Quad A: Orbital ATK sharpens hatchet
While Orbital ATK may have used this week's Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Mission Summit to unveil the latest model of their Hatchet munition, the company is also taking the programme to the next technology readiness level.
A company representative noted that the company has committed the investment funding to demonstrate a full-up weapon with warhead guide-to-hit event in early calendar year 2018. Although both delivery aircraft and test range have yet to be determined, they noted that the munition will be launched 'from the type of launcher anticipated in possible future applications.'
The Hatchet design features a 6lb 'Lethal Enhanced Ordnance Warhead' with a fragmentation pattern optimised for use against soft skinned vehicles and similar targets. The dual guidance systems include both GPS and semi-active laser, which can be used separately or together.
In one notional scenario, six Hatchets would be carried on an unmanned aerial vehicle, which could perform armed reconnaissance and, if necessary, deliver all six munitions in a 'swarm' attack.
The planned firing in early 2018 will demonstrate system maturity for potential future customers.