The US military is evaluating a new miniature drone strike munition

Defense giant Northrop Grumman Corp. announced that its Hatchet miniature impact ammunition has undergone multiple live firing exercises.

According to a press release from NG, Hatchet ammunition recently participated in several Department of Defense tests where a smart mini bomb from a Group 3 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) platform was used for the first time.

One of the demonstrations shown was the US military’s first experimental exercise, Project Convergence 2022, where the Hatchet was rapidly integrated with the AeroVironment Jump 20 UAS. Aircraft security and communication with supplies was made possible by the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Battle Management System (BMS) of the Dahlgren division. This US government-owned micro-BMS provides an open-architecture, platform-agnostic storage management system with the ability to launch several types of weapons – now including the Hatchet miniature precision strike weapon.


“Over the past six months, Hatchet has undergone multiple DoD live-fire exercises, demonstrating its operational capabilities and integration maturation,” said Joe Esler, business development for Northrop Grumman. “These demonstrations move Hatchet one step closer to field deployment and operational readiness.”

The Hatchet’s compressed mount design allows the weapon to be loaded multiple times without negatively impacting the aircraft’s durability.

The Hatchet is a miniature lightweight, precision-guided munition that achieves high lethality by adaptively combining its fragmentation warhead effects with an innovative end-of-guidance design. When dropped from a Group-3 UAS at both stationary and moving targets, the Hatchet’s target accuracy was consistently less than two meters. The size, accuracy, and lethality of the Hatchet are ideal for use on all aircraft, but they especially enhance drone missions.

“By arming smaller, organic unmanned systems, soldiers on the ground become less dependent on larger, low-density aircraft, which are in high demand, to accomplish their mission,” Esler said. “As we saw in Ukraine, these smaller, armed UAS systems have proven to be very effective on the battlefield.”

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