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[*] posted on 16-11-2018 at 10:26 PM


U.S. innovative propulsion solutions for ground-based weapons delivery system

POSTED ON FRIDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2018 09:33

The joint DARPA/U.S. Army Operational Fires (OpFires) program will soon kick off with three performers awarded contracts to begin work: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation. OpFires aims to develop and demonstrate a novel ground-launched system enabling hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical time sensitive targets.


Artist's concept of Operational Fires (Illustration source: DARPA)

OpFires seeks to develop innovative propulsion solutions that will enable a mobile, ground-launched tactical weapons delivery system capable of carrying a variety of payloads to a variety of ranges. Phase 1 of the program will be a 12-month effort focused on early development and demonstration of booster solutions that provide variable thrust propulsion across robust operational parameters in large tactical missiles. “OpFires represents a critical capability development in support of the Army’s investments in long-range precision fires,” says DARPA’s OpFires program manager, Maj. Amber Walker (U.S. Army). “These awards are the first step in the process to deliver this capability in support of U.S. overmatch.”

The OpFires program will conduct a series of subsystem tests designed to evaluate component design and system compatibility for future tactical operating environments. Phase 2 will mature designs and demonstrate performance with hot/static fire tests targeted for late 2020. Phase 3, which will focus on weapon system integration, will culminate in integrated end-to-end flight tests in 2022.
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[*] posted on 15-12-2018 at 02:38 PM


Counter hypersonic weapon possible by mid-2020s: DoD

14 DECEMBER, 2018 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: GARRETT REIM LOS ANGELES

The USA could have a counter hypersonic weapon developed by the mid-2020s.

However, creating a workable defense against hypersonic vehicles and missiles would require developing longer range radars and new space-based sensors to track and target an adversary’s weapons soon after they are launched, said Michael Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, at a National Defense Industrial Association event on 13 December, according to a transcript and press release from the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense believes that the stage to knock out hypersonic weapons is during their relatively long cruise phase, in which they don’t change course abruptly. Hypersonic missiles during that stage are not particularly hard to intercept, but it would require an advanced warning, says Griffin.

Unfortunately, current US radars can’t see far enough.

“They need to see thousands of kilometers out, not hundreds,” he says.

The problem is compounded by the vastness of the Western Pacific Ocean and the lack of islands suitable to host radar installations.

“It’s not littered with a lot of places to park radars, says Griffin. “And, if you found some, they’d likely become targets.”

What’s more, hypersonic weapons are difficult to track via existing space-based sensors, he adds. Hypersonic weapons targets are 10 to 20 times dimmer than what the USA normally tracks by satellites in geostationary orbit, he says. And so, the USA would likely need to combine radar with a network of space-based sensors to effectively track and target an adversary’s hypersonic weapons.

“We can’t separate hypersonics defense from the space layer,” says Griffin.

The urgency in developing a defensive shield is driven by the fact that China is outpacing the USA in development of offensive hypersonic weapons. In August, the country reportedly conducted the maiden flight of a new hypersonic test vehicle, named Starry Sky 2, which boosts its speed by wave riding on its shockwaves. The vehicle reached Mach 5.5 for more than six minutes, and a topped out at M6, according to reports.

“In the last year, China has tested more hypersonics weapons than we have in a decade,” says Griffin. “We’ve got to fix that.”

If Russia – which is also developing hypersonic weapons – were to invade Estonia, or China were to attack Taiwan, it would be difficult to defend against their strike assets, he noted.
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[*] posted on 15-12-2018 at 05:06 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Counter hypersonic weapon possible by mid-2020s: DoD

… The Department of Defense believes that the stage to knock out hypersonic weapons is during their relatively long cruise phase, in which they don’t change course abruptly. Hypersonic missiles during that stage are not particularly hard to intercept, but it would require an advanced warning, says Griffin. Unfortunately, current US radars can’t see far enough. “They need to see thousands of kilometers out, not hundreds,” he says. … What’s more, hypersonic weapons are difficult to track via existing space-based sensors, he adds. Hypersonic weapons targets are 10 to 20 times dimmer than what the USA normally tracks by satellites in geostationary orbit, he says. And so, the USA would likely need to combine radar with a network of space-based sensors to effectively track and target an adversary’s hypersonic weapons. …


This doesn’t gel with me. War-fighting hypersonic weapons will require a highly detectable boost and acceleration phase that begins much lower down in the atmosphere and their trajectory can be accurately (not precisely) determined at that point, and as the article says, they don’t change direction much once they're up to speed.

So you don’t have to cover the whole area at all. You just have to detect the launch with an IR staring-array (they will be high up and very hot so not lost in cloud or moisture and obscurants) and then cover the projected track they will be on at the time and place they’re projected to be on it, from there. Thus you refine the full trajectory to a reentry and kill phase.

Even at lower LEO altitudes there will be a significant friction heating component involved, as it’s a combination of friction and gravity at that speed (not just gravity) that will bring it down again, and help limit range, and it will not come down from space vertically as it can’t possibly turn and redirect energy like that without losing its main advantage, and raison-detre, high terminal speed.

So they’ll be entering the uppermost atmosphere at a shallow angle (very hot luminous ablative stage), before steeping into a terminal phase (hotter again, so who needs area radar coverage if you have HALE with EO/DAS IRSTs to cue the terminal engagement radar?). So a significant portion of both the start and the end of their flight will be self-illumination, to a much greater extent than during the mid-course 'cruise' phase (hot coasting more like). But they want to engage them mid-course, instead? Why?

Well if they’re ‘specials’, that makes sense as a requirement, in which case their really talking about the Reagan-era SDI type developments in space.

But for conventional weapons, is it really critical to do ultra expensive mid-course intercepts? What are they trying to do, kill hypersonic conventional strikes? Or a ‘Star Wars’ program?

Because it appears to be the latter.

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[*] posted on 15-12-2018 at 11:52 PM


Pentagon Wants 'New Industrial Base' for Hypersonic Weapons

12/13/2018

By Jon Harper


Concept art of hypersonic weapon

The Pentagon needs an industrial base that can support the development and production of thousands of hypersonic weapons and the means to defend against them, top department officials said Dec. 13.

Great power adversaries such as China and Russia are moving fast to field their own hypersonic weapons, which can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and are highly maneuverable. The systems could put U.S. military assets at risk, and the United States needs to catch up, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin said during a discussion in Arlington, Virginia, hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.

China is of particular concern, having conducted more tests in the past year than the United States has conducted over the past decade, he added.

“If I were their version of me, I would say we’re at IOC [initial operating capability],” he warned.

“The choice facing us is … whether we are going to respond,” Griffin said. “This is something the United States must do in order to deal with what our adversaries are already doing.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the Pentagon must “scale and operationalize” hypersonic capabilities on both the offensive and defensive side.

Griffin — who has identified hypersonics as his top priority — said thousands of the weapons must be deployed to deter potential enemies. The Pentagon is interested in a range of capabilities from rocket-based boost glide systems to air-breathing weapons to combined cycle systems. A space-based sensor architecture is also needed for detection and tracking to help defend against enemy attack, he noted.

“We are going to have to create a new industrial base for these systems” he said. “Industry will get a very clear message from the department as to the paths we are pursuing in hypersonic offensive and defensive systems development, and we’re confident that you guys will respond.”

The department needs “multiplicity and redundancy” in the supply chain, he added.

Shanahan noted that producing thousands of hypersonic weapons and other systems to defend against them has implications for the size of the industrial base, how many suppliers are needed and the amount of government investment required.

“As we’re looking at kind of setting up the industrial base or production system or development, we want to have [at least] two or three competitors,” he said. “So instead of a winner-take-all, it’s how do we create that ecosystem that has sustained competition?”

The United States’ test infrastructure has atrophied over the past decade, Griffin noted, and more government investment will go into beefing it up.

Shanahan said department leaders want input from industry as they pursue new capabilities. Pentagon officials will be able to provide more specifics next year about the road ahead to help companies make investment decisions, he added.

“We’re now getting to the place where we can start to put together programmatics and pick [schedule] dates,” he told reporters during a media roundtable after the event. “It’s so much easier for the industry to be able to move out when we have more clarity about what we want.

“I think a year from now we’re going to be able to show you against the portfolio, here’s what the deliverables look like, or here’s what IOCs look like, or here’s what quantities look like,” he added.

Meanwhile, NDIA has launched a hypersonics “community of influence” to bring together stakeholders in this field. The association, in partnership with Purdue University, will host a Hypersonics Capabilities Conference next year in West Lafayette, Indiana, March 12-14.

The gathering of government, industry and academia will address the technical foundations of hypersonic systems, the current approach to developing the capabilities, and warfighter, policy and acquisition perspectives. It will include keynote addresses from military, government and congressional leaders, along with presentations from industry and acquisition executives, according to NDIA.
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[*] posted on 17-12-2018 at 11:40 AM


MDA And DARPA Move Hypersonics Into Spotlight In 2019

Dec 17, 2018 Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Contemplating how to shoot down an incoming, hypersonic missile filled one day during the week of Thanksgiving for Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a speaker and participant in a private military conference on hypersonic missile defense, the former Air Force transport pilot came away awed by the challenge.

“If you can shoot something at 13 times the speed of sound,” Selva explained during a keynote speech at the Association of Old Crows convention on Nov. 28, “that means, if you’re going to try to intercept it, you need to be going at least that fast. And if you’re trying to close that kill-chain, you’re having to think at Mach 26.”

Selva paused, then added: “I’m old. I don’t think at Mach 26.”

- MDA to begin adapting missile defenses to defeat hypersonics
- DARPA also to test a more ambitious hypersonic missile interceptor by the end of 2020

Nonetheless, Selva knows the time has come to begin thinking—and maneuvering—at such speeds.

China’s DF-ZF, a missile with an estimated speed between Mach 6 and 10, has completed at least nine flight tests since January 2014. Russia’s Yu-71 and Yu-74 missiles have flown at least twice at speeds up to Mach 10 since 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in November that such a hypersonic weapon could become operational in 2019.

Meanwhile, within three years the U.S. plans to deploy a new hypersonic glide vehicle with separate boosters for launch on the Air Force’s B-52, the Navy’s submarines and the Army’s ground-launch systems. Another, more sophisticated boost-glide system, called the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, is in development by the Air Force, while DARPA continues development of the Tactical Boost-Glide program and the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept.

