, and a semi-active laser (SAL) package for terminal guidance. Future navigation/guidance options include GPS/INS midcourse and terminal, and GPS/INS Midcourse/and electro-optic/infrared terminal.
Weighing approximately 6 lb (2.72 kg), Hatchet leverages Orbital ATK’s Lethality Enhanced Ordnance (LEO) technology to deliver a warhead solution which comprises the majority of weapon. Developed by Orbital ATK’s Fuze and Warhead team, the LEO design has been selected by the US Army for the M1061 mortar cartridge – with which Hatchet is most closely aligned in terms of form factor.
The LEO design has also been selected as the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) solution for the Army’s GMLRS systems. Orbital ATK has also created a LEO-type warhead for the M1061 60 mm mortar, which is closer in scale to the Hatchet. Rather than using submunitions, LEO technology relies on inert projectiles inside the warhead to deliver low collateral, precision effects on its intended target, without the residual unexploded ordnance issues associated with cluster munitions.
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