BAE unveils low-cost precision munition for Australian rotorcraft

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Image credit: BAE Systems Australia

BAE Systems Australia has revealed the design and development of RAZER, a new sovereign munition concept that positions the company as a future supplier of low-cost precision-guided munitions to Australian and potential export customers.

Announced at the Avalon Airshow on 28 February, RAZER is a low-cost air-launched precision-guided munition that is designed to transform a 40-50kg standard non-guided munition into a precision air-launched weapon.

The kit, which will be manufactured in Australia, includes a wing body assembly and GPS-enabled tail unit for guidance. 

BAE said the new munition is applicable for unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) and rotary-wing aircraft.

The announcement comes after the STRIX unmanned aerial system (UAS) was introduced at Avalon 2023.

“RAZER can meet urgent local and overseas demand for low-cost sovereign munition solutions that could be deployed from the air. It could deliver a powerful and affordable battlefield strike capability for users globally,” said Ben Hudson, chief executive of BAE Systems Australia.

The company noted the ability to launch RAZER from an airborne platform and glide to the target would significantly increase the weapon’s range while also providing significant stand-off range for the launch platform.

There is currently a significant gap between low-cost, short-range, land-based weapons of this calibre and high-cost, long-range, air-launched weapon systems, according to BAE.

“RAZER addresses a clear gap in the market for sovereign guided weapons. It will enable our Australian Defence Force ease of access to world-class munitions right here in Australia,” Hudson said. 

“Design, development and production of these munitions will utilise our decades-long history of advanced manufacturing to establish and grow the country’s domestic capability and export market,” said Andrew Gresham, managing director of defence delivery for BAE Systems Australia.

The company notes potential export customers for Razer include the USA, the UK, Canada, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

RAZER was created by BAE Systems’ Battlespace Integrated Solutions team as a payload for UCAVs and helicopters, and it is currently going through development to become a sovereign capability delivered by the company’s local manufacturing operations, according to the company.

To enable efficient operation in air and maritime environments, BAE Systems said the project scope includes the development, acquisition, and testing of software, hardware, mechanical sub-systems, and other system parts over the next months.