The Chinese, Russian and U.S. programs have a common objective: By combining hypersonic speed and cross-range maneuvers, this new class of weapons may be able to dodge existing tracking systems and interceptors.

The U.S. military’s response to the new threat will begin taking shape in 2019. It will start with attempts to adapt existing technologies, such as interceptor missiles, to become hypersonic weapons. In the long run, the advent of maneuvering weapons faster than Mach 5 may require a more sophisticated response, carrying profound implications for the use of autonomous decision-making tools and the distribution of command-and-control authority.


An award-winning design by a team of University of Texas at Arlington engineering students is capable of defending a small area from maneuvering hypersonic missiles coming in at altitudes up to 140,000 ft. Credit: University of Texas at Arlington

“It’s a little bit like how counter-stealth developed,” says Richard Hallion, a former chief historian of the Air Force and a student of hypersonic technology. “The fact that you now have people thinking about the defense against high-speed weapons is clearly an indication that hypersonics itself as a field has come of age.”

Heeding a 2016 directive by Congress, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) formally expanded its portfolio to cover hypersonic threats with a new program of record. In 2018, “hypersonic defense” first appeared as a line item in the agency’s budget. An analysis of alternatives was expected to be completed for the new program element by the end of 2018, allowing the MDA to take the first steps toward defining the new counter-hypersonic system in 2019.

New contracts to demonstrate component technologies for such a system should be awarded in the first quarter of 2019, the MDA confirms to Aviation Week. Agency officials also are assessing initial weapon concepts submitted by defense contractors, with Northrop Grumman and Raytheon both expressing interest publicly.

To shorten the development schedule for a new capability, the MDA is focusing now on adapting existing weapons into a terminal defense capability for hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV).

“Such activities as modifications to existing systems sensors, command-and-control algorithms, and our terminal systems are being explored to provide an increased capability in the near future,” an MDA spokesman explains.

The HGV threat has captured the interest of the military, industry and academia. In September, a team of students from the University of Texas at Arlington won a design competition sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for a counter-hypersonic interceptor. The award-winning paper illustrates the challenge posed by this unique threat.

The students described a missile launched on a steep ballistic profile into space by a booster rocket. As the booster separates, the missile’s glide vehicle reenters the atmosphere on a steep dive at speeds up to Mach 20. As it descends below 140,000 ft., the warhead-carrying vehicle performs a pitch-up maneuver to enter a long-range glide profile. Over a route of potentially thousands of miles, the glide speed drops from Mach 20 to Mach 5, while the missile banks and weaves through the atmosphere.


Source: Forecast International

That combination of an unpredictable trajectory and raw speed heightens the threat. Assuming ideal conditions, the curvature of the Earth means a ground-based radar can detect an HGV cruising at 120,000 ft. at around 420 mi. away, according to the the Texas design team. If the HGV is approaching terminal phase to the target at Mach 5, a defender has less than 3 min. to make a decision, launch a missile and intercept the target.

The pace of such an engagement has led some experts to conclude that involving humans in the decision-making process becomes self-defeating.

“This is in some cases coming in so rapidly against you—particularly if you have a late detection of the threat,” Hallion says. “You really need to have an . . . autonomous approach for your defensive systems, and that’s going to drive us down a very different road in terms of engagement scenarios and freedom of commanders and really conduct of war.”

Other military experts are open to automating some functions of the hypersonic defense kill-chain but not the decision to launch an interceptor at a suspected target.

“Engagement authority still will need to reside with a human being,” says David Deptula, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. (ret.) who is now dean of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute. “In these kinds of discussions, no one is willing to turn over lethal engagement authority to a machine. Policy will always include a human in or on the loop.”

Instead, Deptula supports an ongoing effort by the Air Force to overhaul the command-and-control system. Modern communication technology allowed the Air Force to develop doctrine that centralizes decision-making at the headquarters level and delegates execution. Deptula prefers a move to “centralized command, distributed control and decentralized execution.”

“There’s a lot of resistance to doing that just simply because of institutional inertia,” he says. “But if you look at the acceleration of modern threat capabilities, we’ve got to adjust our command-and- control architectures to be able to deal with them,” Deptula says.

It also likely requires a major expansion of space-based tracking capabilities. The MDA now operates the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, which consists of two satellites with sensors for visible and infrared light that orbit the Earth once every 120 min. at a 58-deg. inclination at an elevation of 1,350 km. A planned follow-on program, the Precision Tracking Space System, was expected to expand that capability into a constellation of satellites but was canceled in the Pentagon’s 2014 budget request.

Mike Griffin, the current undersecretary of defense for Research and Engineering, has called for launching a space surveillance layer, covering most of the planet with infrared sensors perched in low Earth orbit. Meanwhile, DARPA also is demonstrating a space-based surveillance system called Blackjack, which relies on a network of scores of small satellites to perform a similar mission.

The final challenge is, not least, developing a viable interceptor. The MDA is focused in the short term on adapting an existing defensive weapon for a hypersonic missile. The agency’s deliberations are not disclosed, but the University of Texas student design team analyzed the Lockheed Martin Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. By reducing the size of the THAAD missile to increase the speed and upgrading the structure to withstand higher temperatures, the team concluded that the design could intercept a target maneuvering at Mach 15 and at 140,000 ft.

However, the adapted THAAD is able to defend an area with a diameter of only 14 km (8.7 mi.). DARPA has launched a perhaps more ambitious interceptor development project called Glide Breaker. It is scheduled to test a new interceptor against a hypersonic missile in the upper atmosphere by the end of 2020. More exotic concepts have been proposed to use high-powered microwaves or directed-energy weapons, but each would have to find a way to penetrate the high-temperature cloud of plasma surrounding a vehicle moving at hypersonic speeds.

Hallion endorses new interceptor concepts for hypersonic weapons, but he also knows the best defense is a good offense.

“The best counter to offensive hypersonics in terms of structuring defensive hypersonics may be for us to develop a robust offensive hypersonic weapons capability ourselves,” Hallion says, “so that you are able to get out there and engage the sites and sources that these are being launched from.”
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[*] posted on 20-12-2018 at 03:46 PM


New Materials Architectures Sought to Cool Hypersonic Vehicles

(Source: DARPA; issued Dec 17, 2018)

Hypersonic vehicles fly through the atmosphere at incredibly high speeds, creating intense friction with the surrounding air as they travel at Mach 5 or above – five times faster than sound travels. Developing structures that can withstand furnace-like temperatures at such high speeds is a technical challenge, especially for leading edges that bear the brunt of the heat.

To address this thermal challenge, DARPA recently announced its Materials Architectures and Characterization for Hypersonics (MACH) program. The MACH program seeks to develop and demonstrate new design and material solutions for sharp, shape-stable, cooled leading edges for hypersonic vehicles. A Proposers Day describing the program will take place January 22, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia: https://go.usa.gov/xEcEy.

“For decades people have studied cooling the hot leading edges of hypersonic vehicles but haven’t been able to demonstrate practical concepts in flight,” said Bill Carter, program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office. “The key is developing scalable materials architectures that enable mass transport to spread and reject heat. In recent years we’ve seen advances in thermal engineering and manufacturing that could enable the design and fabrication of very complex architectures not possible in the past. If successful, we could see a breakthrough in mitigating aerothermal effects at the leading edge that would enhance hypersonic performance.”

The MACH program will comprise two technical areas. The first area aims to develop and mature fully integrated passive thermal management system to cool leading edges based on scalable net-shape manufacturing and advanced thermal design. The second technical area will focus on next-generation hypersonic materials research, applying modern high-fidelity computation capabilities to develop new passive and active thermal management concepts, coatings and materials for future cooled hypersonic leading edge applications.

The MACH program seeks expertise in thermal engineering and design, advanced computational materials development, architected materials design, fabrication and testing (including net shape fabrication of high temperature metals, ceramics and their composites), hypersonic leading-edge design and performance, and advanced thermal protection systems.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 22-12-2018 at 12:48 PM


DARPA pursues materials, architecture to cool hypersonic vehicles

Robin Hughes, London - Jane's Missiles & Rockets

21 December 2018


DARPA’s MACH programme will pursue materials and designs for cooling the hot leading edges of hypersonic vehicles travelling at speeds of Mach 5 and beyond. Source: DARPA

To address the challenge DARPA has initiated the Materials, Architectures, and Characterization for Hypersonics (MACH) programme. The programme seeks to develop and demonstrate new design and material solutions for sharp, shape-stable, high heat flux capable leading edge systems for hypersonic vehicles travelling more than five times the speed of sound.

DARPA is seeking expertise in thermal engineering and design, advanced computational materials development, architected materials design, fabrication and testing (including net shape fabrication of high temperature metals, ceramics, and their composites), hypersonic leading-edge design and performance, and advanced thermal protection systems. DARPA has specified that it does not want research “that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice”.

The MACH programme will comprise two technical areas. The first area aims to develop and mature a fully integrated passive thermal management system to cool leading edges based on scalable net-shape manufacturing and advanced thermal design. The second technical area will focus on next-generation hypersonic materials research, applying modern high-fidelity computation capabilities to develop new passive and active thermal management concepts, coatings, and materials for future cooled hypersonic leading edge applications.

Bill Carter, Program Manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO), said, “For decades people have studied cooling the hot leading edges of hypersonic vehicles but haven’t been able to demonstrate practical concepts in flight.

“The key is developing scalable materials architectures that enable mass transport to spread and reject heat. In recent years we’ve seen advances in thermal engineering and manufacturing that could enable the design and fabrication of very complex architectures not possible in the past. If successful, we could see a breakthrough in mitigating aerothermal effects at the leading edge that would enhance hypersonic performance,” he added.

The DSO will convene a Proposers Day meeting on 22 January 2019 to advise potential proposers on the objectives of the MACH programme.

(329 of 491 words)
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[*] posted on 28-12-2018 at 04:57 PM


Russia says its new weapon is 27 times faster than the speed of sound

By: Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press   12 hours ago

Russia says its new weapon is 27 times faster than the speed of sound.

MOSCOW — Russia’s new strategic weapon has rendered any missile defenses useless at a small fraction of their cost, officials said Thursday.

