US military, technology, arms, tactics

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brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jun 2019 08:42

Singha wrote:Rocketdyne and atk are new entrants to crown jewel pantheon

They seem to make motors from tiny iron dome type diwali rockets to icbm first stages


There isn't much in Solid Rocket Motors and beyond that OATK (Now Northrop) and Aerojet haven't done once you sum up the parts that they are made up of. They've been pretty much at the center of US rocketry and ramjet/scramjet propulsion. It wouldn't be far fetched to claim that between them they probably have the highest motor run times when it comes to scramjets. OATK also was the first to ever fly a VFDR rocket motor ( Aerojet/ARC supplied motor) equipped system and put one into use on a an actual system (GQM-163) much before MBDA introduced the Meteor.

The Solid Rocket Legacy of Thiokol's Huntsville Division 1949-1996


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More on Raytheon and OATK's HAWC scramjet system. Given that DARPA doesn't plan on still having flight testing beyonf 2021-2022 it's tough to imagine that they aren't anything but a few months to a year or so behind Lockheed and aerojet's system (if that).
Last edited by brar_w on 19 Jun 2019 20:25, edited 3 times in total.

Singha
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 19 Jun 2019 10:21

the high tech forges of rivendell continue to make magical elfish swords that glow blue on the approach of orcs and are self guiding on the attack...but the elf lords have decreed that dark skinned mlecchas from gondor and dothraki may not settle in rivendell to enjoy the soma, milk and honey and the number of elf warriors and archers continue to languish. the elite faction of elfish society continues to squander its goodwill by oppressing their underclass and getting into disputes and territorial squabbles with the sub-arctic civilization of the bears - masters of the snowy wastes beyond the Wall, a nation of warlike hard drinking, hard fighting, deeply religious individualists lead by their own Khal Drogo. shadow lords of the sith continue to wreak havoc in councils of power and exploit the fault lines.

meantime below the dark smoggish clouds that always over over mordor, the vast forges and flames of Mount doom continue to pour out mountains of weapons, shoes, toys, electronics, ships, tvs and phones for the uruk hai and orcs to wield .... and the more advanced forges of hsinchu, seoul , tsukuba er Eisengaard also feed technology into the main hives in the caverns below mount doom where legions of worker orcs toil day and night to the beat of hammer on hot steel and the sharpening noises of swords.

and the ever present sweeping radar beam from the Dark Tower of Badar Dur watches and waits ....

across the snowy mountains from the dark clouds and energetic flames of Mordor, the land of gondor races desperately against time to rebuild her shattered forges, granaries, armies and prepare for the next phase of the manthan. the king who has returned by the mandate of his scattered argumentive peoples attempts to raise a new Dark Tower that can hold in balance the power and magic of the two other dark towers in rivendell and mordor... the haradrim, evil desert raiders continue to gnaw and raid the western fringes of gondor , playing their role as skirmishers and spoilers for lord sauron in exchange for gold and the gift of hasishi - magical perfect spheres made of milled uranium that have great power ... with this they rule over the more backward desert tribes and proclaim themselves rulers of the endless sands of the west.

brar_w
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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 19 Jun 2019 20:21

Aviation Week's coverage from the Paris Air Show -

Raytheon, Northrop Partner To Co-develop Scramjet Missile


Raytheon Missile Systems and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems announced a partnership at the Paris Air Show here on June 18 to co-develop a scramjet-powered hypersonic missile.

Though presented as a newly-signed partnership, the announcement in reality lifts the veil on a secret, multiyear collaboration between the two companies to develop an advanced new high-speed weapon system as one of two competitors for the High-speed Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The partnership is so advanced that the Raytheon/Northrop HAWC design is ready to enter flight testing “very soon,” said Tom Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems. “This weapon is fundamentally game changing. There’s nothing like it,” Bussing said.
Lockheed Martin is also developing a scramjet-powered missile for the HAWC program.

The Raytheon/Northrop effort draws on nearly two decades of hypersonic propulsion and missile development work between the two companies. Northrop, which acquired Orbital ATK last year, developed the scramjet for the successful NASA X-43 scramjet. But the scramjet designed for HAWC is more advanced than the X-43 by several generations, said John Wilcox, vice president of Advanced Weapons and Technology for Northrop.
The new scramjet propulsion system for the Raytheon/Northrop HAWC is designed exclusively with an additive manufacturing process, he said. That approach helped significantly reduce the weight of the scramjet, which amounts to about half the mass of the engine aboard the Boeing X-51 a decade ago, Wilcox said.

Raytheon is contributing to the design of the HAWC missile. It features a contoured nose and standard body, although the released image masks the shape of the classified inlet design. The Raytheon/Northrop team is developing the HAWC initially for an air-launched application, but there are plans to develop versions that can be launched from ground vehicles and ships.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 20 Jun 2019 06:46

Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable. And They’re Starting a New Global Arms Race


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A Mach 14 Waverider glide vehicle, which takes its name from its ability to generate high lift and ride on its own shock waves. This shape is representative of the type of systems the United States is developing today.CreditCreditDan Winters for The New York Times

On March 6, 2018, the grand ballroom at the Sphinx Club in Washington was packed with aerospace-industry executives waiting to hear from Michael D. Griffin. Weeks earlier, Secretary of Defense James Mattis named the 69-year-old Maryland native the Pentagon’s under secretary for research and engineering, a job that comes with an annual budget of more than $17 billion. The dark-suited attendees at the McAleese/Credit Suisse Defense Programs Conference were eager to learn what type of work he would favor.

The audience was already familiar with Griffin, an unabashed defender of American military and political supremacy who has bragged about being labeled an “unreconstructed cold warrior.” With five master’s degrees and a doctorate in aerospace engineering, he was the chief technology officer for President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (popularly known as Star Wars), which was supposed to shield the United States against a potential Russian attack by ballistic missiles looping over the North Pole. Over the course of his career that followed, he wrote a book on space vehicle design, ran a technology incubator funded by the C.I.A., directed NASA for four years and was employed as a senior executive at a handful of aerospace firms.

Griffin was known as a scientific optimist who regularly called for “disruptive innovation” and who prized speed above all. He had repeatedly complained about the Pentagon’s sluggish bureaucracy, which he saw as mired in legacy thinking. “This is a country that produced an atom bomb under the stress of wartime in three years from the day we decided to do it,” he told a congressional panel last year. “This is a country that can do anything we need to do that physics allows. We just need to get on with it.”

In recent decades, Griffin’s predecessors had prioritized broad research into topics such as human-computer interaction, space communication and undersea warfare. But Griffin signaled an important shift, one that would have major financial consequences for the executives in attendance. “I’m sorry for everybody out there who champions some other high priority, some technical thing; it’s not that I disagree with those,” he told the room. “But there has to be a first, and hypersonics is my first.”

Griffin was referring to a revolutionary new type of weapon, one that would have the unprecedented ability to maneuver and then to strike almost any target in the world within a matter of minutes. Capable of traveling at more than 15 times the speed of sound, hypersonic missiles arrive at their targets in a blinding, destructive flash, before any sonic booms or other meaningful warning. So far, there are no surefire defenses. Fast, effective, precise and unstoppable — these are rare but highly desired characteristics on the modern battlefield. And the missiles are being developed not only by the United States but also by China, Russia and other countries.

Griffin is now the chief evangelist in Washington for hypersonics, and so far he has run into few political or financial roadblocks. Lawmakers have supported a significant expansion of federal spending to accelerate the delivery of what they call a “game-changing technology,” a buzz phrase often repeated in discussions on hypersonics. America needs to act quickly, says James Inhofe, the Republican senator from Oklahoma who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, or else the nation might fall behind Russia and China. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are largely in agreement, though recently they’ve pressed the Pentagon for more information. (The Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and House Chairman Adam Smith, the Democratic representative for Washington’s ninth district, told me it might make sense to question the weapons’ global impact or talk with Russia about the risks they create, but the priority in Washington right now is to get our versions built.)

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Interior of the high-velocity wind tunnel in White Oak, Md., where scientists are testing hypersonic missile prototypes.CreditDan Winters for The New York Times

In 2018, Congress expressed its consensus in a law requiring that an American hypersonic weapon be operational by October 2022. This year, the Trump administration’s proposed defense budget included $2.6 billion for hypersonics, and national security industry experts project that the annual budget will reach $5 billion by the middle of the next decade. The immediate aim is to create two deployable systems within three years. Key funding is likely to be approved this summer.

The enthusiasm has spread to military contractors, especially after the Pentagon awarded the largest one, Lockheed Martin, more than $1.4 billion in 2018 to build missile prototypes that can be launched by Air Force fighter jets and B-52 bombers. These programs were just the beginning of what the acting defense secretary, Patrick M. Shanahan, described in December as the Trump administration’s goal of “industrializing” hypersonic missile production. Several months later, he and Griffin created a new Space Development Agency of some 225 people, tasked with putting a network of sensors in low-earth orbit that would track incoming hypersonic missiles and direct American hypersonic attacks. This isn’t the network’s only purpose, but it will have “a war-fighting capability, should it come to that,” Griffin said in March.

Development of hypersonics is moving so quickly, however, that it threatens to outpace any real discussion about the potential perils of such weapons, including how they may disrupt efforts to avoid accidental conflict, especially during crises. There are currently no international agreements on how or when hypersonic missiles can be used, nor are there any plans between any countries to start those discussions. Instead, the rush to possess weapons of incredible speed and maneuverability has pushed the United States into a new arms race with Russia and China — one that could, some experts worry, upend existing norms of deterrence and renew Cold War-era tensions.

Although hypersonic missiles can in theory carry nuclear warheads, those being developed by the United States will only be equipped with small conventional explosives. With a length between just five and 10 feet, weighing about 500 pounds and encased in materials like ceramic and carbon fiber composites or nickel-chromium superalloys, the missiles function like nearly invisible power drills that smash holes in their targets, to catastrophic effect. After their launch — whether from the ground, from airplanes or from submarines — they are pulled by gravity as they descend from a powered ascent, or propelled by highly advanced engines. The missiles’ kinetic energy at the time of impact, at speeds of at least 1,150 miles per hour, makes them powerful enough to penetrate any building material or armored plating with the force of three to four tons of TNT.

