Rocketry business Black Sky Aerospace and Funnel Web Systems have demonstrated a prototype robotic launch platform, named the Funnel Web, at the MSPO international defence expo in Poland.
In a statement on Thursday (Australian time) from the MSPO exhibition, BSA’s CEO Blake Nikolic said the result of the collaboration could be used to keep soldiers safer as it gives ground units a tactical advantage, adding that the the rockets could be tailored according to the intended use, geography and other factors.
The Funnel Web could be used to push into new areas, waiting for targets to present, and be command-launched launched remotely.
“People think of robots as sensor platforms, load carriers, and for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks: but we give them fangs,” said Nikolic.
“We can see use-cases such as for Ukraine where a missile needs to launch from a location that might put soldiers at too much risk or be otherwise inaccessible.
Black Sky develops rockets and associated equipment for space and defence use.
Last year it became the first sovereign company to launch fully Australian designed and manufactured guided missiles. In February it launched a prototype long-range training missile from the back of a privately- owned Mercedes Benz Unimog truck.
And in May this year, Black Sky announced that it had become the first company in Australia to produce ammonium perchlorate, which makes up about roughly 70 per cent of most solid rocket fuels.
Black Sky’s General Manager of Defence and National Security, James Baker, said the latest development showed the pace at which the company could work.
“From when we discussed the idea to launch took a little under a week,” he said.
“We are in Poland at the moment and here, just across the border from the Ukraine conflict, you can feel the urgency for development of game-changing technologies.”