The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle flies 27 times faster than the speed of sound, making it impossible to intercept, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told Russian state television.

The new weapon “essentially makes missile defenses useless,” he said.

Borisov spoke a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw what he described as the conclusive successful test of the Avangard and hailed it as a reliable guarantee of Russia's security for decades to come.

In Wednesday’s test, the weapon was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Ural Mountains. The Kremlin said it successfully hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 3,700 miles away.

The Defense Ministry released footage from the test launch, in which a ballistic missile could be seen blasting from a silo in a cloud of smoke, but it hasn't released any images of the vehicle itself.

Putin said the Avangard will enter service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces next year.

The test comes amid bitter tensions in Russia-U.S. relations, which have been strained over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and the allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sergei Ivanov, a former Russian defense minister, said in televised comments that the Avangard constantly changes its course and altitude as it flies through the atmosphere.

He emphasized that unlike previous nuclear warheads fitted to intercontinental ballistic missiles that follow a predictable trajectory allowing it to calculate the spot where they can be intercepted, the Avangard chaotically zigzags on its path to its target, making it impossible to predict the weapon’s location.

A smiling Ivanov likened the weapon's flight through the atmosphere to a pebble skipping off the surface of water.

Ivanov, who now serves as Putin's adviser, said the Avangard could be fitted to the Soviet-made UR-100UTTKh intercontinental ballistic missile, which is code-named SS-19 Stiletto by NATO.

He noted that Russia has a stockpile of several dozen such missiles, which are in a factory-mint condition and not filled with fuel, allowing them to serve for a long time to come. Ivanov added that they could be put in existing silos, sharply reducing the costs of Avangard's deployment.

"The Avangard has cost hundreds of times less than what the U.S. has spent on its missile defense," Ivanov said.

He noted that Russia began to develop the Avangard after the U.S. started to develop defenses against ballistic missiles.

Moscow feared that the U.S. missile shield could erode its nuclear deterrent, and Putin announced in 2004 that Russia was working on a new hypersonic weapon.

Ivanov recalled that when Russian officials warned their U.S. counterparts about the new weapon program at the time, American officials were openly skeptical about Russia's ability to carry out its plan.

“We aren’t involved in saber-rattling, we simply ensured our security for decades to come,” he said.

The last sentence is every reason why I don't believe any of this hypersonic shit both Russia and China spout..........not sabre-rattling my ass! :no:
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[*] posted on 31-12-2018 at 12:11 AM


I suspect they're scared shitless, 500 FOC F-35 from 2020, building @ 150 per year. F-22A in major MLU. B-21 not far off. Superhornet BKIII. Growler + NGJ and carriers with LO/UCAV tankers plus new 5th gen data comms to legacy jets. F-35A will move into eastern Europe once FOC so pretending they have special kit is all that's left. And how long will it take for the Israelis to demonstrate how ineffective heavy SAMs and their sensors are? Rattle all they want but hypersonic means mach 8 cruise not a 1G glider.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2019 at 12:29 PM


Russia announces successful flight test of Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle

Nikolai Novichkov, Moscow - Jane's Missiles & Rockets

03 January 2019


An UR-100N UTTH ICBM system equipped with the Avangard HGV before installation into a silo launcher. Source: Russian MoD

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 26 December 2018 announced a successful initial all-up flight test of the Avangard (Vanguard) hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).

According to Putin, the Avangard HGV (previously designated Objekt 4202, Yu-71, and Yu-74) was launched from the Dombarovskoye missile base in the southern Ural Mountains, flew about 6,000 km, "manoeuvering horizontally and vertically at hypersonic speeds" and successfully engaged a simulated target at the Kura Range in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula.

"The Avangard has fully passed through its test program and will become operational on schedule. The weapon has fully confirmed its specifications," said Putin.

Developed by the NPO Mashinostroyenia Corporation and furnished with a solid propellant scramjet engine, Avangard has a claimed engagement speed of Mach 27 (32,202.36 kph). The HGV can reportedly be integrated as a multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces' (Raketnye voyska strategicheskogo naznacheniya - RVSN) RS-18B/UR-100UTTKh SS-19 Mod 3 'Stiletto', R-36M2, and RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The Avangard system has already been integrated onto the UR-100UTTKh ICBM, according to Russian Security Council member, Sergei Ivanov. "We have several dozen brand new UR-100N UTTH ICBMs, with which the Avangard fits very well," he said. According to Ivanov, the new HGV also complies with the existing strategic arms reduction treaties, including the New START (SNV-3).

RVSN Commander Colonel General Sergey Karakayev confirmed on 17 December 2018 that RVSN's Dombarovo Missile Division would receive the first Avangard HGVs integrated with the UR-100N UTTKh ICBMs in 2019. The UR-100N UTTH (SS-19 mod. 3 Stiletto) ICBM weighs 105.6 tonnes and carries a 4,350 kg payload. The baseline variant of the missile is fitted with six HGVs. Col Karakayev said the RVSN will stand up two missile regiments, each equipped with six Avangard systems by 2027.

(319 of 480 words)
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[*] posted on 9-1-2019 at 10:12 AM


Opinion: The Hypersonics Workforce Puzzle

Jan 9, 2019 Brian M. Argrow | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Wanted: A Hypersonics Workforce

"Boost-glide,” the method of using rocket propulsion to achieve high speed before an unpowered glide, is an apt metaphor for U.S. investment in hypersonics research and education. Recent interviews with government leaders and experts suggest that the U.S. no longer has the luxury of exploring hypersonic flight as an unchallenged leader. In addition to the need for long-term commitment to basic research and technology development, there is a more urgent requirement for rapid deployment of countermeasures against putative adversarial capabilities.

In early 2018, following claims by President Vladimir Putin of Russian advances in hypersonic missile technology, Pentagon leaders including Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin and DARPA Director Steven Walker responded with warnings about the state of U.S. hypersonic capabilities. They emphasized that hypersonics must be a priority for Defense Department research and that, even with Trump administration requests for increased funding, there is still a need for more spending, particularly on infrastructure to support testing.


Credit: U.S. Air Force

The challenges of hypersonic flight are not new. Many of today’s educators and decision makers were inspired by U.S. high-speed research including the X-15 hypersonic program that ended in 1968 after 199 flights. Using a boost-glide flight profile, the X-15—the first hypersonic crewed aircraft—sped to a record of Mach 6.7 (4,520 mph) in 1967. It was also the first reusable spacecraft, setting the altitude record of 354,000 ft. (67 mi.) and earning pilot Joseph Walker astronaut wings.

Since the retirement of the X-15, other X-plane programs have focused on the development of hypersonic technology that only recently culminated in flight tests. These programs include the X-30 National Aero-Space Plane and the X-33 that did not lead to flight-test vehicles, as well as the more recent, more modest X-43A Hyper-X and X-51A Waverider programs, which demonstrated air-breathing hypersonic flight in 2004 and 2010.

A hypersonic “aero-space plane” is the ultimate multidisciplinary aerospace engineering system. Every traditional discipline, such as fluid dynamics and heat transfer, and more recent disciplines, such as software engineering and cyber-physical security, must be integrated.

In the June 2018 issue of Aerospace America, University of Michigan professor Iain Boyd points out that 60-70% of U.S. research is focused on aerodynamics and aerothermodynamics, whereas the Chinese are pursuing a more balanced multidisciplinary effort spread across aerodynamics, propulsion, materials and controls.

As the foundation of our innovation workforce, most U.S. Ph.D. candidates are supported either directly or indirectly by external research grants. Yet even if the aforementioned budget requests go through, they’ll be going toward programs that don’t address the breadth of potential hypersonics applications and are not structured in a way that will help grow our hypersonics industrial base.

If the U.S. is to retain (or reclaim) leadership in hypersonics, a sustained increase in university research programs to support students—and new research infrastructure—is critical. This does not imply that all increased funding should be directed solely to universities, but research programs that support joint agency-university research are proven vehicles for leveraging federal funding. Similar industry-sponsored programs also have a proven return-on-investment track record.

Ideally, this increased support should happen at both ends of the spectrum: supporting university-led research by faculty and students and providing faculty and student access to higher-end, larger-scale federal agency-led research by increasing development of test facilities and the design-build-fly cadence of flight-test vehicles and other agency testbed programs. As a safeguard for American leadership, the government should ensure a minimum amount of activity to support low-cost and efficient university-led research.

Educators are witnessing an explosion of excitement among engineering students spurred by new technologies and opportunities in areas such as robotics and autonomous systems and a full-blown commercial space race. Student enrollment in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences has more than doubled over the past decade, and demand continues to grow. Young men and women in such departments across the nation will lead the hypersonics research of the future and create new businesses enabled by this emerging technology—if we let them. This future requires a national endeavor of grander scope than the narrowly focused, boost-glide approach we have seen so far.

Brian M. Argrow is professor and chair at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

The views expressed are not necessarily shared by Aviation Week.
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 12:56 PM


Top U.S. Hypersonic Weapon Program Facing New Schedule Pressure

Jan 11, 2019 Lee Hudson and Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

The cost, timing and critical risks of the U.S. military’s plans to counter Russia and China’s new hypersonic weapons are emerging from secrecy. As the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) begins prototyping components of a broad new hypersonic surveillance and defense architecture, the U.S. Air Force’s two hypersonic weapons programs launched last year are expected to achieve operational status within two years, despite technical problems slowing an associated program.

The Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is the U.S. military’s most advanced reply to Russia’s ground-launched Avangard in the near term. Building on DARPA’s Falcon and Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) programs, the ARRW is expected to become the world’s first air-launched, maneuvering hypersonic glide vehicle with a high lift-to-drag ratio. The Air Force says the ARRW “program is on track” with “no significant deviations from original acquisition strategy and baseline,” according to a mandatory report recently sent to Congress.

- Funding and technical slips delay ARRW milestones by months
- MDA to kick off prototyping phase for Space Sensor Layer

In August, the service awarded a $480 million contract to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to begin developing the ARRW, but the total cost is $859.1 million, the Air Force says.

The program may be on track, but it is facing schedule pressures. A predesign review and a flight test of the first instrumented measurement vehicle vehicle were supposed to be done already, but the delayed receipt of fiscal 2018 funding pushed the design review to late March and the flight test to late June. A subsystem critical design review also is delayed from late March to late September, the report states.

