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Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing

Northrop Grumman Defense Systems has completed US government testing of its programmable Light Weight 30 mm Proximity Sensing Ammunition (LW30 PROX) round, and is moving towards qualification and fielding of the round to US Army and US Marine Corps air defence echelons within the year.

A company-funded development, which draws on legacy Orbital ATK sensor fuzed weapons technologies, the LW30 PROX is a 30×113 mm radio frequency (RF) proximity-fuzed, high explosive/fragmentation round intended for use with Northrop Grumman M230 Bushmaster variant chain guns (M230, M230 Link Fed, and XM914). Weighing 350 g, including a 245 g projectile, the LW30 PROX round features a PA520 electric primer, a Northrop Grumman-developed programmable proximity sensor, and double base propellant delivering a muzzle velocity of 1,105 m/s.

LW30 PROX can be programmed for proximity, point detonate (PD), and PD-delay (PDD) modes, and includes a self-destruct feature. The round is designed to defeat unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and light armoured vehicle threat, as well as troops in the open and targets in defilade. Northrop Grumman is now working to evolve a new radio frequency (RF)-guided 30 mm proximity sensing round from the LW30 PROX development to augment the CUAS mission.

In a parallel development, Northrop Grumman is also conducting final validation testing of its new Mobile Acquisition and Cueing Effector (M-ACE) hunter/killer counter-UAS (CUAS) concept, and is expected to field a prototype demonstrator capability in the immediate future. US Army Col (retd) Rob Menti, Business Development, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, told Jane’s that the company intends to conduct live-fire CUAS prove out testing with the M230 Bushmaster/LW30 PROX round remotely cued from an M-ACE platform as soon as testing is permitted within the framework of current COVID-19 safety restrictions.

Northrop Grumman’s Mobile Acquisition and Cueing Effector (M-ACE) hunter/killer CUAS prototype demonstrator, with the extended SDS-12 stabilised aluminium tower, based on a dedicated Ford F250 platform ( Northrop Grumman)

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