They could be aimed, in theory, at Russian nuclear-armed ballistic missiles being carried on trucks or rails. Or the Chinese could use their own versions of these missiles to target American bombers and other aircraft at bases in Japan or Guam. Or the missiles could attack vital land- or sea-based radars anywhere, or military headquarters in Asian ports or near European cities. The weapons could even suddenly pierce the steel decks of one of America’s 11 multibillion-dollar aircraft carriers, instantly stopping flight operations, a vulnerability that might eventually render the floating behemoths obsolete. Hypersonic missiles are also ideal for waging a decapitation strike — assassinating a country’s top military or political officials. “Instant leader-killers,” a former Obama administration White House official, who asked not to be named, said in an interview.

Within the next decade, these new weapons could undertake a task long imagined for nuclear arms: a first strike against another nation’s government or arsenals, interrupting key chains of communication and disabling some of its retaliatory forces, all without the radioactive fallout and special condemnation that might accompany the detonation of nuclear warheads. That’s why a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report said in 2016 that hypersonics aren’t “simply evolutionary threats” to the United States but could in the hands of enemies “challenge this nation’s tenets of global vigilance, reach and power.”

The arrival of such fast weaponry will dangerously compress the time during which military officials and their political leaders — in any country — can figure out the nature of an attack and make reasoned decisions about the wisdom and scope of defensive steps or retaliation. And the threat that hypersonics pose to retaliatory weapons creates what scholars call “use it or lose it” pressures on countries to strike first during a crisis. Experts say that the missiles could upend the grim psychology of Mutual Assured Destruction, the bedrock military doctrine of the nuclear age that argued globe-altering wars would be deterred if the potential combatants always felt certain of their opponents’ devastating response.

And yet decision makers seem to be ignoring these risks. Unlike with previous leaps in military technology — such as the creation of chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles with multiple nuclear warheads — that ignited international debate and eventually were controlled through superpower treaty negotiations, officials in Washington, Moscow and Beijing haven’t seriously considered any sort of accord limiting the development or deployment of hypersonic technology. In the United States, the State Department’s arms-control bureau has an office devoted to emerging security challenges, but hypersonic missiles aren’t one of its core concerns. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s deputies say they primarily support making the military’s arsenal more robust, an unusual stance for a department tasked with finding diplomatic solutions to global problems.

This position worries arms-control experts like Thomas M. Countryman, a career diplomat for 35 years and former assistant secretary of state in the Obama administration. “This is not the first case of a new technology proceeding through research, development and deployment far faster than the policy apparatus can keep up,” says Countryman, who is now chairman of the Arms Control Association. He cites examples of similarly “destabilizing technologies” in the 1960s and 1970s, when billions of dollars in frenzied spending on nuclear and chemical arms was unaccompanied by discussion of how the resulting dangers could be minimized. Countryman wants to see limitations placed on the number of hypersonic missiles that a country can build or on the type of warheads that they can carry. He and others worry that failing to regulate these weapons at the international level could have irreversible consequences.

“It is possible,” the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs said in a February report, that “in response [to] the deployment of hypersonic weapons,” nations fearing the destruction of their retaliatory-strike capability might either decide to use nuclear weapons under a wider set of conditions or simply place “nuclear forces on higher alert levels” as a matter of routine. The report lamented that these “ramifications remain largely unexamined and almost wholly undiscussed.”

So why haven’t the potential risks of this revolution attracted more attention? One reason is that for years the big powers have cared mostly about numerical measures of power — who has more warheads, bombers and missiles — and negotiations have focused heavily on those metrics. Only occasionally has their conversation widened to include the issue of strategic stability, a topic that encompasses whether specific weaponry poses risks of inadvertent war.

An aerospace engineer for the military for more than three decades, Daniel Marren runs one of the world’s fastest wind tunnels — and thanks to hypersonics research, his lab is in high demand. But finding it takes some time: When I arrived at the Air Force’s White Oak testing facility, just north of Silver Spring, Md., the private security guards only vaguely gestured toward some World War II-era military research buildings down the road, at the edge of the Food and Drug Administration’s main campus. The low-slung structure that houses Marren’s tunnel looks as if it could pass for an aged elementary school, except that it has a seven-story silver sphere sticking out of its east side, like a World’s Fair exhibit in the spot where an auditorium should be. The tunnel itself, some 40 feet in length and five feet in diameter, looks like a water main; it narrows at one end before emptying into the silver sphere. A column of costly high-tech sensors is grafted onto the piping where a thick window has been cut into its midsection.

Marren seemed both thrilled and harried by the rising tempo at his laboratory in recent months. A jovial 55-year-old who speaks carefully but excitedly about his work, he showed me a red brick structure on the property with some broken windows. It was built, he said, to house the first of nine wind tunnels that have operated at the test site, one that was painstakingly recovered in 1948 from Peenemünde, the coastal German village where Wernher von Braun worked on the V-2 rocket used to kill thousands of Londoners in World War II. American military researchers had a hard time figuring out how to reassemble and operate it, so they recruited some German scientists stateside.

As we entered the control room of the building that houses the active tunnel, Marren mentioned casually that the roof was specially designed to blow off easily if anything goes explosively awry. Any debris would head skyward, and the engineers, analysts and visiting Air Force generals monitoring the wind tests could survive behind the control room’s reinforced-concrete walls.

Inside the main room, Marren — dressed in a technologist’s polo shirt — explained that during the tests, the tunnel is first rolled into place on a trolley over steel rails in the floor. Then an enormous electric burner is ignited beneath it, heating the air inside to more than 3,000 degrees, hot enough to melt steel. The air is then punched by pressures 1,000 times greater than normal at one end of the tunnel and sucked at the other end by a vacuum deliberately created in the enormous sphere.

That sends the air roaring down the tunnel at up to 18 times the speed of sound — fast enough to traverse more than 30 football fields in the time it takes to blink. Smack in the middle of the tunnel during a test, attached to a pole capable of changing its angle in fractions of a second, is a scale model of the hypersonics prototype. That is, instead of testing the missiles by flying them through the air outdoors, the tunnel effectively makes the air fly past them at the same incredible pace.

For the tests, the models are coated with a paint that absorbs ultraviolet laser light as it warms, marking the spots on their ceramic skin where frictional heat may threaten the structure of the missile; engineers will then need to tweak the designs either to resist that heat or shunt it elsewhere. The aim, Marren explains, is to see what will happen when the missiles plow through the earth’s dense atmosphere on their way to their targets.

It’s challenging work, replicating the stresses these missiles would endure while whizzing by at 30 times the speed of a civilian airliner, miles above the clouds. Their sleek, synthetic skin expands and deforms and kicks off a plasma like the ionized gas formed by superheated stars, as they smash the air and try to shed all that intense heat. The tests are fleeting, lasting 15 seconds at most, which require the sensors to record their data in thousandths of a nanosecond. That’s the best any such test facility can do, according to Marren, and it partly accounts for the difficulty that defense researchers have had in producing hypersonics, even after about $2 billion-worth of federal investment before this year.

Nonetheless, Marren, who has worked at the tunnel since 1984, is optimistic that researchers will be able to deliver a working missile soon. He and his team are operating at full capacity, with hundreds of test runs scheduled this year to measure the ability of various prototype missiles to withstand the punishing friction and heat of such rapid flight. “We have been prepared for this moment for some time, and it’s great to lean forward,” Marren says. The faster that weapons systems can operate, he adds, the better.

Last year, the nation was confronted with a brief reminder of how Cold War-era nuclear panic played out, after a state employee in Hawaii mistakenly sent out an emergency alert declaring that a “ballistic missile threat” was “inbound.” The message didn’t specify what kind of missile — and, in fact, the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command at two sites in Alaska and California may have some capability to shoot down a few incoming ballistic missiles — but panicked Hawaii residents didn’t feel protected. They reacted by careening cars into one another on highways, pushing their children into storm drains for protection and phoning their loved ones to say goodbye — until a second message, 38 minutes later, acknowledged it was an error.

Hypersonics pose a different threat from ballistic missiles, according to those who have studied and worked on them, because they could be maneuvered in ways that confound existing methods of defense and detection. Not to mention, unlike most ballistic missiles, they would arrive in under 15 minutes — less time than anyone in Hawaii or elsewhere would need to meaningfully react.

How fast is that, really? An object moving through the air produces an audible shock wave — a sonic boom — when it reaches about 760 miles per hour. This speed of sound is also called Mach 1, after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. When a projectile flies faster than Mach’s number, it travels at supersonic speed — a speed faster than sound. Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound; Mach 3 is three times the speed of sound, and so on. When a projectile reaches a speed faster than Mach 5, it’s said to travel at hypersonic speed.

One of the two main hypersonic prototypes now under development in the United States is meant to fly at speeds between Mach 15 and Mach 20, or more than 11,400 miles per hour. This means that when fired by the U.S. submarines or bombers stationed at Guam, they could in theory hit China’s important inland missile bases, like Delingha, in less than 15 minutes. President Vladimir Putin has likewise claimed that one of Russia’s new hypersonic missiles will travel at Mach 10, while the other will travel at Mach 20. If true, that would mean a Russian aircraft or ship firing one of them near Bermuda could strike the Pentagon, some 800 miles away, in five minutes. China, meanwhile, has flight-tested its own hypersonic missiles at speeds fast enough to reach Guam from the Chinese coastline within minutes.

One concept now being pursued by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency uses a conventional missile launched from air platforms to loft a smaller, hypersonic glider on its journey, even before the missile reaches its apex. The glider then flies unpowered toward its target. The deadly projectile might ricochet downward, nose tilted up, on layers of atmosphere — the mesosphere, then the stratosphere and troposphere — like an oblate stone on water, in smaller and shallower skips, or it might be directed to pass smoothly through these layers. In either instance, the friction of the lower atmosphere would finally slow it enough to allow a steering system to maneuver it precisely toward its target. The weapon, known as Tactical Boost Glide, is scheduled to be dropped from military planes during testing next year.

Under an alternative approach, a hypersonic missile would fly mostly horizontally under the power of a “scramjet,” a highly advanced, fanless engine that uses shock waves created by its speed to compress incoming air in a short funnel and ignite it while passing by (in roughly one two-thousandths of a second, according to some accounts). With its skin heated by friction to as much as 5,400 degrees, its engine walls would be protected from burning up by routing the fuel through them, an idea pioneered by the German designers of the V-2 rocket.

