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Northrop Grumman finalises development of Hatchet miniature strike munition

Northrop Grumman has finalised the development of the Hatchet miniature precision strike munition. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman has declared the development of its Hatchet miniature precision strike munition ‘finalised' following a series of end-to-end live all-up round (AUR) tests at an undisclosed US government test range on 11 May.

During the US Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored live-fire event, multiple Hatchet AURs were released from an undisclosed Group 3 tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS) against a static target, simulated by an ISO container. The tests involved both point-detonated engagements and proximity initiations.

“These were the first Hatchet release demonstrations using a live warhead,” a Northrop Grumman spokesperson told Janes. “The purpose of the tests was to evaluate the capability of live AURs delivered from a tactical platform. The multiple drops proved 100% reliable for the warhead function, with an ISO container ‘target' utilised to enable our engineers to evaluate the pattern of fragmentation from a live release. Hatchet is designed for precision strike engagements of two metres or less, and this was also verified in each of the releases.”

“Development of munition itself is now complete, and Hatchet is ready for platform fielding and certification on any unmanned or manned airborne system,” the spokesperson added.

A company internal research and development (IRAD)-funded initiative, Hatchet was originally unveiled in April 2012 as a low-cost gravity-dropped weapon concept to equip unmanned aircraft. The design has since emerged as a lightweight, low-collateral damage, precision-glide munition, optimised for TUAS platforms in an armed reconnaissance role. Hatchet can be integrated on Groups 2 through 5 TUAS, or as a submunition to missiles.

The spokesperson told Janes

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