Australian rocket company Black Sky Aerospace (BSA) has successfully launched a prototype long-range missile from the back of a privately owned Mercedes Benz Unimog.
The 3.7 meter long, 229mm diameter TM229 “Cyclone” training missile was fired remotely from a custom weapon pod, all of which were manufactured in Australia, and mounted on the back of an ex-Army truck.
The launch took place on what is believed to be the largest private launch range in the world; Black Sky’s 3-million-acre site in the southwestern Queensland outback.
Black Sky Aerospace made the announcement at the 2023 International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in the United Arab Emirates where the company is part of the Team Defence Australia presence on the Australia national stand. Next week BSA will also attend the Avalon International Airshow in Victoria, Australia.
CEO Blake Nikolic said the product was the next step in a development that had taken just six months to go from idea to this latest and largest launch, progressing sovereign Australian capability.
“As we wait for announcements about Australia’s future sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordinance (GWEO) Enterprise, it’s important that home-grown businesses don’t stay idle,” Mr Nikolic said.
“BSA is developing, refining and perfecting its capabilities to respond to Government announcements on GWEO so there are local options available to produce these vital defence capabilities,” he said.
“As the first firing, this was about testing the system, the launch and the design of the missile, and we were able to gather valuable data for future launches.”
“The hardware, launch pod, avionics, propellant, rocket motor and nozzle were all manufactured in Australia, by Australians. This is a great advancement for sovereign missile development, with huge export opportunities.”
The training missile is designed to simulate the experience of firing much more sophisticated and expensive missiles so trainees can gain live fire qualifications at significantly reduced cost.
“This missile can provide a sovereign, cost effective, rapidly deployable training rocket that could align with Australia’s and allies plans for long range fires,” Mr Nikolic said.
“BSA will continue development work on its suite of products, all fully conceived, designed, manufactured and tested in Australia.”