The unusual trajectories of these missiles would allow them to approach their targets at roughly 12 to 50 miles above the earth’s surface. That’s below the altitude at which ballistic missile interceptors — such as the costly American Aegis ship-based system and the Thaad ground-based system — are now designed to typically operate, yet above the altitude that simpler air defense missiles, like the Patriot system, can reach.

Officials will have trouble even knowing where a strike would land. Although the missiles’ launch would probably be picked up by infrared-sensing satellites in its first few moments of flight, Griffin says they would be roughly 10 to 20 times harder to detect than incoming ballistic missiles as they near their targets. They would zoom along in the defensive void, maneuvering unpredictably, and then, in just a few final seconds of blindingly fast, mile-per-second flight, dive and strike a target such as an aircraft carrier from an altitude of 100,000 feet.

During their flight, the perimeter of their potential landing zone could be about as big as Rhode Island. Officials might sound a general alarm, but they’d be clueless about exactly where the missiles were headed. “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of United States Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2018. The Pentagon is just now studying what a hypersonic attack might look like and imagining how a defensive system might be created; it has no architecture for it, and no firm sense of the costs.

Developing these new weapons hasn’t been easy. A 2012 test was terminated when the skin peeled off a hypersonic prototype, and another self-destructed when it lost control. A third hypersonic test vehicle was deliberately destroyed when its boosting missile failed in 2014. Officials at Darpa acknowledge they are still struggling with the composite ceramics they need to protect the missiles’ electronics from intense heating; the Pentagon decided last July to ladle an extra $34.5 million into this effort this year.

The task of conducting realistic flight tests also poses a challenge. The military’s principal land-based site for open-air prototype flights — a 3,200-acre site stretching across multiple counties in New Mexico — isn’t big enough to accommodate hypersonic weapons. So fresh testing corridors are being negotiated in Utah that will require a new regional political agreement about the noise of trailing sonic booms. Scientists still aren’t sure how to accumulate all the data they need, given the speed of the flights. The open-air flight tests can cost up to $100 million.

The most recent open-air hypersonic-weapon test was completed by the Army and the Navy in October 2017, using a 36,000-pound missile to launch a glider from a rocky beach on the western shores of Kauai, Hawaii, toward Kwajalein Atoll, 2,300 miles to the southwest. The 9 p.m. flight created a trailing sonic boom over the Pacific, which topped out at an estimated 175 decibels, well above the threshold of causing physical pain. The effort cost $160 million, or 6 percent of the total hypersonics budget proposed for 2020.

In March 2018, Vladimir Putin, in the first of several speeches designed to rekindle American anxieties about a foreign missile threat, boasted that Russia had two operational hypersonic weapons: the Kinzhal, a fast, air-launched missile capable of striking targets up to 1,200 miles away; and the Avangard, designed to be attached to a new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile before maneuvering toward its targets. Russian media have claimed that nuclear warheads for the weapons are already being produced and that the Sarmat missile itself has been flight-tested roughly 3,000 miles across Siberia. (Russia has also said it is working on a third hypersonic missile system, designed to be launched from submarines.) American experts aren’t buying all of Putin’s claims. “Their test record is more like ours,” said an engineer working on the American program. “It’s had a small number of flight-test successes.” But Pentagon officials are convinced that Moscow’s weapons will soon be a real threat.

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The exterior of the wind tunnel. At 40 feet long and five feet in diameter, the tunnel replicates the forces missiles would endure at hypersonic speeds.CreditDan Winters for The New York Times

Analysts say the Chinese are even further along than the Russians, partly because Beijing has sought to create hypersonic missiles with shorter ranges that don’t have to endure high temperatures as long. Many of their tests have involved a glide vehicle. Last August, a contractor for the Chinese space program claimed that it successfully flight-tested a gliding hypersonic missile for slightly more than six minutes. It supposedly reached a speed exceeding Mach 5 before landing in its target zone. Other Chinese hypersonic missile tests have reached speeds almost twice as fast.

And it’s not just Russia, China and the United States that are interested in fast-flying military power drills. France and India have active hypersonics development programs, and each is working in partnership with Russia, according to a 2017 report by the Rand Corp., a nonpartisan research organization. Australia, Japan and the European Union have either civilian or military hypersonics research underway, the report said, partly because they are still tantalized by the prospect of making super-speedy airplanes large enough to carry passengers across the globe in mere hours. But Japan’s immediate effort is aimed at making a weapon that will be ready for testing by 2025.

This is not the first time the United States or others have ignored risks while rushing toward a new, apparently magical solution to a military threat or shortcoming. During the Cold War, America and Russia competed fiercely to threaten each other’s vital assets with bombers that took hours to cross oceans and with ballistic missiles that could reach their targets in 30 minutes. Ultimately, each side accumulated more than 31,000 warheads (even though the detonations of just 100 weapons would have sparked a severe global famine and stripped away significant protections against ultraviolet radiation). Eventually the fever broke, partly because of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and the two nations reduced their arsenals through negotiations to about 6,500 nuclear warheads apiece.

Since then, cycles of intense arms racing have restarted whenever one side has felt acutely disadvantaged or spied a potential exit from what the political scientist Robert Jervis once described as the “overwhelming nature” of nuclear destruction, a circumstance that we’ve been involuntarily and resentfully hostage to for the past 70 years.

Trump officials in particular have resisted policies that support Mutual Assured Destruction, the idea that shared risk can lead to stability and peace. John Bolton, the national security adviser, was a key architect in 2002 of America’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, which limited both nations’ ability to try to block ballistic missiles. He asserted that freeing the United States of those restrictions would enhance American security, and if the rest of the world was static, his prediction might have come true. But Russia started its hypersonics program to ensure it could get around any American ballistic missile defenses. “Nobody wanted to listen to us” about the strategic dangers of abandoning the treaty, Putin said last year with an aggressive flourish as he displayed videos and animations of his nation’s hypersonic missiles. “So listen now.”

But not much listening is going on in either country. In January, the Trump administration released an updated missile-defense strategy that explicitly calls for limiting mutual vulnerability by defeating enemy “offensive missiles prior to launch.” The administration also continues to eschew any new limits on its own missiles, arguing that past agreements lulled America into a dangerous post-Cold War “holiday,” as a senior State Department official described it.

The current administration’s lack of interest in regulating hypersonics isn’t that different from its predecessor’s. Around 2010, President Obama privately “made it clear that he wanted better options to hold North Korean missiles” at risk, a former senior adviser said, and some military officials said hypersonic weapons might be suitable for this. About that same time, the most recent nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia deliberately excluded any constraints on hypersonic weapons. Then, three years ago, a New York-based group called the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, acting in conjunction with other nonprofits committed to disarmament, called on the president to head off a hypersonic competition and its anticipated drain on future federal budgets by exploring a joint moratorium with China and Russia on testing. The idea was never taken up.

The Obama administration’s inaction helped open the door to the 21st-century hypersonic contest America finds itself in today. “We always do these things in isolation, without thinking about what it means for the big powers — for Russia and China — who are batshit paranoid” about a potential quick, pre-emptive American attack, the adviser said, expressing regret about how the issue was handled during Obama’s tenure.

While it might not be too late to change course, history shows that stopping an arms race is much harder than igniting one. And Washington at the moment is still principally focused on “putting a weapon on a target,” as a longtime congressional staff member put it, rather than the reaction this capability inspires in an adversary. Griffin even projects an eventual American victory in this race: In April 2018, he said the best answer to the Chinese and Russian hypersonic programs is “to hold their assets at risk with systems similar to but better than what they have fielded.” Invoking the mantra of military scientists throughout time, Griffin added that the country must “see their hand and raise them one.” The world will soon find out what happens now that the military superpowers have decided to go all in.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 22 Jun 2019 21:31

US Army just wrapped up a demonstration phase of its Patriot Radar replacement program. Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop all demonstrated their Gallium Nitride based AESA radars against representative target types out at White Sands Missile Range. The plan now is to pick a mature radar design by September of this year and field it by mid 2022 and eventually modernize 15 PATRIOT battalion.

The US Army agreed to modernize PATRIOT via block units by breaking up the system and competing each element such as interceptor, command and control and integrated fire control system, radar, and eventually the prime mover and launchers as well separately and over time. A new interceptor was introduced a few years ago (PAC-3 MSE) and a new one is now a program of record ( future interceptor likely a replacement for the PAC-2 as a long range interceptor), a new C2 and Integrated Fire Control system (IAMD-IBCS) is all set to IOC by 2021, and now the radar competition is finally coming to a close with a down select in a couple of months for FY 2022 IOC. The New Radar will pair up with dispersed AN/MPQ-64 A3 and A4 radars for beyond the horizon intercepts. It will also have fire control level connectivity with other air defense and no air defense elements to enable "Any Sensor Any Shooter" doctrine.

Army tests prototypes, explores technologies for air, missile defense


The Army completed on Monday an almost three-month-long capabilities demonstration of prototype radars aimed at replacing the one currently used by Patriot missile units.

The "sense-off" at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, tested three different prototypes of the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS. The radars tracked simulated incoming missiles and live aircraft scenarios as experts observed their capabilities.

A board will convene to evaluate the data collected and the test results to select a single vendor for the LTAMDS contract by Sept. 30, said Terry Young, senior advisor to the director of the Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team of Army Futures Command, Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson.

The plan is to field the new radar to the first Patriot battalion by the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2022, Young said. Eventually 15 battalions will be fielded by the end of FY 2031.

"The Patriot system has been around since the late '70s," he said, explaining that the radar system has been patched and updated continuously to keep pace with evolving threats over the last 40 years.

"Industry, technicians and our Patriot Soldiers have done wonders to keep the system updated to where it's at today," he said of the Patriot radar, but added that technology has grown by "leaps and bounds" over the past few years. "It's time to get a new radar out there to keep up with the future fight," he said.

The LTAMDS is the No. 4 program of the four efforts the Air and Missile Defense CFT is currently working on, he said.




Integrated Fire Control Connectivity and L/EOR -

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Last edited by brar_w on 23 Jun 2019 05:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Jun 2019 04:46

Jane's provides some additional details on the Raytheon/Northrop Grumman scramjet weapon demonstrator and its flight test program -

Raytheon prepares for first flight of HAWC prototype demonstrator - Jane's Missiles & Rockets


“Northrop has developed an innovative scramjet engine that has been incorporated into a vehicle designed by Raytheon, and that combination has allowed us to demonstrate – on the ground, currently – the performance attributes of this system to show that it is capable of meeting our warfighter requirements,” said Bussing.