Moreover, DARPA’s TBG is supposed to “significantly reduce the design risk” for the ARRW, the Air Force says, but is also running behind. The ARRW’s high lift-to-drag design remains unproven. The Air Force is relying on the TBG to prove that a wedge-shaped glide vehicle can survive the extreme heat of a hypersonic cruise phase, which DARPA’s previous Falcon program failed to achieve in two flight tests. But the first flight tests for the TBG program also are running behind. Citing unspecified “technical challenges,” DARPA has pushed back the flight test from late June to late December this year, the Air Force says.

As the unproven ARRW design moves forward, the Pentagon also is investing in a lower-risk alternative. The Air Force inherited the conical glide vehicle of the air-launched Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) from the Army’s ground-launched Advanced Hypersonic Weapon program, which spawned a common glide-vehicle design shared with the Army’s ground launchers and the Navy’s submarines.


Source: U.S. Air Force Report to Congress

The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Space a $928 million contract last April to integrate the HCSW on a B-52, but the service’s independent cost estimate is $1.4 billion, the report shows. The first all-up-round test for the HCSW is scheduled to be completed by late December 2020 and so far appears to be on track. A preliminary design review is set for late June, and a critical design review is planned by late March 2020.

As the Air Force focuses on the ARRW and HCSW near-term, development continues on a supersonic combustion ramjet engine and a waverider-shaped airframe under a long-term effort called the Advanced Full-Range Engine (AFRE) and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).

Hypersonic technology has moved from a niche interest into the acquisition mainstream. As new offensive weapons emerge, the MDA is taking the lead on constructing a vast new architecture to detect, track and intercept hypersonic missiles. The ability of hypersonic glide vehicles to maneuver at the top of the atmosphere poses a difficult problem for current defenses designed for ballistic threats with predictable trajectories.

The MDA plans to kick off a prototyping stage for a new Space Sensor Layer (SSL) of surveillance satellites in low Earth orbit with an industry day Jan. 15. The SSL will explore the detection of hypersonic glide vehicles coasting at the top of the atmosphere.

The MDA is reviewing a vast range of hypersonic defense proposals. In September, the agency awarded contracts to eight companies to produce 21 white papers covering nearly every conceivable approach to defeating an attack by hypersonic missiles. The papers will inform the MDA’s development strategy, which is likely to promote development of several different approaches.

These include a new family of interceptor missiles called SkyFire proposed by Raytheon; hypervelocity projectiles designed by General Atomics, Boeing and BAE Systems; a laser gun offered by Boeing; and electronic attack systems conceptualized by Northrop Grumman, L3 Technologies and Lockheed. Lockheed also has proposed a full range of new interceptors, including a space-based system, an air-launched missile and the “Valkyrie” for terminal hypersonic defense.
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[*] posted on 15-1-2019 at 01:56 PM


Russia Military Analysis

A BLOG ON THE RUSSIAN MILITARY

Russia’s Avangard hypersonic boost-glide system


JANUARY 11, 2019 MICHAEL KOFMAN

I’ve recently put out an article on Russia’s Avangard hypersonic boost-glide system in the well known Russian journal The New Times, under the title “ЧТО ВСЕ-ТАКИ ПУТИН ПОДАРИЛ РОССИЯНАМ НА НОВЫЙ ГОД,” but for those interested, please find the unedited English version below, which hopefully covers the subject in some depth.

Earlier in March 2018, Vladimir Putin announced at his annual address to the federal assembly that a Russian hypersonic boost-glide system, named Avangard, would start entering serial production. Subsequently on December 26th, 2018 Russian officials claimed that they had successfully conducted a test from the Dombarovsky missile site, to the Kura test range on Kamchatka, some 3,760 miles away. Russia’s president proudly announced that the system as a wonderful ‘New Year’s gift’ to Russia. According to Putin’s statement, the hypersonic glide vehicle is able to conduct intensive maneuvers at speeds in excess of Mach 20, which would render it “invulnerable” to any existing or prospective missile defenses. In this article I will briefly explore the logic behind Russia’s hypersonic boost glide program, recent claims of technological accomplishment, and the strategic implications of deploying such weapon systems.

Despite rather questionable public statements about the technical characteristics of this weapon system, a number of which appear inconsistent, it is clear that Russian military science has made considerable advancements along one of the most sophisticated axis of weapons research. While claims pertaining to the readiness of this system to enter serial production, and operational service, are probably exaggerated, the more important questions are conceptual. More than likely Russia will be able to deploy a hypersonic boost glide system in the 2020s, perhaps alongside other hypersonic weapons projects, but the promise of this technology was always at the tactical-operational level of war, not strategic. This was never considered a ‘game changer’ as a system for the delivery of strategic nuclear weapons. If anything, Russia has invested a substantial amount of money, and years of research, in overdoing its strengths. Beyond a somewhat militant demonstration of ‘Russian national achievement’ for domestic audiences, it’s unclear if this weapon system truly answers Russia’s strategic challenges in the coming decades. The question is not whether it works, or when it will work, but does it even matter?

Hypersonic boost glide weapons function by using a multi-stage ballistic missile as the boost phase, throwing a vehicle into near earth orbit, which then descends and begins gliding at hypersonic speeds along the edge of the atmosphere. As the vehicle descends back to earth, it pulls upwards, and begins skimming the atmosphere in a ‘glide’ phase, before diving downwards onto its target at the terminal phase. Russia has spent years developing this technology under a project referenced as Object 4202, which married a series of experimental hypersonic glide vehicles, such as the Yu-71, with a liquid fueled ICBM УР-100УНТТХ (NATO designation SS-19 mod 2 Stiletto). This system builds on the Soviet Union’s extensive research into hypersonic weapons programs , including work on a hypersonic-boost aircraft named «Спираль», a modified S-200V surface-to-air missile under the project name Холод, and hypersonic cruise missile programs, such as Kh-80 and Kh-90 GELA (гиперзвуковой экспериментальный летательный аппарат).

Although claimed successes in testing may have come as a surprise in 2018, in truth Russian officials have been announcing tests of a hypersonic boost glide vehicle, using the УР-100УНТТХ missile, as far back as the strategic nuclear forces exercise in 2004. Hence, this particular system has been in publicly acknowledged development for at least 14 years, and the glide vehicle itself for quite a few years beforehand. The booster, УР-100 (SS-19), is a 105 ton liquid fueled silo-based missile, which together with the boost glide vehicle payload proved too long for a standard silo. Hence this system is being tested in a modified R-36M2 silo (SS-18 Satan), and although it is being developed with the УР-100, it is meant for the much heavier liquid fueled missile currently in testing, RS-28 Sarmat. While the question of boost method may seem a technicality, the boosting mechanism is actually quite deterministic of the strategic role this weapon can play, as I will discuss a bit later in this article.

However, the principal challenges with this system have little to do with the decades established technology of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or boosting objects into near earth orbit. Hypersonic boost glide vehicles, if successful, represent a major breakthrough in material sciences, as the object must be able to withstand incredibly high temperatures with the payload and guidance system intact. Although impossible to verify, Russian announcements can often be categorized as ‘true lies,’ impressive sounding figures that have some factual basis, but are inevitably inaccurate. The proposition that the vehicle can reach mach 27 is likely true only during the brief return phase, when it is falling back to earth like a rock from near earth orbit, prior to beginning its hypersonic glide at the edges of the atmosphere. The vehicle itself will have considerably different speeds during the pull-up, glide, and dive to target phase, while having to endure incredible temperatures.

Below are a few graphical illustrations available on the web:







In U.S. testing of an analogous system in 2011, Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), the vehicle was able to sustain glide at mach 20 speeds for three minutes, enduring a temperature of 3500 Fahrenheit. These figures track with Russian statements on temperatures experienced, but the actual speeds and altitudes at which the Russian vehicle is able to glide, and whether the systems actually survive this experience, remain a mystery. Although Russia’s defense sector seems to have made progress on this weapon system, claims that it is ready for serial production, or operational deployment in the near future, should be treated with educated skepticism. Ironically, the most significant potential breakthrough is in material sciences, not in building a seemingly scary strategic weapon.

Yet the rationale for Avangard seems less than straightforward when compared to other Russian hypersonic weapons programs, including the Tsirkon 3M22 scramjet hypersonic cruise missile, and the Kinzhal Kh-47M2 aeroballistic missile. Those are operational depth systems able to deliver meaningful conventional or nuclear payloads to shape the military balance in a theater of military operations. They can offset U.S. conventional superiority, and pose genuine challenges in conventional warfare. What does Avangard do for Russia that existing silo-based, road-mobile, air-launched, and submarine launched missiles cannot?

The Avangard system is best seen as one element in an expensive Russian strategy to develop technological hedges for a security environment perhaps 20-30 years from now where the United States might deploy a cost effective missile defense system, making a percentage of Russia’s nuclear deterrent vulnerable to interception. To be clear, there is no missile defense system now, or on the horizon, able to intercept Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal. Modern ICBMs can come with multiple reentry vehicles and numerous penetration aids or false targets, creating a complex ‘threat cloud’ that would make interception an improbable business. Nonetheless, ever since the Bush administration chose in 2002 to exit the 1972 ABM Treaty, Russian leadership has been concerned that the United States could eventually devalue the deterrence provided by Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

Russia’s General Staff worries that a vast arsenal of long range conventional cruise missiles, paired with a semi-viable missile defense, would pose major challenges for their calculations to ensure the ability of Russian nuclear forces to deliver ‘unacceptable’ or ‘tailored’ damage in the coming decades. The 1972 ABM Treaty was not just a cornerstone of Cold War arms control, but fundamental to Russian military thinking on strategic stability, based on mutual vulnerability at the strategic level. Ever since June 1941, Soviet, and subsequently Russian, military thought has been wracked by the possibility of a disarming first strike, and the need to position Russian forces along a strategy of ‘counter-surprise.’

