TAMPA, Fla. — Textron’s Fury, a lightweight precision-guided glide munition, successfully took out moving targets at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, a company official told Defense News at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference on Tuesday.
The munition has reached a high level of maturity following the successful takeout of a moving vehicle, said Brian Sinkiewicz, senior vice president and general manager for Textron's Weapon & Sensor Systems unit, as he stood on the showroom floor next to three display models of the Fury munition hanging from a rack meant for the much larger Hellfire missile.
Textron developed the munition to answer the call for a precision-guided weapon small enough to load higher quantities on unmanned aircraft systems like the Gray Eagle and the Shadow and still powerful enough to take out a target like a vehicle, according to Sinkiewicz.
The configuration on display demonstrated that up to six Fury munitions could fit where two Hellfire missiles might have gone on a Gray Eagle or a Shadow UAS.
Fury was fired from a Textron-owned Shadow UAS. The U.S. Army flies Shadow as part of its fleet.
Textron sees promise in the Army moving forward with a program in the coming years, according to Sinkiewicz.
The service asked for white papers in February for lightweight precision munitions specifically tailored for the Gray Eagle in advance of potentially setting up a program in the same office where the Hellfire missile is resident. Coming in at 13 pounds, Fury is meant to complement Hellfire and the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, not replace them, Sinkiewicz emphasized.
Army leadership, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command and U.S. Special Operations Command have all expressed interest in a smaller munition for unmanned aircraft, but funding challenges have held up progress.
However, the Army has indicated it plans to fund the start of a lightweight precision munition program in fiscal 2018.
Textron is also eyeing international interest in Fury as another possibility to better set up the munition’s success in the market. International customers with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms as well as special mission aircraft could be weaponized, Sinkiewicz said.
"What we are really after right now is a launch customer," Sinkiewicz said, meaning a customer that will put Fury through the paces in a low-cost demonstration and in users' hands. Putting the capability in the hands of real, would-be users is a far more effective approach in developing the munition than simply developing it internally, he added.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.