Dr John Wilcox, VP, Advanced Programmes at Northrop Grumman Corporation, confirmed that development of the new scramjet engine for HAWC is finalised and ready for flight testing. “We have many hours of combustion time in the wind tunnel, in free-flow air. We are ready for flight right now; the scheduling times are classified but it’s a near-term flight,” he said.

Wilcox disclosed that the entire scramjet engine has been built using additive manufacturing technology, although he declined to comment on the specific materials used in the build. “We have moved nine generations ahead in scramjet technology,” he said. “We are now using JP-10, a kerosene type fuel; not like the old hydrogen in the X-43 [experimental unmanned hypersonic aircraft]. Everything we’ve done with the engine is with additive manufacturing; we think we are the first to ever 3D print a full combuster for an air-breathing scramjet engine. So we are driving affordability into the hypersonic cruise missile scramjet engine; we are also looking at ways to reduce the weight, so that we can have more fuel, payload, etc.”
Other parts of the vehicle airframe, including the inlets, have been additively manufactured, said Bussing. “Key to what we are doing here is that as we build the demo prototype we look at the different ways we process things in manufacturing to try and get affordability up front in the prototyping before production.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 23 Jun 2019 06:51

Air Force looking at Valkyrie, Skyborg as first vanguard programs to accelerate development


"Part of what we’re doing with [XQ-58A Valkyrie] is to set the stage and begin experimenting with what the lab is calling vanguard programs," ACC chief James Holmes told reporters yesterday at the Air Force’s Life-Cycle Industry Day in Dayton, OH. "So the idea is what can we do to transition technology faster from the lab to the field, and this Skyborg is an example of one that we can go ahead and move forward to do."
Col. Dale White, the Air Force's program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and special operations, told reporters here that Will Roper, the service's civilian acquisition lead, asked him to engage Skyborg for the new vanguard concept, too.
"We have a group of people that are closely looking at how we basically get that out there. That will be a vanguard approach. It will be one of the first," he said. "It's already kind of down that path anyway with the unmanned vehicle that they’re using and how we take that to the next level using [artificial intelligence]."

Valkyrie and Skyborg, an autonomous wingman platform for fighter aircraft, overlap with one another via the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology program, a manned-unmanned teaming effort intended to help avoid high costs.

Air Force Research Lab spokesman Bryan Ripple told Inside Defense in an email yesterday that as the program evolves, Skyborg may leverage research products of the LCAAT, while Valkyrie "represents a cost capability benchmark" for the first LCAAT demonstration.

Valkyrie achieved a milestone last week, when it completed a second flight at Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ and met all testing objectives, according to an Air Force news release. Program manager Doug Szczublewski described the XQ-58A in the statement as "the first Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology demonstrator with [unmanned aerial system] technology to change the way we fly and fight & build and buy."

Speaking at the Paris Air Show this week, Roper said he is looking to purchase 20 to 30 more UAVs for further testing, according to media reports.
Ripple explained the options AFRL is considering to accelerate progress on the program, saying: "This involves platform design and manufacturing, autonomy, sensors and the pilot vehicle interface. As AI and autonomy algorithms mature we will be working to host these capabilities on LCAAT platforms to provide a system of systems capability demonstration."

Holmes of ACC described some potential applications for the program, saying: "You can imagine it as partnering with fifth [generation] aircraft to give them forward-based sensors and weapons that would help them preserve a first-shoot advantage against advanced threats. . . . You can imagine them giving you a strike capability that’s freed up from runways, so that while you're fighting to maintain runways in a forward battle you have some things distributed around that you can use over and over and over again to launch vertically, go out and hit a target."


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Ankit Desai » 24 Jun 2019 06:47


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Singha » 25 Jun 2019 11:11

DARPA/DOD product pipeline
very complex, but it seems they have a streamlined system in place to make it work, despite some waste.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 25 Jun 2019 14:51

My understanding that India has an observer at DARPA and some other agency, for the past year or so. A Parrikar leftover.

India also has a liaison officer at CENTCOM.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Jun 2019 22:47

Most of the activities on the chart cover acquisition programs and not the tech that DARPA mostly works on. DARPA is a very small organization mostly tasked with taking technology bets do a vast majority of what it does is pre Milestone A activity. The It is a process to go from Material analysis ( M-A) to full rate production (M-C). Acquisition programs are run by individual services or centrally by the Secretary of Defense’s office in case they are joint, multi national or cover other important programs (like missile defense). DARPAs TTO programs that rapidly transition don’t have to follow this path however and can be fast tracked. Same with MDA programs and rapid acquisition progress run by the services : All those can bypass many of these processes and requirements in the interest of time .

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby ramana » 26 Jun 2019 23:27

Yes that the 5Gon acquisition program of weapon systems.
DARPA is into basic research and advanced concepts.
Once they are mature they go into the acquisition roadmap.
\
Have you seen any DARPA roadmaps?

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Jun 2019 22:55

ramana wrote:Have you seen any DARPA roadmaps?


I don't think DARPA approaches its programs via a formal roadmaps process with a begining and end goal firmly defined and measured. There is also variation among its various office with the TTO being a clear outlier to everything else since it usually is interested in fielding systems as opposed to exploring and developing technologies. Broadly speaking, DARPA periodically shares its areas of interests based on both its observation of rapid technology development with an adversary or via an identified need. Then it engages industry (roughly 60% of its funding goes to industry a lot to small businesses), academia (15-20%), and even government labs (10-15%) for ideas and proposals. Mixed/matrix teams are quite common and usually the norm. Based on how well the threat, need, or solution is developed you can either propose a "seedling" project or respond to a full fledged broad area announcement with a much broader multi year technology development effort. Well formed problems are usually communicated via Broad Area Announcements with white papers from the various stakeholders providing insight into what is potentially out there worth exploring and investing in. A rough program is then constructed based on the responses. Generally, early awards are multi phase with entry and exit points for various research teams as it is usually not a winner takes all.There are also no guaranteed funding profiles as continued funding is dependent on meeting objectives along the way.

More recently, DARPA has evolved its directorships into competencies and spheres. The Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII) for example, is focusing solely on Air Dominance technologies for 2030+ environment and is housed in the Aerospace Projects Office (APO). There is a Hypersonics and DE directorship as well I believe. These directors have influence across DARPA's offices as is applicable to the programs they are working on. Most of these directors have grown up in DARPA and non DARPA S&T PM world (the current APO director for example has PM'd some of the most influential LO/VLO efforts in the last decade+). Most of the funding decisions are made a PM or director level with very little that rolls up to senior leadership. I would say the PM followed by the Director are the two most influential positions at DARPA which is very different to how the other S&T organizations are set up (this is why DARPA is able to attract short term PM talent to come from academia and industry).

https://www.darpa.mil/attachments/DARPA ... -26-16.pdf

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 29 Jun 2019 23:24

Here is an interesting document.

AFWERX/AFRL SBIR Pitch Deck

Opens with:

One of our roles here at AFWERX is to reach out to the small business and entrepreneurial
communities to help them provide the best solutions for the USAF


Open season. They are accepting a proposal from anyone who thinks they had identified a problem (in this case within the USAF) and they have a viable solution. As opposed to the USAF saying we have this problem and are seeking a solution.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jun 2019 02:40

An exhaustive list of hypersonic programs and testing that is lined up at Edwards AFB and the White Sands Missile range over the coming months with both the two Air Breathing scramjet programs, and the 4-5 hypersonic glide vehicle programs..Overall, The Pentagon’s has scheduled 15 hypersonic flight tests by 2021 and 40 by 2023 to support entry into service, rate production decisions and to continue the R&D and S&T work through testing for future weapons.

New Designs Vault Scramjets Into Lead In Hypersonic Race

Raytheon
Raytheon is “very close” to flying a scramjet-powered missile codeveloped with Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and attempting to revive the near-term prospects for a hypersonic technology that once appeared eclipsed by an emerging class of winged gliders boosted by rockets to double-digit Mach speeds.

Attempts to design a supersonic combustion ramjet—also known as a scramjet—have achieved only limited success in experimental flight tests stretching back decades. But the Raytheon/Northrop team’s new approach to an operationally viable missile that relies on a relatively low-risk, all-metallic design and an additively manufactured scramjet engine designed by Northrop (formerly ATK) has inspired confidence based on wind-tunnel tests and simulations.

Schedule details remain classified for the Defense Department’s three-pronged, $10 billion campaign to field multiple hypersonic weapons over the next five years, but Raytheon’s perspective now is that scramjets finally are poised to leap slightly ahead of the winged-glider alternative.

“The air-breathers have now evolved to the point where they’re actually more mature [than boost-glide systems],” says Tom Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems.

It is a remarkable statement by a key player in the Pentagon’s rush to deliver weapons equivalent to or better than Russia’s ground-launched Avangard glider, which is scheduled to become operational later this year. Only seven months ago, Michael Griffin, the architect of the Pentagon’s hypersonic weapon strategy as defense undersecretary for research and engineering, said scramjets had fallen to the back of an impressive queue.

Its rivals in the Pentagon’s internal hypersonic race are two types of boost-glide systems. The most sophisticated are the winged glider programs, such as DARPA’s Tactical Boost-Glide (TBG) program, which is aimed at reducing risk for the Air Force’s Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), also known as the AGM-183A. The relatively less complex alternatives include a cluster of biconic gliders all derived from the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon experiment and include the Air Force’s Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike and the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon.

In some ways, the scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) operates in a more benign environment than the hypersonic gliders, which must reenter and then skip along the top of the atmosphere at speeds that create a superheated plasma field around the vehicle. But scramjets must conquer the challenge of compressing and combusting a supersonic airflow amidst the extreme heat and aerodynamic shocks caused by flying at hypersonic speeds.

“I used to design hypersonic inlets for a living,” Griffin said Dec. 13 at a hypersonics conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association. “We’re not unaware of the difficulties right in front of us for air-breathing systems. Those are further out. Based on the flight testing we have done, boost-glide systems are more a matter of industrial capacity, a matter of making choices.”

As of last December, Bussing might have still agreed with Griffin. Wind-tunnel data and simulations had shown in 2017 that Raytheon’s original design for DARPA’s HAWC could not meet performance expectations. So DARPA selected a competing design for HAWC by Lockheed Martin to move forward into the flight-testing phase.

