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US, Norway to continue co-operation on SFRJ technologies under THOR-ER API.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 20 April that they intend to continue bilateral co-operation to advance solid fuel ramjet (SFRJ) technologies under the new US Allied Prototyping Initiative (API).

“This continuation is an important next step in advancing high-speed propulsion technologies with our Norwegian partners. It will drive fielding of the critical technologies needed to ensure US and Allied military superiority in hypersonic systems,” said Dr Michael Griffin, US Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

Launched in 2019 by the Advanced Capabilities Directorate of the US Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), the API is intended to rapidly co-develop large-scale operational prototyping projects to provide ‘leap-ahead capabilities in the 5–7-year time horizon’ by leveraging existing frameworks for international co-operation in research and development. The initiative is designed to effectively progress prototyping opportunities on a shared-contribution basis between the US and its closest allies.

Under the provisions of the API, the US and Norwegian governments, relevant national laboratories, and test centres – including the US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt – FFI) – will continue bilateral co-operation on the Tactical High-speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range (THOR-ER) for the US Navy. Norway’s Nammo Raufous has been selected as the industrial partner for the THOR-ER programme.

“The THOR-ER effort aims to co-operatively develop and integrate advancements in solid fuel ramjet technologies into full-size prototypes that are affordable, attain high-speeds, and achieve extended range, culminating in flight demonstrations in operationally relevant conditions. The effort will also consider potential US and Norwegian co-production opportunities,” the DoD announcement said.

Nammo displayed a ramjet-powered surface-to-air interceptor concept on its stand at DSEi 2019 to highlight one of several applications it believes its SFRJ technology would be valuable. ( Nammo Raufoss)

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