However, unlike other expensive strategic projects, such as the Poseidon nuclear powered torpedo, Avangard does not contribute to a survivable second strike. Thus there are a few ways to interpret the actual purpose of this weapon. The first is as a retaliatory-meeting strike system to attack high-value targets, i.e. civilian targets with political or economic significance, which will provide some insurance for a counter value strike. The second is that it is a first strike weapon against hard to penetrate targets. Since Avangard is silo based, designed for heavier liquid fueled ICBMs, in the event of strategic attack the boosting missile would not be survivable. It must be fired either first, or in a “launch under attack” scenario, when Russia has confirmed a U.S. launch, but the missiles have not yet impacted.

Avangard may be designed to give Russia’s RVSN the ability to penetrate hard targets, getting around missile defenses, and leveraging greater accuracy to take out well-hardened facilities. That said, from a nuclear warfighting standpoint, this makes Avangard a somewhat specialized, but expensive strategic nuclear weapon. Given how few of these systems Russia is likely to be able to afford, the weapon may offer some targeting advantages, but at a high price relative to the benefits. Another possibility is that this is not a system to get around future missile defenses, but a first strike system to be used specifically against missile defenses, clearing the way for the rest of Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Even if more accurate and survivable in flight, Avangard is a questionable investment when compared to the numerous road-mobile ICBM systems Russia fields today, including Topol-M and Rs-24 Yars (but then the logic for Russia’s SSBN program is also somewhat circumspect).

Perhaps in the future, Avangard will be deployed on a road-mobile launcher, but as conceived, this system adds little to Russia’s existing large strategic nuclear arsenal. An expensive insurance policy that in no way alters the strategic nuclear balance either today or tomorrow, which is why the reaction in Washington has been so muted. If anything, the United States should thank Russia for investing money in such super weapons, instead of buying large quantities of conventional precision guided munitions.

Moscow has sought to leverage Avangard and similar novel systems to sell the notion of a qualitative arms race to Washington, D.C., hoping to establish a bilateral agenda for summits. Yet while the world is genuinely witnessing a renewed period of nuclear modernization, with qualitatively new or novel weapon systems in development, there is no arms race in progress. The major nuclear powers of today are pursuing distinctly divergent strategies, concepts, and requirements behind their nuclear weapons programs, rather than racing which each other for superiority. This is why Avangard, if completed and deployed, is unlikely to alter strategic military balance or elicit any meaningful response from Washington, D.C.
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[*] posted on 22-1-2019 at 01:23 PM



Quote:

Les voeux sont souvent convenus et pas gavés d'infos, cette année Florence Parly a mis le paquet côté annonces. Elle a d'abord révélé la notification d'un contrat de démonstrateur de planeur supersonique, le VMAX, une façon comme une autre de raccrocher la France à une course commencée il y a des années outre-Atlantique et en Russie (notamment). Selon le DGA Joël Barre interogé par ce blog, c'est Ariane Group qui a été notifié. On sait seulement, pour l'instant, que l'engin doit voler en 2021.

http://lemamouth.blogspot.com/2019/01/un-planeur-des-fennec-...

LSS, the French are working on a hypersonic glider, first flight 2021.




Paddywhackery not included.
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[*] posted on 29-1-2019 at 04:04 PM


France to Flight-Test Hypersonic Demonstrator by 2021

(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Jan 28, 2019)

PARIS --- France has awarded ArianeGroup a contract to develop a hypersonic glider technology demonstrator that is due to make its first flight by the end of 2021, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced Jan. 21.

"We have decided to award a contract for a hypersonic glider demonstrator," able to reach a speed of over Mach 5 (over 6,000 km/h),” Parly said during her New Year’s address to the armed forces.

France is already conducting studies on hypersonic propulsion as part of the modernization of its nuclear deterrent, but such a glider, initially propelled by a rocket or a missile, is attractive for military missions because its unpredictable trajectory allows it to escape interception.

The French hypersonic demonstrator is designated V-Max, for Véhicule Manoeuvrant Expérimental. It will be about 2 meters long, a “hyperfast system capable of hypermaneuvrability,” a source told the Paris daily L’Opinion

"We could not wait anymore"

"A hypersonic glider is something that can be steered, and which can reach speeds of over five times the speed of sound; the goal is high-speed maneuverability, which s much different from a ballistic trajectory,” a source; in the Directorate-General of Armaments told the newsweekly L’Express. "Once the initial velocity has been reached, we will trade off speed against altitude to climb, dive, turn right or left, along a flight path which is much more difficult to intercept. And, if engaged by anti-missile defenses, we can maneuver to avoid them.”

"Many nations are procuring such weapons, and we have all the necessary skills to develop one: we could not wait," Parly said. Indeed, three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are already engaging in a new arms race for this kind of weapon: Chine, Russia and the United States.

In December, Moscow boasted that the capabilities of its new hypersonic weapons make them "practically" impossible to shoot down, after a test in which a hypersonic missile called "Avangard" reached a speed of over Mach 20 to hit its target at a distance of 3,700 km.

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[*] posted on 9-2-2019 at 04:59 PM


Putting the Hype in Hypersonic Weapons

(Source: Project On Government Oversight; issued Feb 07, 2019)

By Mark Thompson


The Pentagon’s Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle, which traveled 20 times the speed of sound in 2011, emerges from its rocket nose cone in this artist’s rendering. (DARPA photo)

The Pentagon let up on the gas on its effort to build a nationwide missile shield following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. What had begun as President Ronald Reagan’s push to render Moscow’s nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete” shrank to a more modest defense designed to shoot down one or two missiles bearing down on the United States from a rogue state.

But the Defense Department has just resumed pursuing Reagan’s dream following President Trump’s January 17 visit to the Pentagon, where he vowed to “ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States—anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”

Once again, the United States. is on the hunt for the elusive silver bullet. It would be almost quaint, if it weren’t so costly—and impossible.

“For those not old enough to remember, missile defense sounds a lot like the Cold War’s missile and bomber gaps, used by the U.S. national-security establishment to cow the public and crowbar more money into the Pentagon.

Of course, the United States never abandoned missile defenses. The Soviet Union’s disintegration simply offered a convenient excuse to scale back the program critics had quickly dubbed “Star Wars,” for its goal of deploying missile-killing lasers and other high-tech heavenly arms. Instead, it became a much thinner screen designed to handle the minor-league threats posed by North Korea and Iran. Nonetheless, the United States has spent nearly $300 billion on missile defense since Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative 36 years ago.

Those Iranian and North Korean missiles were yesterday’s threats. They’re launched from known sites and follow predictable arcs to their targets. Even so, no nation—including the United States—has ever been able to develop a reliable nationwide missile defense. Having failed the first time around, the government is launching a new effort against an even tougher threat. “Russia and China are developing advanced cruise missiles and hypersonic missile capabilities that can travel at exceptional speeds with unpredictable flight paths that challenge existing defensive systems,” the Defense Department said in its Missile Defense Review, released the same day President Trump visited the Pentagon. “These are challenging realities of the emerging missile threat environment that U.S. missile defense policy, strategy, and capabilities must address.”

Translation: Hold on to your wallet.

There are two basic kinds of hypersonic weapons, which travel between 5 and 25 times the speed of sound. One is a boost-glide version that is lobbed into space aboard a rocket. Then it separates from the rocket and glides to its target, maneuvering to thwart defenses. It can “bounce” off the denser air at lower altitude, extending its range and make it even tougher to destroy. The second type is basically a low-flying scramjet cruise missile (utilizing supersonic air flow throughout the engine) launched from an aircraft and capable of flying beneath or around existing missile defenses.

The deviltry of hypersonic weapons is their marriage of speed and unpredictability. A hypersonic weapon can dodge and weave en route to its target, threatening huge swaths of territory and giving its target only a few minutes to react. Shorter-range variants could threaten U.S. troops anywhere in the world—and Navy aircraft carriers.

These are weapons potential U.S. foes might be interested in brandishing. Last March, Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged about a Russian hypersonic weapon—dubbed the Kinzhal, Russian for “Dagger”—that he said was capable of traveling 2,000 miles at 10 times the speed of sound. Several months later, China said it had successfully tested its Starry Sky 2, a hypersonic missile that flew more than 4,000 miles an hour.

Then, in December, the Russians said they had successfully tested the Avangard, a hypersonic glider capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that attacks “like a meteorite,” according to Putin.

While all such claims need to be taken with a grain of salt—and performance can vary due to weather, altitude and air density—such missiles could fly from New York to Los Angeles in about 12 minutes.

Beijing is “close to fielding hypersonic delivery systems for conventional prompt strike that can reach out thousands of kilometers from the Chinese shore and hold our carrier battle groups, or our forward-deployed forces on land…at risk,” Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin has warned. “We, today, do not…have defenses against those systems,” he noted. “It is among my very highest priorities to erase that disadvantage.”

“You’re shooting a bullet with a bullet,” Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said. “And it gets worse when a bullet is going 13 times the speed of sound, and can maneuver.” (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the POGO website.

https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2019/02/putting-the-hype-in-hy...

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[*] posted on 23-2-2019 at 07:06 PM


Putin Reveals Zircon Mach 9 Missile Specification

by Vladimir Karnozov - February 22, 2019, 8:44 AM


Could this be a forerunner of Zircon? This model of an experimental hypersonic missile was displayed in 2016 by TsIAM. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

While addressing the Russian Federal Assembly on February 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin touched on the Zircon, describing it as “a hypersonic missile able to accelerate to about Mach 9.” The Russian president said this is “yet another innovation, work on which proceeds successfully and shall be completed on schedule.” It has a firing range of “over one thousand kilometers” (540 nm) and “is able to destroy both sea-going and land targets,” he added.

Notably, Putin’s figures are considerably above those previously suggested by local and overseas experts, who believed that Zircon’s firing range would fall somewhere between 400 and 500 km [215-270 nm], and top speed limited to between Mach 5 and 6. According to Putin, the Zircon is primarily intended to arm seagoing platforms such as “serially made surface warships and submarines, including those that are already operational and being built—those that come with the Caliber cruise missile launchers. Because of this, this is not going to be [too] expensive for us.”

At the same time, reports surfacing in the Russian media insist that the baseline version will be followed by a lighter one for deployment on strategic bombers. The most likely candidate is the Tupolev Tu-160/M/M2 (NATO: “Blackjack”) whose performance permits the removal of the solid-fuel booster in the baseline naval version. In the Russian arsenals of advanced air-launched anti-shipping weapons, it would complement the lighter Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile intended for the MiG-31BM/K (“Foxhound”) heavyweight multirole fighters that Putin unveiled during Federal Assembly Address 2018. In between those two, there is a Kh-32 aero-ballistic weapon (improved AS-4 “Kitchen”) intended for the Tu-22M3M ("Backfire") bomber.

