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Black Sky Aerospace tests sovereign missile capability

The defence and aerospace company has trialled newly integrated guidance and control capabilities during a missile launch in Queensland.

The defence and aerospace company has trialled newly integrated guidance and control capabilities during a missile launch in Queensland.

Black Sky Aerospace’s facility in Queensland has hosted a test launch of a locally developed missile, supported by its propulsion system.

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The launch — which forms part of a collaboration with a number of local firms, including technology company Crystalaid — was aimed at testing initial integration of guidance and control capabilities.

The project is a response to the Commonwealth government’s call for participation in the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise.

“As the only Australian sovereign commercial manufacturer of solid rocket propulsion for use in guided weapons, it’s natural for us to team up with other Australian companies involved in advanced manufacturing of defence technology,” Black Sky Aerospace CEO Blake Nikolic said.

The size of the missile fired from Black Sky Aerospace’s facility was compared to a Javelin surface-to-air missile.

“We are seeing in the Ukraine right now just how devastating and effective these weapons can be on an invading force; we want to make sure Australia has its own sources of missiles and is not solely reliant on foreign suppliers,” Nikolic added.

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Crystalaid chairman Ross McKinnon said the launch was a demonstration of Australia’s sovereign industrial potential, given that such capability has been traditionally sourced from overseas.

“Many people would not know that the sophisticated electronics packages needed for guided weapons can all be made here in Australia,” he said.

“While industry waits for Defence’s decision on how to achieve a GWEO enterprise, it’s important that Australian industry demonstrates a current level of capability and capacity.

“We need to ensure that the implementation of GWEO grows the Australian Defence Industry capacity and by partnering with international and local partners, fill any capability gaps. This is achieved by utilising locally manufactured components to create new highly skilled Australian jobs.”

Nikolic said the team expects the AUKUS partnership to accelerate the growth of the local defence industry.

“We believe that cross-industry collaboration is essential,” he said.

“We celebrate the creation of the groups working together on GWEO, and we understand it is essential that Australian industry works together, and with companies such as those from our AUKUS allies and other partners.”

This latest test launch comes just a month after Black Sky Aerospace secured just under $500,000 as part of a co-investment via the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) managed Commercialisation Fund. 

The grant is expected to fund Black Sky’s work to manufacture the materials required to develop solid rocket motors for its sovereign space and defence projects.  

[Related: Black Sky Aerospace secures funding for sovereign space, missile endeavour]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Black Sky Aerospace tests sovereign missile capability
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