Raytheon did not give up, however. “We went back and did our full redesign, and let’s just say our performance matches the predictions very, very closely,” says Bussing. “We’re doing another [design iteration] in the wind tunnel just to verify some other attributes of that system. So the maturity of that [iteration] is actually higher.”

DARPA rewarded the Raytheon/Northrop redesign with a $65 million contract in March to advance their concept into flight testing, providing a competitor to Lockheed’s HAWC, which is powered by a scramjet designed by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Scramjet technology in the U.S. has a long history of lofty promises leading to often disappointing or incomplete results. Bussing acknowledges the historical track record but remains confident based on the new results in ground tests.

“My doctoral thesis was in scramjets, so I go way back,” he says. “But I was a skeptic, too, initially, until we actually built and tested them. We made some very careful decisions on the flight regime on how far the cruiser has to operate.”

Top Air Force officials are also encouraged by the progress shown by the HAWC competitors, including Lockheed.

“The HAWC program has come along better than I expected. Scramjet is going to be a nearer-term, not a far-term capability, and I’m delighted to be able to say that publicly,” Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, told Aviation Week at the Paris Air Show.

For the Air Force, the testing schedule still puts the boosted biconic glider, called HCSW, in the lead by about three months over HAWC and ARRW, Roper added. But the rising confidence in the maturity of the HAWC designs has revived prospects to secure funding for scramjet-powered weapons.

“I think boost-glide [weapons] will fulfill one role for very long standoff. Scramjet will provide a low-flying target that can be useful for other things,” Roper said. “It’s important that we make sure there’s a home for both boost-glide and scramjet to move into programs of record if they succeed.”

Although the first flight tests are coming up within months, success and failure will be measured based on the results of multiple launches, rather than any single program. The Pentagon’s schedule calls for staging 15 hypersonic flight tests by 2021 and 40 overall by the end of 2023, Michael White, director of hypersonic programs on Griffin’s staff, said at the Royal Aeronautical Society chapter meeting in Washington on June 13.

“If we fail and they come back and say, ‘We thought this before, but we know this after, and here’s how we’re going to fix it,’ that’s exactly what made the Air Force great early in its history,” Roper said.

The message has resonated down the chain of command. Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, the Air Force’s program executive officer for weapons, describes intense pressure internally on maintaining test schedules, not on achieving a successful test. “We’ll see if we have a spectacular catastrophe . . . . We’ll see how true that is,” Genatempo told Aviation Week on June 20. “But right now today, I don’t feel that pressure. I get much more scrutiny if I have to come back and say I have to slip the flight test a week.”

Raytheon’s revelations at Le Bourget came just a week after the first captive-carry test flight of the DARPA/Air Force Research Laboratory-developed TBG demonstrator, a prototype to the follow-on Lockheed AGM-183A or ARRW.

The test vehicle, which the U.S. Air Force describes as a "sensor-only" version of the ARRW precursor, was carried aloft on a B-52 on June 12 at Edwards AFB, California.

According to an Air Force statement, the flight collected data on drag and vibration impacts on the weapon itself and on the external carriage equipment of the aircraft.

The goal is fly TBG this year and, if not, the latest would be early next year,” says Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Vice President and General Manager Jeff Babione.

“We are making great progress, but this is hard,” he says. “However, they are normal challenges, given the technology and how far we are advancing the state of the art. Both TBG and HAWC are doing well, and as Steve Walker [DARPA director] said, it’s kind of a horse race to see which will fly first. I’m very happy with the progress we are making on them, and I don’t see any significant technical challenges that we can’t overcome.”
Lockheed is working on this project with propulsion system developer Aerojet Rocketdyne. “What they’ve done with the engine is spectacular. It’s an impressive piece of equipment in its simplicity, but also its capability. It’s tough to get to, but we have high confidence it is going to work very well for our customer,” Babione adds.

The June 12 TBG flight was with an instrumented test vehicle. “So we were looking at the environment around the weapon and how it interfaces with the B-52 both from a loads and other aspects point of view. This gives us a better idea of the vibration and noise levels. That program is going very well,” adds Babione, who describes the hypersonic glider element as being roughly 6 ft. long.

Meanwhile, Raytheon continues to develop its version of a winged glider under the TBG program as an alternative to Lockheed’s AGM-183A ARRW. The company’s goal is not to deliver a “me-too” version of the Lockheed design but something even more capable.


“We focused on capabilities that we don’t believe ARRW has,” Bussing says. “So I would look at Raytheon’s TBG solution as maybe the ARRW-2.”


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jun 2019 04:14

New modes and CONOPS for THAAD and PATRIOT in the short-medium term pipeline. LOR/EOR and independent, dispersed launchers to cover a much larger area for THAAD (instead of being co-located to a battery). Additional integration to allow PAC-3 and PAC-3 MSE (and the future interceptor) to be cued in by the much larger THAAD radar, and the pairing of the PAC-3 MSE and Patriot launcher to the TPY-2 radar to provide additional layer of point defense most probably against glider type vehicles where the 12-16 missile/launcher capacity of the PAC-3 will be cruical in setting the right shot doctrine strategy for a layered threat.

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The new data-link is already operational with the PAC-3 MSE and I guess it would be back-fitted to the PAC-3 missile if they decide to also integrate it with THAAD to get 4 additional missiles/launchers (but I doubt since PAC-3 production now appears to have ended).

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 30 Jun 2019 21:12

From Dec 2018, an hour long


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 30 Jun 2019 21:26

Formerly known as the GOLauncher 1, the X-60A is an affordable air-dropped single-stage rocket powered test platform. The X-60A’s LOX/kerosene liquid propulsion system maximizes performance and mission flexibility compared to traditional solid booster solutions. A small delta wing increases the overall maneuverability of the platform. The X-60A is an expendable research platform with an onboard flight telemetry system for research data capture.

The X-60A vehicle will be capable of flying several flight profiles of interest to the high-speed flight test community. In dash mode, the X-60A will be capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 5 - 8 with a test payload attached. The vehicle will also be capable of flying alternate test profiles depending on research requirements. The program’s goal is to develop and operate a low-cost platform that provides regular access the hypersonic flight conditions. The X-60A is not a space launch platform and cannot deliver payloads to orbit.

The X-60A vehicle is being developed by Generation Orbit under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Aerospace Systems Directorate, High Speed Systems Division. In addition, GO’s team is supported by key partnerships at NASA Armstrong, NASA Langley, FAA/AST, SpaceWorks Flight, Ursa Major Technologies, Cecil Spaceport, Quartus Engineering, and other leading flight research organizations across the United States. GO’s X-60A is the first Air Force Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to receive an experimental “X” designation.







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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 02 Jul 2019 10:12

US Navy eyes new launchers on destroyers for hypersonic weapons


“Vertical launch system has been a real game changer for us. We can shoot any number of things out of those launchers,” Moore said. “We’ll probably change those out and upgrade them for prompt strike weapons down the road.”..

“They’re looking at putting hypersonics on submarines first because where you can get access,” Callender said. “You can potentially then put them on surface ships as an added capability for them, but the submarines would be the priority for access and the ranges you can achieve.”

The Navy is designing a new large surface combatant to replace the cruisers and ultimately the destroyers with larger missiles in mind. As a result, the ship may be fairly large, former Surface Warfare Director Rear Adm. Ron Boxall told Defense News last year.

The benefit of larger vertical launch cells is that you can pack more missiles into each cell, if you are not using the cell for the larger hypersonic missiles, Boxall said.

“We are going to need, we expect, space for longer-range missiles,” he said. They are going to be bigger. So the idea that you could make a bigger cell, even if you don’t use it for one big missile, you could use it for multiple missiles — quad-pack, eight-pack, whatever.”

The missiles that would go into a larger launcher are still very much under development.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 03 Jul 2019 07:18

An hour-long, humourous, history lesson


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2019 19:03

First airborne high frequency dual band (X and Ku) GaN AESA in the world to have flown (2017)-




Compared to the S-band SPY-6, Northrop offers the first version of Vanguard with dual-band capability, Pearson says. The Vanguard can track distant targets through weather in X-band, or switch to Ku-band to acquire a higher-resolution image at shorter ranges.
In April 2017, Northrop completed Vanguard’s first flight test. Following the experiment, the company released a statement but did not divulge the sensor’s name.

Northrop launched development of the Vanguard to support multiple applications, but offered it first for the U.S. Air Force’s canceled plan to recapitalize the Northrop E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-Stars). Air Force officials initially planned to replace the Boeing 707-based E-8C fleet with a business jet-derived platform, featuring a new battle management command and control (BMC2) suite in the cabin and a wide area surveillance (WAS) radar with SAR and GMTI modes in a belly radome.

Ultimately, the Air Force determined that a business jet platform would be too vulnerable to perform the J-Stars mission as battlefield threats emerged after 2020. Some in Congress opposed the service’s decision, but later dropped legislation that would have prevented a fleet-wide retirement of the E-8C by 2025.

Instead, the Air Force plans to develop a new airborne battle management system to replace the E-8C’s BMC2 function and distribute the WAS component across multiple airborne platforms.

The Air Force selected Northrop’s Vanguard radar as the sensor for the canceled J-Stars recapitalization program, but awarded a technology risk-reduction and maturation contract for the sensor separately from the platform. The U.S. Government Accountability Office dismissed a series of protests filed by Raytheon over the Vanguard selection last year. Raytheon had offered the Air Force a new radar called Archimedes, which is derived from the Advanced Active Sensor (AAS) developed for the U.S. Navy’s Boeing P-8A fleet.

As the Air Force’s strategy for the future of the SAR/GMTI mission unfolds, Northrop’s Vanguard gives the company wide flexibility in approaching the market. The Vanguard can be offered as a single radar assembly that can be carried by a platform as small as a medium-sized unmanned air vehicle. It also can combine more than a dozen radar assemblies into a radar with the length of the E-8C’s APY-7 radar, except such a Vanguard system could perform several functions—including SAR/GMTI, ESM and communications—simultaneously.

“We’re looking at a number of different opportunities for the [Vanguard, including] surface based, land based, sea based,” Pearson says. “By having a standardized implementation of these things it reduces the amount of cost and time.”


https://aviationweek.com/awindefense/no ... ance-radar

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 09 Jul 2019 20:36

This was the Excalibur Increment III (internally known as Excalibur HTK) that I had brought up in the Artillery thread. It is quite likely to be picked for the C-DAEM Increment I requirement in a years time. The first iteration of the C-DAEM will likely have precission targeting capability against moving and relocatable armored targets out to about 70 km but the ultimate goal is (objective requirements) is around 120 km so that will most likely require packaging the tech in a new round or a new round alltogether (Boeing and Nammo are working on a ramjet artillery round) That capability is desired (CDAEM-Increment II) against soft targets. Both Increment I and II are required to perform in a GPS degraded or denied environment.