Russia appears to have three programs for heavyweight high-speed cruise missiles for applications on aviation platforms. Technically, they employ different propulsion systems: rocket engines running on powder or two-component liquid fuel, and an air-breathing scramjet. Possibly a simultaneous development of all three has been attempted by the Tactical Missile Corporation (TRV) to ensure that at least one technology produces the desired effect: to attain a top speed of more than 9,000 km/h.


Labeled as the 3M22 Zircon, this more traditional missile design surfaced in a presentation by TRV or NPO Mash around 2016. (photo: via Vladimir Karnozov)

Information on Zircon remains scarce. Reportedly, its GRAU index is 3M22 and NATO codename is SS-N-33. It is being developed by the Scientific Production Organization for Machinery-building, or NPO Mash. The body length is estimated at 10 to 11 meters (32-36 feet), warhead weight at 300 to 400 kg (660-880 pounds), and peak altitude along the trajectory at 30 to 40 km (100,000-130,000 feet). The baseline naval version has a two- or even three-stage configuration with acceleration at launch and climb achieved through solid-fuel boosters. An air-breathing scramjet takes over in cruise and terminal stages of flight. Reportedly, the first firing trials took place in March 2016, followed by a launch from a naval platform 11 months later, in which development prototypes accelerated to Mach 8.

General Victor Bondarev, former Russian air force commander and now head of the defense and security committee of the Russian Parliament (Duma), said that the Zircon is already “in the arsenal of the Russian armed forces” and that its deployment will be undertaken within the framework of the State Armament Program 2018-2027. More recently, Rear Admiral Vsevolod Khmyrov said that in the case of being launched from a coastal location, the Zircon can hit a warship 500 km off the coastline in less than five minutes. This would give air defenses insufficient time to detect the incoming threat and react to it, he explained.


Or is this Zircon? The Brahmos II depicted here could be an export derivative of the 3M22 weapon. (photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Since there are no official images available, the Zircon is often depicted in the international media bearing an outward resemblance to the Mach 5 Boeing X-51 Waverider, but the BrahMos II (or IIK), exhibited in a scaled form at AeroIndia’2013, may bear a closer resemblance to the Zircon, since the former is likely be an exportable version of the latter. It is believed that the key technologies for the new missile have been tested on a number of experimental vehicles from TsIAM, (Central Institute of Aviation Motors named after Baranov), and TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after Zhukovsky). Apparently, the Zircon development benefited from earlier testing of the MKB Raduga’s GELA Hypersonic Experimental Flight Vehicle, NATO AS-X-21). Demonstrated at MAKS’1995, this 15-tonne winged missile reached between Mach 4 and Mach 5.
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[*] posted on 24-2-2019 at 02:05 PM


So you've built a wonder weapon and everyone is supposed to prostrate themselves in front of you and beg your forgiveness?

Yes.

Can we see it?

No.

Why not?

It's a secret.

Why have you made a model of an American test platform that does something similar to what you say yours does and displayed this at your announcement?

No particular reason...

Aha. Have you just copied the American system (or what you think it is...) and made up it's specifications as a supposed counter to your paranoid dreams of aggression?

Nyet! Russia Stronk! Puny Americans are doomed!




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 8-3-2019 at 10:54 AM


X-60A hypersonic research rocket completes critical design review

07 MARCH, 2019 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: GARRETT REIM LOS ANGELES

The US Air Force’s X-60A hypersonic research vehicle completed its critical design review.

The programme is now moving into the fabrication phase, with the initial flight of the vehicle scheduled to take place in about a year at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, says the USAF. The liquid-rocket powered vehicle is designed to be launched after being dropped from under the belly of a NASA C-20A, a military version of the Gulfstream III business jet.


Rendering of the X-60A launching from a NASA C-20A

The vehicle is being developed by the USAF Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wight-Patterson Air Force Base, in Ohio in partnership with Generation Orbit Launch Services.

AFRL is developing the X-60A to increase the frequency of flight testing at hypersonic speeds, which it hopes will lower the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies. The USAF will continue to use ground test facilities to study hypersonic technology, but says it wants an option to also test under hypersonic flight conditions.

The X-60A’s propulsion system is a Hadley liquid rocket engine, made by Ursa Major Technologies, which uses liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The system is designed to push the vehicle to speeds above Mach 5.
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[*] posted on 14-3-2019 at 03:02 PM


Raytheon Raises Hypersonics Visibility With DARPA Boost-glide Contract

Mar 14, 2019 Graham Warwick | Aviation Week & Space Technology

For Raytheon, significant company investments in hypersonic weapon technologies over the past five years are beginning to pay off with a $63.3 million DARPA contract to become the second performer on its Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) missile demonstrator program.

Lockheed Martin was selected over Raytheon in 2016 for a $147 million contract to develop the TBG demonstrator, with flight testing now planned to begin late this year. “DARPA brought us back in because Raytheon has a unique technology and system solutions the government felt it needed to demonstrate,” says Tom Bussing, vice president for advanced missile systems at Raytheon.

- Boost-glide TBG funded to critical design review
- Air-breathing HAWC “on track” for flight test

TBG is just one of several hypersonic-related efforts under way within Raytheon, for both rocket-boosted and scramjet-powered high-speed weapons. “Over the last five years, we have invested $100 million in air-breathing and boost-glide technologies,” says Bussing. “We have also invested around $100 million in other systems—electric, sensors, etc.—that such weapons might use.”

TBG is “one example of this significant investment,” Bussing says, adding: “There are other classified programs that I can’t talk about.” Raytheon is also “on track” to flight-test a high-speed strike missile under DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program. Lockheed is working toward flying a demonstrator under the HAWC program as well.

Raytheon is working on offensive and defensive hypersonics. Offensive weapons separate into two broad categories: boost-glide, where an unpowered glider is boosted by rocket to a hypersonic cruise; and air-breathing, where a ramjet/scramjet engine is used to sustain hypersonic flight. In addition to the vehicles, Raytheon is developing “large booster stacks for different applications,” Bussing says.


Raytheon’s latest Tactical Boost Glide concept image shows an unpowered waverider glide vehicle. Credit: Raytheon

So far, Lockheed has benefited most from the Pentagon’s renewed interest in hypersonics, winning contracts for DARPA’s TBG and HAWC demonstrators and for the U.S. Air Force’s Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and Airborne Rapid-Response Weapon (ARRW) operational systems. But Bussing says Raytheon is working on “a number of other program we can’t discuss.”

The HCSW and ARRW are both air-launched boost-glide weapons but of different designs. The HCSW uses a conical glide body developed from the U.S. Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon and based on Sandia National Laboratories’ Swerve winged reentry vehicle. The ARRW is derived from the TBG and has a more aerodynamically shaped glide body with higher lift and lower drag for greater range.

“TBG is a winged glider with a very high lift-to-drag ratio,” says Bussing, adding that the glider is boosted from an air or surface launch system to a certain altitude and speed by a solid rocket and then skips off the atmosphere on the way to its target. A new TBG concept image released by Raytheon shows a waverider shape, with a distinct sharp-edged, ogive-planform wing that blends into a wide, wedge-shaped upper body.

DARPA, in its fiscal 2019 budget documents, revealed that it planned to select a second TBG performer “to evolve an all-up-round design to a critical design level of maturity.” Bussing says the new contract will take Raytheon’s TBG to a critical design review “on an accelerated time line,” after which the government will decide what happens with the weapon.

“We are laser-focused on developing a weapon system with immediate utility to the warfighter,” he says. “We want to give the warfighter something as soon as possible.” Bussing says Raytheon is not interested in developing a high-speed reconnaissance vehicle, a reference to Lockheed’s SR-72 concept.


In addition to the unpowered TBG, Raytheon is developing DARPA’s air-breathing HAWC missile. Credit: Raytheon

“Weapons are our sweet spot. That is why we were brought back in [to TBG]. We have the right aerodynamics, materials and booster, and also the electronics and sensors, to make a functional weapon,” he says. “If DARPA elects to move to the next level, we are prepared for that.”

Raytheon Missile Systems has four lines of business, Bussing explains, three involving production programs and his advanced missile systems unit. Two directorates within advanced missile systems are working on hypersonics technology. One is developing hypersonic offensive weapons and the other counter-hypersonic weapons, he says.

“These are dedicated organizations, all within this product line. That is different to other companies, where hypersonics are spread across multiple business units,” he says. This is a reference to Lockheed, where the hypersonic weapon programs it has won are divided between its aeronautics, missiles and fire control and space sectors, although they work together as virtual teams across these programs.

There has been a rapid buildup of work on hypersonic weapons in recent years, says Bussing, including in high-temperature materials, thermal management systems and the computational analysis skills required to support these programs. But this builds on decades of experience in missile development, he says.

“Raytheon builds systems today that travel at high speed, such as the SM3 [interceptor],” Bussing says. “Several of our systems cross into the domain of high heat-flux rate and operate at high altitudes. Hypersonics is not a technology leap for us. We have unique skills in distinct technology areas that allow us to see a path to fielding operational weapons in the near future.”
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[*] posted on 14-3-2019 at 07:29 PM


Hypersonics Won’t Repeat Mistakes Of F-35

Let a hundred hypersonic flowers bloom, Pentagon officials say, instead of a single cumbersome mega-program.


By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.

on March 13, 2019 at 3:48 PM

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s pushing hard on hypersonics. There’s $2.6 billion in the 2020 budget for R&D. The services are sharing technology and flight test data. But what the military does not want is a massive multi-service program like the F-35.

“It’s a joint interest program, not a joint program,” Army undersecretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters this morning on the sidelines of the McAleese/Credit Suisse conference here. “We don’t want a big kind of program office like you had for” — he paused — “other major defense acquisition programs.”

“We share office space,” McCarthy said. “We will learn from each other’s tests, [and] we will potentially buy components together, [but] not either slow each other down or tweak the requirements.”

