CASA has cleared Black Sky Aerospace to trial a new weapons system from its Southern Queensland launch site over the coming days.
Though previous launches were undertaken under restrictions of civilian launch, the company has confirmed that the new approval will enable it to test, integrate and refine the guidance systems to a higher standard.
The business is best known as Australia’s sole local manufacturer of solid rocket fuel and last year conducted private launches for both civil and defence applications.
“This is a major milestone as our locally designed and built system moves towards qualification for availability to approved allies and partners,” Blake Nikolic, chief executive officer of Black Sky Aerospace, said.
“The continued hostility in Ukraine and declining stability in the Indo-Pacific region make this program a vital part of developing Australian industry capability.
“The approval comes only two months after BSA successfully tested rockets with an integrated launch pod allowing unprecedented rapid development of an Australian guided weapon platform.
“Under current plans, development of a local, guided weapon solution is not planned to start for up to five years. We at BSA don’t believe we have that amount of time, so we started work at the beginning of this year.”
Spiro Stamatopoulos, chief of launch operation at Black Sky Aerospace, explained that the tests require federal government approval.
“Rigorous scrutiny on our processes and simulations had been undertaken over many months to ensure launching guided weapons could be performed safely,” Stamatopoulos explained.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the CASA regulators who worked hard on this first-of-a-kind approval which clears a pathway for future developments.”
Nikolic said the company was inspired by the recent war in Ukraine to support a sovereign missile capability.
“The situation in Ukraine continues to inspire us to deliver homegrown capability. It is imperative we build resilience now while no adversary is at the gates as [it] happened in Europe,” Nikolic said.