European Partners Launch THEMA Consortium for Advanced Electromagnetic Artillery System

EDA: THEMA builds on PILUM's success, evolving electromagnetic artillery, maturing components for enhanced anti-aircraft and anti-surface warfare.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 09:23 AM, February 20, 2024
  • 1116
European Partners Launch THEMA Consortium for Advanced Electromagnetic Artillery System
Electromagnetic railgun development @EDA

A consortium of 14 European partners from nine EU member states has initiated the development of an electromagnetic cannon designed for anti-aircraft and anti-surface warfare operations.

The project is coordinated by Nexter, a KNDS company, with contributions from Naval Group, Diehl Defence, and the ISL Institut franco-allemand de recherches de Saint-Louis. Building on the achievements of the previous PILUM project, THEMA (Technology for Electromagnetic Artillery) seeks to mature three critical components based on research conducted by the ISL: the source of electrical energy, the cannon itself, and its hypervelocity projectile.

On September 28, 2023, the European Defence Agency (EDA) concluded the PILUM project, an electromagnetic railgun initiative funded by the European Commission. The project exceeded expectations, showcasing advancements in three key components: the railgun launcher, hypersonic projectile, and energy storage, the EDA said.

European Partners Launch THEMA Consortium for Advanced Electromagnetic Artillery System

Notable achievements include the use of wear-resistant materials to extend the railgun barrel's lifespan, the development of a hypervelocity projectile concept reaching speeds up to MACH 6, and exploration of capacitive and inductive energy concepts. The successful outcomes set the stage for THEMA, the next phase aiming to test an electromagnetic railgun on a firing range by 2028 under the European Defence Fund (EDF).

Funding for the project will be provided through the European Defence Fund by the European Commission, marking a step toward the development of a large-scale demonstrator, crucial for future industrialization. The kick-off meeting for this project took place at Versailles Satory late last week, serving as the starting point for collaborative efforts among the key stakeholders. The electromagnetic artillery system, touted as a next-generation solution, aims to provide naval and land forces with an additional capability to complement existing weapons.

The THEMA project focuses on maturing the pulsed-power supply, the electromagnetic railgun, and the hypervelocity projectile. The ultimate goal is to deliver a hypersonic interceptor with enhanced precision and lethality to counter challenging threats effectively. The electromagnetic gun is anticipated to operate as a supplementary defensive measure alongside traditional missiles and guns. Its adaptability to various naval platforms and land permanent air defense systems adds versatility to its potential applications.

European Partners Launch THEMA Consortium for Advanced Electromagnetic Artillery System
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