• A 60mm Black Sky Aerospace rocket fires from the Funnel Web robot.
Credit: Black Sky Aerospace
    A 60mm Black Sky Aerospace rocket fires from the Funnel Web robot. Credit: Black Sky Aerospace

Australian companies Black Sky Aerospace (BSA) and Funnel Web Systems (FWS) have collaborated to develop robots that can remotely launch rockets, with a prototype demonstration conducted on 7 September at MSPO, Poland’s International Defence Exhibition.

The units could be used by military ground forces to push rocket launches closer to an enemy, achieving tactical advantages whilst keeping soldiers out of harm’s way.

“People think of robots as sensor platforms, load carriers, and for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks: but we give them fangs. We can see use-cases such as for Ukraine where a missile needs to launch from a location that might put soldiers at too much risk or be otherwise inaccessible,” said Blake Nikolic, BSA CEO.

“The Funnel Web can push into new areas and wait for targets to present, and then be command-launched remotely. The rockets themselves can be tailored to the intended use, geography and required effects.”

Named after the deadly Australian spider, the Funnel Web is a rugged, highly mobile platform that can be rapidly deployed. It uses military grade communications and a hand controller that makes it easy to operate.

“From when we discussed the idea to launch took a little under a week. We are in Poland at the moment and here, just across the border from the Ukraine conflict, you can feel the urgency for development of game-changing technologies,” said James Baker, BSA’s General Manager of Defence and National Security.

“With the urgent international security situation in our own region of the Indo Pacific, Defence innovations need to get proven or rejected in days and weeks, not years. We have vast private ranges In Australia - one of them is three million acres – so we use our own testing grounds where ideas can be validated or vetoed at speed.”

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