US Army asks Congress to shift dollars to cover long-range cannon munition demo


The reprogrammed funding will allow the Cannon-Delivered Area Effects Munitions (C-DAEM) program to move into a competitive demonstration phase in FY20, according to Army budget justification documents.

The C-DAEM effort upgrades the Excalibur airframe with an armored target seeker and will be able to defeat “moving and imprecisely located armored targets at long ranges” and will be fully compatible with the Army’s howitzers as well as ERCA and the M777 Extended-Range version, the reprogramming document notes.


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 10 Jul 2019 09:38

Indranil wrote:
*AFAIK, the PGKs came much after the Excalibur and ate significantly into its market. Am I wrong there?


Excalibur 1b was a response to the US Army's need to field a new Precision Guided artillery projectile capable of extended ranges and that could grow to cover missions the current artillery rounds could not perform even with kits. Orbital ATK (which makes PGK) offered its own design for that role (Saber) but Raytheon eventually won that contract and developed the round we currently see as the production standard which has a number of changes from the previous increment. Below is a picture of the 1a and 1b side by side. 1b source selection (Raytheon) happened in this decade (years after ATK was awarded the SDD contract to go ahead and put the PGK into service) with the 1a being something that was rushed into production to meet wartime needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The need to make the existing "dumb artillery shells" smart utilizing the PGK is a separate need and program. They exist and have always been planned to co-exist. The PGK will never have the accuracy, jam-resistance or the target set of the Excalibur and its future iterations (or new shell to replace that role) and likewise, the Excalibur would never match the PGK's simplicity and cost.

I think the confusion stems from the block 1A and block 1B distinctions. These aren't just mere incremental upgrades. Think of 1A as a science and technology initiative that went from the labs straight into the battlefield without going through the development and requirements scrub or allowing for key technology that would have enabled to make it affordable (GPS antennas that could operate with very high spin rates for example) to catch up. The capability and cost was deemed acceptable given an urgent operational need. Even a pre block 1A variant (block 1) was fielded a year or so before 1A hit the production line.

Increment 1B on the other hand is essentially a full fledged program-of-record that took technology from the labs and engineered it for mass production with all the requirement, and technology development scrub that a formal SDD program brings in. It was considered deviating enough from the 1A that the US Army deemed it viable to compete as well with Raytheon ultimately hanging on after demonstrating a more mature 1B munition that was more mature than the Saber and that had solved some of the reliability, and affordability concerns of the previous gen Bofors designed round (many bofors elements were re-designed by Raytheon for 1B). Increment 1B requirements were finalized and contract for its SDD awarded to Raytheon 3-4 years after ATK had been put on contract for the PGK's SDD program. About 4-5K 1A or pre 1A rounds were produced (I believe the designation was 1, 1A and 1A2) before full rate production of the 1B started around 2014 with a program of record of around 7-10K + and growing. Currently, more than 16K Excalibur rounds have been delivered or put on contract through the Fiscal-Year 19 US defense budget. If (and it is quite likely) the Excalibur wins the C-DAEM Increment-1 program, it can expect another 5-10K production orders from the US Army with more to come if it also wins increment 2. The strategy is very much to have an inventory of both, but much like the JDAM and JSOW examples cited earlier they serve a different role. Their inventory numbers and procurement rates likewise are also dictated by those target sets. You could well end up with 25-30 K rounds produced over the program life which is a small number in the Artillery world but a fairly decent number in the PGM world.

Image

Another reason why the Excalibur is alive and doing very well is because it is the only low cost, low risk path to the CDAEM Increment 1 threshold and objective requirements. They've managed to hit a unit cost of $65K (2018 production batch award) with sub 2500 annual production rate so a higher rate and some additional changes for affordability can probably get them to a sub $50K cost if quantity buys are increased in the future.

Other potential solutions will likely require significant technology development or production set up.

Image


As things stand, an upgraded block 1B Excalibur with the new multi-effects warhead and a RF seeker can quite easily enter in at the lower end of the CDAEM-Increment 1 requirements with its 60-70 km maximum range (62.5 km demonstrated with 70 km planned) when fired from the ERCA. They can then develop a replacement to get to that ultimate 100-120 km range goal against armored targets. The only thing that needs to be flight demonstrated is the new RF seeker which they could demo as early as late 2019 or 2020 if they chose to go down that path (though the US Army prefers a LWIR seeker for cost reasons).

Long-term, the US Army is developing the XM1155 extended range projectile (powered), which will have an objective requirement of 120+km. Technology demonstration flights are expected to begin in 2021 but it is also quite possible that ultimately they decide to take the lower risk approach and attempt to modify the Excalibur to get to most of those requirements. This is the program that Boeing-Nammo are vying for with their ramjet artillery shell proposal...
Last edited by ramana on 12 Jul 2019 06:38, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added highlights ramana

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Jul 2019 21:55

AFRL to Test Skyborg Autonomy Algorithms This Summer



The Air Force’s unmanned Skyborg project will get its first flight test this summer, putting autonomous flight controls to work on a “small, but representative, high-speed surrogate aircraft.” The ultimate goal is to create a combat-ready, autonomous aircraft comparable to a fighter jet by the end of 2023.

Skyborg is envisioned as a robotic wingman for other pilots, using artificial intelligence to fly and control the aircraft and managing some combat mission tasks itself. After initial test flights, Skyborg will scale up to larger test platforms that are closer to the final airframe, according to Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Cara Bousie.

Bousie declined to specify when this summer’s testing will occur at Edwards AFB, Calif., but said it is part of a two-year experimentation campaign designed to see how advanced autonomy performs in a controlled setting. The tests get at a key question at the heart of AI and autonomy research: How can the military ensure the smart systems it develops are “thinking” correctly?

Upcoming flights will focus on how Air Force Research Laboratory-built software can test that an autonomous system is proposing reasonable next steps. The flights will also look at how to correct the system with a better solution if it misses its mark. Just as a human pilot tells their plane what to do in combat, the algorithms will suggest how the Skyborg aircraft can proceed.

“The autonomy algorithms can be viewed separately from the vehicle system, similar to how a pilot is viewed separately from the aircraft,” Bousie said.

Installing more advanced autonomy is the experimentation campaign’s next step to declaring Skyborg ready for operations. Its development can also spill over into other research areas, like a special AFRL AI team known as ACT3 that is working on air-to-air combat algorithms for existing fighter jets.

“The ACT3 effort aims to develop an artificial-intelligence capability to execute air-to-air tactics,” Bousie said. “In this way, ACT3 and Skyborg are complementary, but separate efforts. The Skyborg project plans to leverage the work from ACT3 and other applicable technologies” that have been judged useful to the military and are mature enough to be operational in the next few years.

ACT3 is still deciding what hardware and software it needs to launch full-scale development for its fighter project. The Air Force is working on other “wingman” initiatives like Kratos’ XQ-58A Valkyrie.

“When I was in [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], I thought there was a powerful role to give a high-end fighter a wingman that you could take risk with, that you could attrit, that would not necessarily have to return and land,” Air Force Acquisition Executive Will Roper told lawmakers in May.

The question of how exactly the Air Force will use airframes that can pair with other jets, crunch data themselves, potentially select targets, and more—and what role humans will play in that world—is still under consideration. Even if the AI is programmed to “think” within certain guidelines, there is more work to do for humans to trust these sidekicks. Skyborg is helping drive those discussions, Bousie said.

One main effort is bringing together experts from across the defense community to ensure these development initiatives are following current policy guidelines, while also considering what language might need to change to fully take advantage of AI and technology that helps machines learn from their experiences, she said.

A 2012 Defense Department directive dictates that warfighters must be able to “exercise appropriate levels of human judgment” over autonomous and semi-autonomous weapon systems, though there are still many unknowns about what the military may deem “appropriate” and in what contexts.

“Incorporating collaborative, teamed, autonomous aircraft into the Air Force will require a myriad of policy and regulation changes, similar to the challenges private industry is attempting to overcome with autonomous vehicles,” Bousie said. “Some of these challenges include airspace integration, supervision, collaborative communication, cybersecurity, resiliency, mission planning, accountability, and many others. While Skyborg is not attempting to solve all of these challenges, the project provides a catalyst for the necessary changes to occur.”

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 13 Jul 2019 22:08


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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 17 Jul 2019 20:48

US Air Force Is Building First B-21 Stealth Bomber


The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has kicked off construction of the first B-21 “Raider” long-range strategic bomber, according to a July 9 report by Warrior Maven citing senior USAF officer.

“We’re closely monitoring the build of the additional test aircraft and associated software to support the first flight, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, who spoke at an event at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in June, was quoted as saying by the website.

The B-21 program has reportedly entered into its Engineering Manufacturing and Design phase earlier this year, which entails developing and designing the bomber, including completing full system integration, before going into production. According to a separate report of the general’s remarks published by U.S. Strategic Command, Goldfein said that the B-21 program is on schedule and the bomber is slated to enter service in the mid-2020s. The first B-21 is expected to take flight in 2021. Most details of the program remain top-secret including the actual size of the aircraft......

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby SaiK » 21 Jul 2019 04:51

Image

US Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Could Put the F-35 in a Museum
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... seum-67782

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 21 Jul 2019 05:41

Such a lengthy read when a simply a few sentences would have sufficed -

" The US Navy is currently in the Material Solution phase of its Next Gen. Fighter program with a mandatory Analysis-Of-Alternatives that is looking into competing alternatives against an established capability shortfall identified at a given time in the future. Once the AOA is complete (later in 2019) a specific path for the program will be recommended".

But when has the truth ever stopped NI from dumping a few thousand words into the interweb with a click-bait title to lure folks in.....

