France-England: hypersonic missile research makes headway

Illustration: hypersonic missile

Find out how Anglo-French research into hybrid rocket motors could transform the future of missiles, offering greater range and performance.

Anglo-French research into hybrid rocket motors is paving the way for a new generation of missiles. The aim of this partnership is to create missiles that are more powerful, longer and faster, while reducing their size, weight and cost.

Missile technology is about to undergo a major transformation thanks to joint Franco-British research. The CW-ITP (Complex Weapon, Innovation and Technology Partnership) is exploring hybrid rocket motors, promising significant advances in range and performance.

The birth of a new hybrid engine technology

For decades, missile manufacturers have been fascinated by the idea of hybrid rocket motors, combining solid and liquid or gel propellants. While such motors could greatly enhance missile capabilities, their size and complexity make them unsuitable for small tactical weapons.

Franco-British collaboration: CW-ITP

The CW-ITP partnership, launched in 2021, aims to develop innovative systems for the next generation of missiles. It focuses on reducing the size, weight, cost and energy consumption of missile components, while improving overall performance.

HyPrSpace and Roxel: Pioneers of the Hybrid Engine

HyPrSpace, a French start-up, in collaboration with Roxel, is exploring the architecture of a new hybrid rocket engine, initially designed for microsatellite launchers. This motor, nicknamed “Joker”, is currently being tested as part of the “Hybrid Rocket-Powered Missiles” project.

Advantages and limitations of hybrid engines

Unlike solid rocket motors, hybrid engines offer the ability to modulate thrust, enabling unprecedented flexibility in speed and mission type. However, they cannot be miniaturized indefinitely, which limits their application in very small missiles.

Testing and integration phase

The CW-ITP project plans to undertake further tests with propellant grains supplied by Roxel. A third phase envisages combining this approach with a ramjet, a propulsion method used on some MBDA missiles.

Illustration: hypersonic missile
Illustration: hypersonic missile

Strategic and technological implications

This research has major implications for the future of tactical weapons. By increasing the range and speed of missiles, while reducing their size and cost, these technologies could transform military strategies and balances of power.

Other technologies explored by the CW-ITP

The CW-ITP is also funding research into the use of 3D-molded interconnected devices, the protection of research windows against erosion, and the study of the use of quantum computing for the optimization of deep-strike weapon trajectories.

Implications for the Armed Forces and Industry

The advances made in CW-ITP could redefine the offensive and defensive capabilities of armed forces, while stimulating innovation in the defense industry. The impact of these technologies on modern warfare could be considerable, opening up new tactical and strategic options.

The CW-ITP partnership represents a quantum leap in missile technology. By combining expertise and resources, France and the UK are paving the way for a new era of more advanced, more effective and potentially more accessible missiles, redefining the landscape of modern warfare.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.