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General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has received a contract modification from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM AC) to support further development and maturation of hypersonic projectiles.

As agreed, GA-EMS will be manufacturing guided projectiles for test firings later this year.

The live-fire testing will assess the effectiveness of the projectiles, designed to intercept moving airborne targets, under high G-force and electromagnetic field environments.

The programme will also evaluate the performance of the projectiles’ gun-hardened guidance and control electronics.

GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “This is a critical next step toward the goal of integrating guided projectiles for railgun technologies into the air and missile defence command network, and closing the fire control loop to enable precision engagement and intercept of airborne targets.

“Over the past few years we have made significant advancements in developing, manufacturing, and testing gun-hardened electronics, projectiles, and railgun weapon system technologies and components.

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“Working closely with the army’s DEVCOM AC, we will leverage our expertise and lessons learned to bring these disruptive technologies forward to provide greater defended range and strike capabilities for air and missile defence and long-range precision fires missions.”

The testing will be conducted from the navy’s railgun located at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico using its armature and sabot package.

GA-EMS Missile Defense and Space Systems vice-president Nick Bucci said: “The projectiles for this new round of testing include our fourth generation gun-hardened guidance electronic units and enhanced telemetry components.

“We are looking forward to verifying the projectiles’ capability to sustain data links, control its trajectory via actuated control surfaces using command guidance, and hit moving airborne targets, all while undergoing incredible G-forces and at hypersonic speeds.”