----

The US Navy is currently looking at how to a future capability and mission gap that is created with the retiring of the F/A-18E/F's and EA-18G's beginning in the next decade and going well into the mid-2030's. Competing ideas, both in terms of alternatives to meeting the mission need and even scrapping certain missions altogether will be looked at before a particular one is chosen. It won't be till mid-late 2020 that a clear path to the US Navy's next generation fighter is developed so we don't even know whether it will be a fighter at all. Developing a naval fighter and putting it on deck is much more complicated than developing one for the USAF. The First F-35C carrier deployment is scheduled for late 2020. The same for the MQ-25 is expected for 2025. There will likely be iterative variants of the MQ-25 that show up every 3-4 years so its not like the US Navy has nothing on its plate. In fact, it has a lot including the block III Super Hornet (new built and upgrades) and the advanced Growler with the two increments of the NGJ coming online starting 2021.

The USAF is much farther along and has spent a significant amount (with a lot more in the future year plans) on experimentation, prototyping and in placing technology bets. But there too, it is likely to consider off-loading certain capabilities to B-21 and F-35 derivatives before fully getting behind a clean sheet design. Next generation will be much more about networks, AI (true AI and not mere automation of tasks ) space, cyber-electronic warfare, unmanned enablers and weapons and DE solutions for all platforms (past and present) than about like for like replacement of outgoing fighters (like F-22 did with focus on replacing F-15, or F-35 did with the focus on replacing F-16 and F/A-18). Billions would have to be spent to develop, mature (and in some cases invent) those capabilities which will take a lot of resources and time. They only started on these around 2014/2015.

Receiving close to 100 5th gen. fighters a years as strategic competitors struggle to put their designs into rate production also buys you time to experiment and de-risk technology. This isn't like the past with the Eagle and Flanker going neck and neck. It likely won't be till well into the 2030's that the number of in-service Su-57's matches the F-22A's leave aside anything that will match the F-35 numerical advantage. The Chinese are likely to produce more aircraft but there the problem isn't their fighters but their long range missiles so direct comparison is not as relevant.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 24 Jul 2019 23:35

brar_w wrote:
Assuming 2025 as "Mid 2020s", this means first flight should occur around 2022 timeframe with a 5 year Dev. test timeframe. The first 2-3 aircraft will be at Edwards to support test and LRIP-1 will likely be 1 or 2 aircraft. Northrops production contract awarded alongside the R&D contract covered 21 aircraft over 5 LRIP lots so LoT 3 will likely head to operational base by mid 2020s.

My best guess since only the contract value and amounts were announced and not schedules -

LOT 1 - 1 aircraft
LOT 2 - 2 aircraft
LOT 3 onwards - 6 aircraft

Or 1 aircraft in LOT-1 and 5 from Lot 2 onwards.


I wasn’t much off on the First Flight - it is currently tracking for late 2021...

The U.S. Air Force's new B-21 Raider stealth bomber, which Northrop Grumman has been developing in extreme secrecy, is set to make its first flight on or about Dec. 3, 2021. The service had already previously revealed that the bombers would undergo their initial testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California and that it will base the first operational examples at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota in the mid-2020s...


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... -late-2021

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby NRao » 25 Jul 2019 04:27

July 17 2019 :: Pentagon releases digital plan to emphasize Cloud adoption, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity

Pentagon officials vowed to improve oversight of their IT investments as part of a multi-year push to upgrade the Defense Department’s trusted computing technology for the 21st century. Nextgov reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

17 July 2019 -- Pentagon officials on Friday released their Digital Modernization Strategy on how they plan to spend their roughly $46 billion annual IT budget over the next five years.

Cloud adoption, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity will all factor in heavily to the department’s technological future, according to the strategy, but those capabilities won’t be possible unless officials do a better job coordinating their efforts.

In January, Congress passed a law giving the Pentagon’s chief information officer more authority over military IT budget requests and spending plans, and officials said the new measures will enable continual, comprehensive department-wide IT modernization in a common, coordinated way.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 25 Jul 2019 09:55

DARPA's MADFIRES concept video -



Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES) aims to advance the state-of-the-art in defensive gun systems by creating a new, low-cost technological foundation for guided, gun-launched projectiles. Specifically, MAD-FIRES aims to incorporate enhanced ammunition rounds able to alter their flight path in real time to stay on target, and a capacity to continuously target, track and engage multiple fast-approaching targets simultaneously and re-engage any targets that survive initial engagement.

Envisioned benefits of MAD-FIRES for future systems include:

Improved real-time defense against evolving air and surface combat threats, facilitated by:
Extreme precision
An ability to defend against greater numbers of simultaneous and diverse attacks
Decreased per-engagement costs by a factor of 10 or more
Potential future applicability to air and ground platforms


Raytheon just wrapped up first phase testing of the round -

The MAD-FIRES programme is designed to improve ship survivability in high-threat environments, and aims to mature technologies associated with a 30–57 mm guided projectile combining the precision and accuracy of guided missiles with the speed, rapid fire, and depth of a gun weapon system.
The interceptor is being developed to rapidly and accurately engage multiple waves of anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other threats.
Speaking to Jane’s at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space exposition, John Beaver, Advanced Naval Programmes, Raytheon, said the projectile “performed exactly as we hoped it would” during the recent rocket motor test. "When you combine the advanced electronics and the integration of a successful airframe – just making it fly is pretty amazing. And we’ve successfully done that. We demonstrated that our electronics package is viable,” he said. “What the round does is combine advanced electronics and high speed to be able to achieve a performance against today’s and tomorrow’s air threats.” ~ Via Jane's


Image

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Manish_P » 26 Jul 2019 08:14

Some weapons look plain evil.

That there is one of them

Maybe it's just the nakedness of it. All metal, like a razor

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Jul 2019 19:15

Good work by Steve Trimble but I think they are jumping the gun on the classification levels. Not present in a budget as a separate line item, or not spoken about does not equate to a weapon or program being classified. The USAF only acknowledged the AIM-260 a month or so ago, but prior to that it was not classified. They even had a range space requirement chart for it which was published and open source for at least a year. They just kept the competition as classified but the designation and the program was just not spoken about (though if you knew the designation you could dig up some stuff)...

My guess is that the HACM is just an off-shoot of the scramjet cruise missile systems that Lockheed and Raytheon are getting ready to begin flight testing. It was a joint USAF-DARPA effort so they have partnered on those vehicles from the very begining so they are not going to formally transition the capability like it happens on programs exclusively worked on by DARPA. Here DARPA will simply zero out its funding beyond demonstration of a certain level of maturity and the USAF will up its and provide it a formal designation and program line item allowing it to move it into a production program.


Clues Emerge In Search For Pentagon’s Classified Hypersonic Programs


Beyond seven acknowledged projects aimed at developing long-range, maneuvering missiles with a top speed over Mach 5, the U.S. Defense Department is working in classified secrecy on at least two more hypersonic weapon programs, industry officials say.

The mystery of the classified projects—including such details as their development or operational status and any gaps each fills in the Pentagon’s unfolding hypersonic weapons architecture—remains unsolved. But a new clue embedded in the LinkedIn profile of a senior Defense Department hypersonic weapons expert may point to the answers.

Seven U.S. hypersonic projects cover air-, land- and sea-based weapons

Pentagon expert’s online profile points to existence of two more programs

Greg Sullivan, a well-regarded expert in the high-speed flight community, describes himself on the professional social media platform as an on-site supporter of air-breathing hypersonic weapons to the department’s research and engineering arm.

Sullivan’s profile also cites his knowledge of “additional hypersonic programs,” which include a nearly comprehensive list of the Pentagon’s acknowledged projects. Intriguingly, his original list also included two additional acronyms representing hypersonic programs: “HACM” and “HCCW.” Shortly after Aviation Week inquired to the Air Force Public Affairs office for details about HACM and HCCW, both acronyms were deleted from the LinkedIn page.

The Air Force does not acknowledge the existence of any program named HACM or HCCW, and no reference to either acronym appears in the military’s public documents, such as budget materials and press releases.

Two sources say they have heard vague references to the existence of a hypersonic program called HACM, but had no details, including what the acronym means. The HCCW program was not known to any sources or analysts contacted by Aviation Week.

The expert hypersonic community is an unusually tight-knit group, reflecting the technology’s mostly experimental status for decades, until its recent rise as one of the Pentagon’s top acquisition priorities. The existence of two new acronyms has prompted several speculative guesses.

Richard Hallion, a former Air Force chief historian who specializes in the history of hypersonic technology, noted that the acronym HACM could be interpreted broadly to cover almost any type of hypersonic weapon, including scramjet-powered cruise missiles or air-launched boost-glide systems.

“Well, the H is obviously [for] hypersonic,” says Hallion. “The rest suggests a mix of ‘A’ for ‘Advanced’ or ‘Air-Breathing’ or ‘Air-Launched.’ ‘C’ for ‘Conventional’ or ‘Capability’ or ‘Concept,’ [and] ‘M’ for ‘Missile.’”

The meaning of the HCCW acronym proves even more elusive. For Justin Bronk, a research fellow specializing in airpower at the Royal United Services Institute, one speculative interpretation conforms to his analytical view of a gap in the U.S. military’s weapons arsenal. If the acronym stands for “Hypersonic Counter-Cruise Weapon,” Bronk says, HCCW could be a valuable interceptor specifically tailored against high-speed, air-breathing cruise missiles.

Although the exact role and status of HACM and HCCW are unknown, industry officials have repeatedly said that at least two additional classified programs exist beyond the Defense Department’s seven acknowledged programs. The public list leaves little room for gaps to be filled by new weapons, as they already span air-, land- and sea-launched options and include two different types of boost-glide systems—winged and biconic—and a scramjet-powered cruise missile.

The plethora of planned hypersonic options are intended to serve tactical and strategic goals. On the tactical level, the Pentagon’s war planners will gain a new option for striking mobile missile launchers and countering long-range attacks on the Navy’s surface fleet by an adversary with hypersonic anti-ship missiles. The future U.S. inventory of hypersonic missiles also is intended to serve as a deterrent option short of a nuclear response, as adversaries such as China and Russia stock their arsenals with a range of new hypersonic weapons.

The Air Force alone accounts for two of the acknowledged hypersonic weapon programs: a boost-glide system with a winged glide vehicle called the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). Another called the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) relies on a less-risky biconic glide vehicle.

The ARRW, also known as the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A, is based on the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program, a risk-reduction effort funded by DARPA. The same winged glide vehicle also is being adapted for ground launch under DARPA’s Operational Fires (OpFires) program. Raytheon says it is developing a more advanced winged glider under the TBG program, which could be fielded as a second-generation version of ARRW.