“The deployment of the weapons system is fundamentally different, and we respect that,” McCarthy said: The Army needs to launch its hypersonic weapons from trucks and tracked vehicles, the Air Force from jets, the Navy from aircraft, surface ships, and submarines. While the services are eager to share the costs of developing new technologies and to buy common components where they can, he said, none of them wants to have to compromise its unique requirements — the official to-do list of how the weapon has to work — to produce a single weapon all three can use.

(Interestingly, the massive Future Vertical Lift initiative — now split into at least two separate Army programs, the FARA scout and the FLRAA transport — went through this “let’s not be like F-35 stage” almost five years ago).

Yes, the F-35 Joint Program Office did produce three different variants: the Air Force’s F-35A can only operate off runways, the Navy’s F-35C can also fly from aircraft carriers, and the Marines’ F-35B can even take off and land vertically on helipads and highways. But enough key components were shared that what one service wanted often impacted the others, adding complexity or cost for features they didn’t want..

For hypersonics, by contrast, the Defense Department is trying “about half a dozen” independent programs across the services and DARPA, said Mike White, the Pentagon’s assistant director for hypersonics. The exact number, he told reporters yesterday, depends on how strictly you define “hypersonic” — literally, it just means moving through the air Mach 5-plus — and whether you clump smaller contracts together or count them separately.

Six Missiles, A Little Defense, & Some History

White didn’t provide a list, but based on our own research, we’d tentatively identify six, though designations keep changing and some of these programs may be different names for the same thing or spin-offs of common ancestors:

- Navy: Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS).
- Army: Land-Based Hypersonic Missile.
- Air Force: Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and Air-Launched - Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) — both, incidentally, Lockheed Martin products, like the F-35.
- DARPA & Air Force: Tactical Boost-Glide (TBG) and Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).

Note these are all offensive hypersonic missiles. Defense against hypersonic missiles, which is much harder and probably requires new tracking satellites, is currently the job of the Missile Defense Agency. MDA is only getting $157 million for that purpose in 2020 — less than a sixteenth of the offensive funding — but White said defense is laying the technological foundations and is “not very far behind” offense. In third place, he said, is reusable hypersonics: not missiles, which fly one way, once, but actual hypersonic aircraft, manned or unmanned.

White’s spent four decades researching hypersonics and other missile technology, and three months ago he became the chief hypersonics coordinator for the chief fan of hypersonics, Undersecretary for Research & Engineering Mike Griffin. In that role, White said, he handles “vision,” “strategy,” and “integration” of the different programs — but he doesn’t own them. They’re owned by the services, which signed a Memorandum Of Agreement coordinating their efforts last spring.

White said he hasn’t seen any resistance from the services to overall DoD direction, only “an unprecedented among of collaboration.”

“We have multiple programs sharing a common booster, for example,” White said, but with “different hypersonic front ends.” Three of the programs, he added, derive from the Navy-led Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS), which in turn evolved from the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which itself evolved from Sandia National Laboratory’s Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle Experiment (SWERVE).

CPS had its first test flight in 2017 and will have another “in about a year,” White said. Across all the programs, “you will see a dramatic increase in the number of flight tests we conduct over the next several years,” which will require a corresponding ramp-up in the nationwide testing infrastructure.

How much? The current five-year spending figure for hypersonics across the Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP) is $10.5 billion, but that’s clearly a placeholder. ($10.5 billion divided by five years gives an average of only $2.1 billion, which makes no sense when this year, the first year, is already $2.6 billion and that figure is only going to go up). Plus Congress may plus-up funding well above the request, as it did last year, when it increased hypersonics to a total of $2.4 billion.

A big source of uncertainty: We’re still experimenting. “Right now…. there are not acquisition programs of record,” White cautioned. “Those programs are flight demonstration prototype programs and weapons systems prototype programs.” The decision to start a formal acquisition program of record, he said, is still “a number of years” away.

The ultimate goal? “A family of systems,” White said, “[using] air, sea, and land launch, that can handle both medium ranges and more intermediate ranges — think coastal attack and deep inland attack.”


Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. graphic from Google Maps imagery & data Approximate ranges in miles from Chinese territory to select US and allied targets. SOURCE: Google Maps

(White didn’t explain his terms, but this is presumably from the perspective of US forces firing from the sea or island bases at an opponent on the mainland of Eurasia, like Russia or China: Shorter-range weapons can only hit the coast, longer-ranger ones can go “deep inland.” The reference to “intermediate” ranges suggests somewhere between 500 and 5,500 km, the ranges covered by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty from which the administration is now withdrawing).

White wouldn’t get more specific about ranges, understandably, except to say “it’s not intercontinental.” That’s significant, because previous efforts on what was called Prompt Global Strike were scuppered by fears that a sufficiently fast and long-range conventional missile would be mistaken for a nuclear ICBM, potentially triggering a nuclear war. (Even the original Navy/Air Force concept to break through China’s layered defense, AirSea Battle, faced deep concerns about how strikes on the Chinese mainland might escalate).

But that previous program envisioned weapons with ICBM-like ranges and flight paths, White said, firing from ICBM launch sites. In fact, one candidate was simply a Navy Trident ballistic missile with the nuclear warhead replaced by a conventional one.

Today’s hypersonics programs, however, will have shorter ranges and different flight paths. They’ll also be unique systems that were developed solely to carry conventional warheads, without a nuclear variant. Said White: “Any adversary who’s got the capability to detect [them] will quickly understand the difference.”
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[*] posted on 15-3-2019 at 09:37 AM


New Long-Term Pentagon Plan Boosts Hypersonics, But Only Prototypes

Mar 15, 2019 Steve Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Despite an accelerated and deep road map for U.S. hypersonic weapons technologies, the Defense Department’s fiscal 2020 budget request shows that the path beyond operational flight and weapons prototypes is still long and uncertain.

Between six and 10 hypersonic vehicle programs—depending on how they are counted—are funded in the budget request, says Mike White, assistant director for hypersonics to the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. Moreover, the Pentagon plans to spend $10.5 billion over the next five years on hypersonic programs, including $2.6 billion in fiscal 2020. Both numbers represent a “dramatic” funding increase compared to the previous year’s long-term plan, White says.

That spending supports a broad range of hypersonic applications across all three legs of the Pentagon’s strategy, which includes fielding long-range strike weapons in the near-term, adding defensive interceptors in the midterm and developing manned vehicles in the distant future, he says.

Although the plan is broad and deep, it remains limited so far to developing vehicles into operational prototypes. It is a designation that indicates a commitment to acquiring small batches of weapons. The Pentagon’s five-year spending plan still stops short of establishing a traditional program of record for a hypersonic vehicle. A program of record would imply a long-term commitment to a specific technology, with an approved requirement and a funded plan to complete development and launch production and provide sustainment.


As the Pentagon ramps up spending on hypersonic weapons, U.S. military researchers still are gathering fundamental information about the aerodynamics of flight over Mach 5. Credit: Joshua Armstrong/U.S. Air Force

In this case, the lack of a program of record also shields the hypersonic projects from competing with other priorities in each service’s budget. The undersecretary’s office is paying for the prototypes instead.

“Those [hypersonic] programs are flight-demonstration prototype programs and weapon-system prototype programs,” White says. “We’ve not made any decisions about going to a program of record. That’s out a number of years.”

The main purpose for the prototypes is to identify “the most viable overarching weapon system concepts to choose from and then make a decision based on success and challenges,” White says.

The budget request would fund four different operational prototypes managed by three different services, at least two experimental concepts administered by DARPA and the Air Force’s X-60A hypersonic testbed, plus several subsystem-level projects such as DARPA’s Advanced Full-Range Engine turbine-based combined-cycle propulsion system.

The operational prototypes include a collaboration among the Army, Navy and Air Force on a common glide vehicle. The glide vehicle for the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon demonstration, which resulted in one successful launch in 2011 and one failure in 2014, was adapted by the Navy and successfully tested in October 2017 as Flight Experiment 1. Now the Navy is refining the design under the Intermediate-Range Conventional Prompt Strike (IR CPS) program. The new glide vehicle will be able to launch from Mark 41 Vertical Launch Systems on submarines and surface vessels. Variations of the Navy’s design also are to be used by the Army and Air Force, including the ground-launched Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) and the B-52-launched Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW). The former could be launched from a silo or a mobile vehicle, but more likely the latter, White says.

“That’s still in discussion, but my feeling is that that ultimately will be launched by a mobile-based vehicle,” he notes, adding that would require developing a new launch vehicle.

In return, the Air Force is sharing its design for an improved booster for the HCSW with the Navy and the Army programs.

If fielded, the common glide vehicle will become one of the military’s most advanced weapons, with the ability to fly at speeds over Mach 5 yet still maneuver within the atmosphere. Paradoxically, the glide vehicle is descended from a 40-year-old design by the Sandia National Laboratories, which was first flown in the early 1980s. That helps reduce the risk for the IR CPS, LRHW and HCSW but limits their speed, range and maneuvering performance.

A more ambitious project supported by the budget request is the Air Force’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), which builds on the more advanced designs of DARPA’s Falcon and ongoing Tactical Boost Glide programs. If successful, a fielded ARRW would become the world’s first air-launched boost-glide weapon featuring a high lift-over-drag profile.

The shared goal of the common glide-vehicle-derived and ARRW projects is to regain an offensive advantage for the U.S. military. Russia has disclosed three hypersonic projects, including the Avangard boost-glide system, air-launched Kinzhal air-to-ground missile and Zircon anti-ship missile. China also is reportedly close to fielding a boost-glide weapon called the DF-17. By fielding a family of air-, sea- and land-launched missiles with hypersonic speed over the next decade, Pentagon officials hope to establish dominance in the hypersonic domain, White says. Importantly, the U.S. projects stop short of developing weapons with intercontinental range, so they will be aimed at targets 500-5,000 km (300-3,100 mi.) away.

“The capabilities we will have in 2028 will include a family of systems to be compatible with air, sea and land launch that can handle both medium ranges and more intermediate ranges,” White explains. “So think coastal attack as well as deep inland attack.”

The existence of hypersonic weapons changes the nature of military tactics. White cites the example of a maritime engagement in which one side has a hypersonic missile and other has a subsonic weapon, such as an antiship cruise missile. If the target is 500 mi. away, it will take an hour for the subsonic missile to strike, but the hypersonic missile can travel the same distance in 10 min.

