From 25 May to 8 June 2020, Nexter Munitions carried out two major test campaigns of the KATANA ammunition in the S3MA wind tunnel at ONERA’s Modane site. Despite the particular conditions imposed by the Covid-19, the two campaigns took place in excellent conditions thanks to ONERA’s professionalism and excellent cooperation between the both teams. The 155mm KATANA technical team successfully tested the guidance function and ballistic behavior of the ammunition in this wind tunnel capable of covering speeds ranging from Mach 0.1 to 6.05. The projectile demonstrator was mounted on a stinger line (equipped with a roll head) on the stinger-holder sector of the wind tunnel.
The first campaign focused on the guided part of the flight, from the opening of the CAS (Control Actuation System – set of control surfaces), a device enabling trajectory control, until target arrival. It made it possible to refine the digital models and test different ammunition configurations throughout the planned flight range. The second part of the campaign in the Variable Mach Nozzle vein focused on the ballistic part of the firing from the gun exit to the CAS opening. It obviously also made it possible to confirm the numerical models, but also to check the constraints on the ammunition in these phases at very high speed. It was the last milestone before the first manned firings planned for this year.
The KATANA 155mm guided artillery ammunition is a priority program of the Nexter Group that meets the needs of modern artillery and is compatible with all types of 155mm guns of the JBMoU (Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding) standard. With a maximum range between 30 km for the first generation and 60 km for the next, KATANA will strike targets with pinpoint precision. The projectile’s guidance is ensured by a hybridisation between a GNSS signal receiver and an inertial measurement unit. The KATANA shells will offer the best performance in range, accuracy and terminal effect for existing 155 mm munitions, while retaining the traditional artillery qualities: continuous fire, all-weather capability, high cost/efficiency ratio.
Nexter, through its Munitions directorate (Nexter Munitions, Mecar and Simmel Difesa), is one of Europe’s leaders in the field of munitions. Through an ambitious R&D policy, lasting several years, the group now offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of highly technological munitions.The Thanks to its specific architecture, KATANA can be used for close support and will treat all types of targets thanks to its multi-mode rocket, which is programmable to operate by proximity, impact, or with delay: allowing the penetration of the military payload. The KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS) is a European defence industry holding company, which is result for merger between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems. In June 2018 Germany and France signed a letter of intent for KNDS to develop Common Indirect Fire System, a common 155mm self-propelled artillery gun.