HCSW, meanwhile, is the air-launched version of a biconic-shaped glider originally designed by Sandia National Laboratories. The Navy and Army are adapting the same original design for the sea-launched Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) system and the Army’s ground-launched Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW).

Finally, Raytheon and Lockheed are each designing different scramjet-powered missiles under DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program. Weaponized versions of HAWC are under study by the Air Force and Navy for air and sea launch. One possible gap in the weapons portfolio is the apparent lack of an operational follow-on program for HAWC, even though Air Force officials say the program is slightly ahead of DARPA’s TBG program. The TBG demonstrator is intended to reduce risk for the operational ARRW system, but no such operational follow-on exists publicly for HAWC.

Tom Bussing, vice president of advanced missile systems for Raytheon, acknowledged two hypersonic programs exist that he cannot speak about.

“There are probably six different types of hypersonic programs that we have,” Bussing said in a recent interview. “Some are classified, so I can’t speak [about] them because we are not at liberty to announce them.” But he named Raytheon’s role in four hypersonic programs: TBG, HAWC, CPS and LRHW.

DARPA has announced Raytheon’s involvement as one of two weapon designers for TBG and HAWC, but neither the Navy nor the Army has explained Raytheon’s role in CPS and LRHW. The Air Force has announced that Lockheed is the weapon system integrator for the HCSW variant, but no such role has been announced for the Army and Navy versions of the common glide vehicle. So far, Bussing can only acknowledge that Sandia remains the designer of the biconic glider for HCSW, CPS and LRHW.

“That technology has been transitioned over to the CPS program and also to the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program,” Bussing said. “So we’re involved in both, and we’re working directly with Sandia.”

The Defense Department has inserted $10.5 billion into a five-year budget plan released in March to develop and field the long list of offensive and defensive hypersonic weapon systems. But a detailed check of the budgets for unclassified programs reveals a significant surplus, which could be used to fund classified projects.

The combined budget accounts for ARRW, HCSW, CPS and LRHW amount to $7.7 billion over the next five years. The Missile Defense Agency’s $700 million planned investment in counter-hypersonics raises the five-year spending total to $8.36 billion. DARPA does not release a five-year budget, but proposed to spend $222 million in fiscal 2020 on TBG, HAWC and OpFires. That still leaves an unexplained gap of about $2.5 billion in planned spending by the Defense Department on hypersonic weapons over the next five years.



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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby UlanBatori » 26 Jul 2019 20:07

Seriously, someone who puts Classified acronyms on Linked-In is either terminally stupid - or doing it for disinformation. If the former, his badge is probably cancelled. I am betting its the latter.

UBCN announces official first release of info on the AQTR System (Advanced Quantum Teleportation Retreat System) on which we happen to be experts. Funding levels are Highly Classified, sorry.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 26 Jul 2019 20:15

The problem with that is that programs that are not in the public budgets as line items or aren't discussed otherwise need not always be classified though if they are then yes this is a problem. The example I cited about the AIM-260 fits that perfectly. A program that was started in secret, competition occurred in secret and a vendor was chosen in 2017 also in secret. However, sometime between then and mid 2018, they program was officially de-classified but no one had any knowledge of it (in the public/media world) until the USAF officially discussed it a month or so ago. The designation, and even the airspace and range-space requirement for its testing were all public information as far back as mid 2018 but no one was able to connect the dots until they used the USAF disclosure and traced it to prior year USAF released documents and charts.

There is a big difference in designation here so I wouldn't jump to any conclusions as Aviation Week has based on just a linkedin profile. The track record of the publication when guesstimating classified programs is fairly sketchy.

For all we know these could be nothing more than USAF designations of systems already acknowledged or funded under a DARPA budget like the HAWC which is a known program and which is 50% funded by the USAF with eventual plans to move it into production. HAWC doe snot yet have a publicly revealed Air Force designation but that does not mean that the USAF has not been working since 2015 (when it was launched) as a 50:50 partner with DARPA on it with eventual plans to move it out of S&T into production and operational use. It also does not necessarily mean that it is classified as the DARPA program has been in the open since 2015 and many top USAF officials have spoken about it over that time-frame as well. They have a designation for the other DARPA hypersonic program -Tactical Boost Glide which is known as Advanced Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) in the USAF and is essentially the TBG's glider with a new USAF specified booster. For all we know the HACM could just be the same for the HAWC..

That classified hypersonic funding stream exists is not a surprise or new information. Both Lockheed and Raytheon have openly discussed classified contracts in their earning calls going back at least 3 years. As recently as this week Lockheed acknowledged a $1 Billion enhancements to their hypersonic R&D portfolio (from previous disclosures) without attributing it to a specific known program of record. But that also does not mean that it is tied to any of the programs listed on that linkedin profile.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby VinodTK » 27 Jul 2019 00:22

From: The National Intrest Can the Unstealthy F/A-18 Take on China's J-20 and Russia's Su-57?
Lockheed Martin said that $100 million will be spent “developing advanced software, performing hardware upgrades and delivering prototypes.”

As we have recently reported Lockheed Martin has secured two contracts from Boeing to upgrade its IRST21 sensor system for use on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet.

As reported by The National Interest, the new upgraded long-wave infrared search and track (IRST) system will give the Super Hornet the ability to detect and track new adversary stealth aircraft such as the Chinese Chengdu J-20 or the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 at extended ranges. Furthermore with the IRST21 a typical U.S. Navy carrier air wing (CVW) will have a sensor that cannot be disrupted by increasingly capable enemy electronic warfare systems.

“The U.S. Navy’s strategic block upgrade program enables us to continue advancing our technology and rapidly deliver it to the warfighter,” Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control/Special Operations Forces Contractor Logistics Support Services at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said. “We are excited to implement the Block II (contracts) upgrades and enhance IRST21’s performance.”

Lockheed Martin said that $100 million will be spent “developing advanced software, performing hardware upgrades and delivering prototypes.”

“These efforts will further enhance IRST21’s proven detection, tracking and ranging capabilities in radar-denied environments,” the company said in a statement. “Compared to radar, IRST21 significantly enhances the resolution of multiple targets, enabling pilots to accurately identify threat formations at longer ranges. This ‘see first, strike first’ capability empowers pilots with greater reaction time, improving survivability.”

Noteworthy Boeing is currently developing the upgraded Block III Super Hornet and the ability to engage stealthy airborne targets is one of the selling points of the new aircraft and should keep the Super Hornet relevant into the 2040s.

“That IRST sensor is a key capability Super Hornet brings to the carrier air wing that nobody else has,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager told The National Interest. “It is a counter-air, counter-stealth targeting capability.”

As we have already explained this IRST21 upgrade is just one of the several improvements the U.S. Navy has planned for its Super Hornet fleet. In April the service has awarded to General Electric (GE)a $114.8 million contract aimed to install new engines on its F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

The new engine could be the so called General Electric’s enhanced performance engine (EPE), that would increase the F414-GE-400’s power output from 22,000 lbs to 26,400 lbs. EPE development commenced in 2009 and features several improvements over the standard F414-GE-400, including greater resistance to foreign object damage, reduced fuel burn rate, and potentially increased thrust of up to 20%.

However unlike Boeing’s previous Advanced Super Hornet concept that was revealed in 2013, the new Block III aircraft is a more modest proposition that is designed to support the rest of the air wing including the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and the EA-18G Growler under the service Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air construct (NIFC-CA).

Nevertheless the Block III takes the existing upgrade path for the Super Hornet—including biennial hardware and software upgrades—and expands upon those. Indeed, some of the existing planned upgrades to the jet’s powerful Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Block IV suite and the Lockheed Martin AN/ASG-34 Infrared Search and Track pod—the IRST21 sensor—are part of the Block III package.

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 27 Jul 2019 02:22

The Offensive Counter Air Mission is owned by the USAF ( USN divested itself of it post SU collapse) so the Super Hornet is not primarily meant to assure air superiority over the skies infested with J-20s and SU-57s. That is the job for the F-22As, F-35s and F-15s. The super hornet is a multi role strike aircraft that, in the a2a role, has to cover the defensive mission against attacks on a carrier or other naval vessels where it is just one spoke in a highly netted and capable wheel that ranges from surface and air based platforms, long range surveillance, F-35C , weapons and electronic attack options. Its primary role is to strike targets and project power from a carrier and do so in a sustained fashion ( something cruise missiles cannot)

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby Ravi Karumanchiri » 29 Jul 2019 22:26

PBS 'After Words' (book review TV interview) with Richard Clarke, re: his new book "The Fifth Domain" (of warfare, i.e. cyberspace). Takeaway: US weapons systems are "easily hackable" and weren't kept updated from a defensive standpoint, because the focus of "Cyber Command" has been offensive but inadequately defensive. Offensive success has lead to hubris that is unjustified, given defensive weaknesses.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?462232-1/ ... ard-clarke

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Re: US military, technology, arms, tactics

Postby brar_w » 29 Jul 2019 23:01

It is not the “job” (or it shouldn’t be) of Cyber Command to harden existing or legacy weapons. Its focus should be strategic from both an offensive and defensive perspective. It will be cost-prohibitive to adequately (to the same standard that new programs are held) cyber-harden legacy or even some existing weapons (difference being that legacy are on their way out while existing weapons are older gen. but currently do not have replacement in the works). Part of the awareness of lack of cyber-hardening (or rather adequate cyber hardening) comes from increased visibility and ever going standards. Once you shed more light on something it appears that the problem or scope is larger than originally envisioned which gives an appearance of a growing problem (but all you’re doing is getting to the actual scope of work on hand). The much used and standardized NSA standards for cyber hardening for example, are modified a minimum of 3-4 times during the development phase of a large acquisition program. The DOT&E on the other hand uses the NSA standards as only the starting point and invests in its own red-teaming efforts to test cyber hardening. When that is the case (as is the nature of this work) you will always be up against a moving goal post and as such the only worthwhile track is to include cyber hardening within a trade-space like other traditional KPP’s like speed, lethality, survivability, reliability etc. etc. etc. for different combat weapons. This approach will allow investment to flow in based on what the end user is willing to pay for.

Similarly, at a strategic level cyber-hardening investment would have to be balanced with the offensive ability aimed at degrading your adversaries offensive cyber capability to inflict cyber harm on your weapons. The previous DARPA chief used to refer to that as “Cyber Escort” missions. In other words, Cyber and Electronic Warfare are destined to merge operationally (CEW is already highly integrated on the technology development side) and that is how you get on the “right side” of that cost curve.


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