“They can shoot four or five times before we know whether we hit in the first place, so that’s generally not a winning proposition,” White acknowledges. “As we look forward to the future and the potential of facing adversary capabilities that have speed and range of hypersonic systems, we have to match that capability and exceed that capability to be effective and dominate the battlefield.”
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[*] posted on 20-3-2019 at 07:22 PM


Northrop launches hypersonic defense push

By: Aaron Mehta   13 hours ago


Concept art from Northrop Grumman shows a potential architecture for defensing against hypersonic missiles. (Northrop Grumman)

WASHINGTON — With the Pentagon making hypersonic weapons a priority, Northrop Grumman is throwing its hat into the ring in an attempt to claim space in the still-early hypersonic defense market.

The company last week launched a new campaign website focused on hypersonic defense as part of a broader push into the business area, where the Pentagon expects to spend more than $10 billion in the next five years to develop offensive and defensive capabilities.

Hypersonic defense is significantly behind hypersonic offense, something Kenn Todorov, vice president of missile defense solutions and the lead for Northrop’s counter-hypersonic efforts, acknowledged in a March 19 interview. That means there is a lot of room for experimentation in how to tackle the issue.

“What we’re hearing from our customer is: ‘We want to reach out and touch this thing as far forward into the battlespace, giving the war fighter as much battlespace as possible,’ ” he said. “This threat spends most of its time in the glide phase, and I think that’s where we want to reach out and touch it, both kinetically or with” non-kinetic means.

Northrop has benefited by eschewing subtlety for direct advertisements. In 2014, when the Air Force asked competitors on the Long Range Strike Bomber program to keep a low profile, Northrop instead launched a TV, radio and print advertising blitz. Despite angering some in the service with that move, the company eventually won the contract for what has since become the B-21 bomber.

How aggressive the company intends to be with this campaign remains to be seen, but the fact that Northrop launched the site around the same time as the fiscal 2020 budget release, and then reached out to reporters, indicates the company hopes to establish itself in the hypersonic defense market ahead of potential competitors.

As to the strategy, Todorov and Joanna Cangianelli, the company’s direct of business development for missile defense solutions and counter-hypersonics, laid out a four-tiered layer for the company’s approach:

- A sensor layer based in space.
- Kinetic interceptors, which will be built off existing capabilities within the company and work for both the terminal and glide phases.
- Non-kinetic capabilities, primarily cyber, electronic warfare and directed energy.
- The command-and-control systems to make it all work.

Development-wise, expect a focus first on the space-based sensor layer, per the Pentagon’s focus. The other systems will follow, building off existing technologies on which the company has already been developing, said Cangianelli.

The two executives declined to go into technical or strategic details for competitive reasons, including whether the non-kinetic capabilities could be part of a “left of launch” defense — that is, a capability to take out a hypersonic weapon before it can get into the air.

But at various points they acknowledged that Northrop’s addition of Orbital ATK has added “extensive” capabilities relevant to hypersonic defense, that the firm has seen “breakthroughs” in the non-kinetic options, and that they see close allies as “potential partners” for the hypersonic defense mission, either as contributors to developing technology or as participants in the broader defense network.

In addition, Todorov insisted several times that the idea of taking an existing interceptor and modifying it simply won’t work, given the physics of hypersonic weapons.

“As a company, we’re investing a lot of our own resources to give us a leg up and to do some things so we’ll be ready, forward-looking as opposed to reactionary,” he said. “We clearly are anticipating that those numbers will come, and we want to be ready for them and be out front when we do so we’ll be well-positioned.”
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[*] posted on 18-4-2019 at 04:30 PM


DARPA Hints At Future Platform For Armys Mobile Hypersonic Launcher

Apr 18, 2019 Stephen Trimble | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Heavy-Duty Mobile

Although classification shrouds many details of the Pentagons $10.5 billion, five-year rush to field hypersonic weapons from sea, air and land, only the Armys launch platform remains a mystery.

The Mk. 41 vertical launch system tubes embedded in the U.S. Navys surface vessels and submarines will launch the future Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon. Boeing B-52s will launch the Air Forces near-term Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and medium-term Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). In February, a senior defense official said the Army was likely to use a new mobile launcher for the future Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) instead of a fixed silo but did not identify the mobile system.

Now a clue has emerged within a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) draft solicitation published on April 10 by DARPA. Just as the defense agencys Tactical Boost Glide program is intended to help the Air Force field the advanced ARRWarguably the worlds most sophisticated hypersonic glide vehicleon time, DARPAs OpFires program is focused on helping the Army deploy a second-generation hypersonic weapon in the next decade.

- U.S. Marine Corps transporter is a possible mobile platform
- OpFires proposed rocket is sized for launching small satellites

The BAA informs the three bidding teams (Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sierra Nevada Corp. and a Dynetics-led effort) for the Phase 3 contract under OpFires, that the Logistic Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) is a possible launch platform.

The LVSR is an intriguing option for the Armys most advanced artillery system. The 10-wheel-drive LVSR is larger than, but comparable to, the Armys only heavy artillery launcherthe eight-wheel-drive Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truckthat serves as the mobile launch platform for the Armys exoatmospheric Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptor. But the heavier LVSR is now operated exclusively by the Marine Corps, which uses it as a wrecker and cargo hauler, not a missile launcher.

The possible selection of the LVSR offers new insight into the ground-launched component of the U.S. militarys expanding pursuit of hypersonic weapons. Not only does it suggest a possible Marine Corps role in the Armys second-generation hypersonic weapons program, the heavy chassis required for OpFires points to a missile with a booster that is large enough for possible space launch applications.


The OpFires program proposes to deliver an advanced new rocket booster to propel future Army and possibly Marine Corps hypersonic weapons hundreds of miles downrange. Credit: DARPA

In the near term, the Army plans to deploy the LRHW with a booster and glide vehicle derived from the CPS Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator (HTD). The glide vehicle is a derivative of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) demonstrated by the Army in 2011; the Navy demonstrated an adaptation in 2017. Another version of the AHW glider, which is itself derived from the Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle, forms the basis for the Air Forces HCSW. Meanwhile, the Army and Navy intend to use a common booster for the hypersonic glider, but it is classified. The Navy plans to begin testing the new HTD in the latter half of the year.

This HTD will further mature the hypersonic technology and provide upgrades to key components to make the system more survivable and effective, a spokesman for Army headquarters tells Aviation Week.


The 10-wheel-drive Logistics Vehicle System Replacement has emerged as a new candidate for the Armys mobile launcher for hypersonic weapons. Credit: Cpl. Paul Peterson/U.S. Marine Corps

Underscoring the Armys urgency to field the follow-on LRHW, management for the HTD has transitioned from the research-oriented Space and Missile Defense Command to the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, a high-ranking officer says.

Whereas the LRHW will be deployed with proven technologies, the goal of OpFires is to push the boundaries of rocket propulsion, using liquid and hybrid prop.ellants, variable-thrust nozzles, pulse motors and reignitable propellants to vary the thrust and range of the booster.

A member of the Dynetics-led-team tells Aviation Week that it has tested a subscale, throttleable rocket motor designed by California-based Exquadrum, whose CEO Kevin Mahaffy, notes: We can throttle our solid rocket motor (SRM) and turn it off when we reach the right weapon-release conditions. From ignition on, we can throttle the SRM or completely turn it off.

A rocket motor of that size supports the Armys objectives for OpFires but could have other military and commercial applications, Mahaffy says, including space launch vehicles.
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[*] posted on 24-4-2019 at 03:28 PM


Air Force Expanding Hypersonic Technology Testing at Two Indiana Universities


High Speed Strike Weapon (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

23 Apr 2019

Military.com | By Oriana Pawlyk

The U.S. Air Force is expanding its hypersonic testing facilities, relying on university partnerships for its future wind tunnel experiments.

Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, both in Indiana, are building a series of new wind tunnels for hypersonic technology testing, according to service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

The Air Force's goal is to get more testing done in quiet wind tunnels.

"A quiet wind tunnel is one designed to minimize freestream disturbances and yield more accurate aerothermodynamics predictions," Stefanek said in an email Friday.

The universities already have one hypersonic testing tunnel each and are building additional tunnels for their aerospace research alongside the service.

A newly constructed tunnel at Notre Dame, which the university unveiled last year, was built with basic research funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, via the Defense University Research Instrumentation program, Stefanek said.

The Notre Dame's tunnel "is double the diameter of the two other 'quiet' hypersonic wind tunnels in the U.S.," she said. Those tunnels are located at Texas A&M and Purdue University.

Construction and enhancements on the tunnels at Purdue and Notre Dame have been funded through congressional additions in the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets, Stefanek said.

According to the Notre Dame News, the university unveiled its first quiet, Mach 6-capable tunnel in November. Its nozzle diameter specifications make it two-and-a-half times larger than the other quiet wind tunnels in the U.S. Boeing Co. research teams collaborated with the university on the program.

The project costs roughly $5.4 million, according to the newspaper. The system, which tests a vehicle flying six times the speed of sound, could help design a commercial airplane that would fly from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles in under 25 minutes, Notre Dame said.

The university is now working on tunnels capable of producing Mach 8 and Mach 10 flight speeds, according to Thomas Corke, Clark Equipment Professor and director of Notre Dame's Institute for Flow Physics and Control.

Purdue University in 2018 announced it had joined a team led by the University of Dayton Research Institute for hypersonic research. The endeavor was funded with a $9.8 million, three-year contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, according to the school.

Outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson in recent weeks has said the service is working to accelerate its hypersonic research.

In addition to the facilities in Indiana, the Air Force is upgrading its systems at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, Wilson told lawmakers during a House Armed Services Committee hearing April 2.

The base hosts the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) and operates "more than 55 aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, rocket and turbine engine test cells, space environmental chambers, arc heaters, ballistic ranges and other specialized units located in six states," according to the service.

"Overall, on testing and training ranges, there's a significant investment in the Air Force budget in improving our testing and training ranges," Wilson said.

The Air Force unveiled its new science and technology strategy last week, which calls for the service to partner with industry and academia "to maximize and expand its technological advantage in the new era of peer-to-peer threats," the service said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
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