Innovation

Operational requirements of the defence industry are rapidly changing.  This includes among others improved safety, greater flexibility, environmental friendly and sustainable solutions and enhanced terminal effects. To deal with this increasing demand, FZ is continuously searching for new innovative solutions based on cutting-edge technologies and revising the design and range of product for our customers and end-users.

Our FZ R&D efforts involve FZ engineers as well as Thales group support and other spin offs and university background. Our main focus is on developing technologies that address key global challenges like insensitive ammunition and precision guided rocket.

Innovation is one of our driver and we encourage all of our staff members to find new and better ways irrespective of their role or background.

FZ275 LGR : Semi-Active Laser (SAL) Guided Rocket

In 2004, FZ launched a guided rocket development program of a totally new generation based on SAL (Semi-Active Laser). FZ takes advantage of the skills of their engineers and of the Thales Group in order to make this “Guided Rocket” program a complete success.

The FZ guided rocket is aimed to bridge the gap between the long-range high-value missiles and the shorter range gun and unguided rockets, thus affording a full range of precision effects from a platform.

This rocket complies with the armies’ requirement for precise and reliable ammunition capable of reducing exposure to danger and avoiding collateral damage which nowadays generally causes injuries to civilians.

 

Product evolution and improvement

FZ’s products are endowed with the best technology.  All the developments are orientated towards obtaining high precision ammunition and better safety of use. The main objective is to reduce collateral damage as much as possible and the risk of injuring civilians and soldiers.

Our engineering team is currently working on different improvement projects, designed to deliver unmatched performance across the full range of product of a rocket system.

Hereafter some examples of our numerous product improvements

  • Environmental friendly warheads

FZ’s ammunition production is also dedicated to training ammunition.  In order to avoid polluting the firing ranges and limit health hazard for wildlife, ecosystems and humans, the products are made so as to limit the impact on the environment, especially by substituting heavy metal (such as lead (Pb)) in the practice or training warheads FZ120 and FZ181 and by analysing the “residue” of the rocket. Most of our rocket components are compliant with European regulations such as e.g. REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).

  • Double safety arming device (SAD)

All of our warheads are also available with an electro-mechanical double Safety Arming Device SAD (STANAG 4187) to decrease the risk by accidental misuse or malfunction. The pyrotechnic chain is only aligned when specific spin rate and acceleration values have been reached during a defined timing.

SAD has been fully developed and patented by FZ. This functional supplement feature for 70mm rocket system  is unique in the world.

  • FZ90 HERO& ESD safe

The FZ90 rocket motor is equipped with HERO (Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance) filter to prevent inadvertently ignition by EMR (ElectroMagnetic Radiation) against electromagnetic radiation. The igniter features also an integrated Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) safe electronic EMI filter providing protection against electromagnetic radiation.

  • FZ125 Dual Detent 

This dual purpose detent mechanism is removable and maintainable, giving an extended life cycle to the rocket launcher. In addition, it allows the firing of two different types of rockets: FFAR and WA.

 

Added Value

FZ owns the proprietary rights (IPR) of all of their products.

FZ can rely on their impressive expertise resulting in a unique service that brings added value to the defence industry.

FZ’s real added value comes from mastering all the rocket system elements (from weapon management system to rocket pod and their corresponding ammunitions) and the element of differentiation with regard to their competitors.  This is a unique concept worldwide. One system - one partner.

With this, FZ fully complies with the requirements and current needs of their customers and end-users.

The added value of FZ’s products :

  • High flexibility of use
  • Safe and reliable use
  • dedicated products covering a large variety of requirements and missions
  • Adaptability to any type of carrier or aircraft (rotary or fixed wings)
  • Reduced recurring cost due to easy maintainability
  • Service and solution minded approach

FZ also benefits from the technical skills, international support and organization of the Thales Group guaranteeing the development and manufacture of the ever reliable and safe rocket systems. All our employees contribute added value to achieve company growth.

Research & Development (R&D)

Research & Development is a key component of innovation-led growth.

Historically, the Defence sector has always been a sector of excellence and has always represented an important lever in the development of state-of-the-art activities. It is one of the rare sectors that promote and develop R&D activities and high-tech tools that are essential for the future economy of the country and of the region of Liège in particular.

FZ invests in research and development according to a long-term business and strategic plan based on estimated market requirements. Our R&D efforts are focused and driven on anticipating operational requirements of our customers and end-users, increasing affordability and achieving reduced time to market.

The high level of requirements in this sector has lead FZ to put into place ambitious Research and Development policies that have put them at the forefront of present day technologies.  The activities performed for the Defence market also lead them to make investments in equipment that enable them to manufacture high quality products.

More than 30% of our workforce is involved in Research and Development projects. The ever-growing R&D budget enables them, on a continual basis, to reinforce the precision, safety and reliability of all their products.

In addition, FZ is associated to a cluster of companies specialised in specific domains enabling new concepts of techniques.

The area of Liège also benefits from its university (aeronautical, mechanical and electronical engineers) and associated spin off networks.

Besides our efforts regarding the SAL-Laser guided rocket, other examples of our on-going R&D projects include (non exhaustive list) :

Sustainability

FZ is committed to increasing the sustainability of its rocket systems to minimize environmental impact while maintaining performance to protect the troops and soldiers.

Sustainability is an important factor to decrease the lifecycle costs of rocket system components.

To support this goal, FZ invests in innovations to improve the sustainability of existing rocket systems:

  • Developing alternative green  energetic compounds
  • Removing hazardous materials such as hexavalent chromium and volatile organic compounds from manufacturing and repair processes
  • Determining the impact of using lead-free welding in electronic components