MBDA working on new SPEAR-EW electronic warfare weapon

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timmymagic

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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 22:12

element1loop wrote:
eloise wrote:SPEAR-EW do the same task as MALD-J/X

Image


These are very different capabilities though.

SPEAR-EW would have a flight time of a few minutes and very limited maneuver, other than to spiral-loiter as it descends over a pop-up with its effective footprint constantly shrinking as it glides lower. And is likely to be lower wattage and only able to address the system it was targeted toward, to meet a specific short-term need. I'm guessing that need involves having a cheap area-noise-maker and decoy/bluff which allows Typhoon to operate in an area for long enough to execute an attack before leaving the area before the SPEAR-EW is spent. And not just to assist a weapon to a target as the Typhoons could do this with their own EA and radars. Can't really see a tactical need for it with the F-35B though, except maybe to aid a larger attack on a cluster of targets.

But MALD can be a tactical decoy of course, plus pretend to be something else. But it's also shaped for low-observability to make it more difficult to engage if it were to detect a threat engaging it and stop emitting to go 'defensive', and break a lock against a system that's trying to engage it. Plus it could fly out of a threat area, or else to higher radius to observe from there, and gather ELINT, recon and then relay it plus targeting-data on what it found in that area. It can play tactical cat-'n-mouse games with threat systems for about an hour like that, constantly stirring the pot and shutting down, or else using EA plus maneuver and can scan and test out a large area. So MALD can do all SPEAR-EW does even when it just ran out of fuel, so (IMO) these are not really doing equivalent tactical missions prior. The SPEAR-EW would necessarily be much more narrow-focused on a specific attack or decoy task.


I think you've made a mistake. Your entire post is predicated on it.

Spear EW is powered....its not a glide weapon. It's just a Spear missile without the warhead and seeker, with an EW payload in its place.

It's 15 kg lighter than MALD-J. If a similar fraction of its body is devoted to fuel there is no reason why it can't have a range similar to MALD-J. Particularly as it uses the same turbojet, and will be 10 years newer.

There are 3 Spear variants on the way:

Spear - Miniature cruise missile with Brimstone technology, powered by TJ-150
Spear EW - Decoy/Jammer powered by TJ-150
Spear Glide - Unpowered glide weapon, same form factor as Spear/EW, same seeker/guidance but with a larger warhead occupying the space that the engine and fuel do in Spear. A direct competitor to SDB2 Stormbreaker.

MBDA have also advised that there are further Spear variants on the way and 'spiral' development.

Other variants could be a value-engineered/simple version. Basically Spear Glide without the MMW seeker, just GPS/INS and perhaps SAL. This would be a direct competitor to SDB1. The only other air laucnhed Spear variants I could think of (although I might be being a little unimaginative) would be a Spear Recon variant, basically an attritable UAV to enable a look 'over the hill' and a Spear air to air variant specifically to tackle slower UAV's and helicopters, its long range (with a very small warhead) could enable it to conduct its own searches in a target area.

'Spiral' development could be connected to the CAMM/Brimstone hybrids that were shown last year and the ground attack/SEAD variant of Meteor that was mentioned this year (there was a green painted, presumably ground launched Meteor shown by MBDA last year.

Other than that the real confusion is what on earth is the purpose of the very similar Smart Glider Light that MBDA announced then showed at Le Bourget. It appears the only use for it is to enable the French to avoid buying a UK munition...
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element1loop

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Unread post14 Sep 2019, 23:44

timmymagic wrote:I think you've made a mistake. Your entire post is predicated on it.

Spear EW is powered....its not a glide weapon. It's just a Spear missile without the warhead and seeker, with an EW payload in its place.

It's 15 kg lighter than MALD-J. If a similar fraction of its body is devoted to fuel there is no reason why it can't have a range similar to MALD-J. Particularly as it uses the same turbojet, and will be 10 years newer.


Correct, I did think it was just a glide-body.

Though SPEAR-EW is actually about 75 lb (~35 kg) lighter than MALD-J which is based on an ADM-160C, not the <250lb ADM-160B, and has >500nm (>925km range) with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling.

SPEAR-EW range is given as over double SPEAR glide-bomb range, so a bit over 150 km range, so isn't similar to the ADM-160C in performance which appears would have ~775km more range than this proposed SPEAR-EW.

About MALD and MALD-J
MALD® is a state-of-the-art, low-cost expendable flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs fewer than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities


The ADM-160C 'MALD-J' version has a JASSM-ER equivalent range of >925 km, with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling, so should be able to accompany or even precede JASSM-ER strikes. MALD-J and JASSM-ER both reached service at around the same time, MALD maybe beat JASSM-ER to service by about 1-year. Obviously accompanying JASSM type weapons is not its only potential application.
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Unread post15 Sep 2019, 15:29

element1loop wrote:
timmymagic wrote:I think you've made a mistake. Your entire post is predicated on it.

Spear EW is powered....its not a glide weapon. It's just a Spear missile without the warhead and seeker, with an EW payload in its place.

It's 15 kg lighter than MALD-J. If a similar fraction of its body is devoted to fuel there is no reason why it can't have a range similar to MALD-J. Particularly as it uses the same turbojet, and will be 10 years newer.


Correct, I did think it was just a glide-body.

Though SPEAR-EW is actually about 75 lb (~35 kg) lighter than MALD-J which is based on an ADM-160C, not the <250lb ADM-160B, and has >500nm (>925km range) with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling.

SPEAR-EW range is given as over double SPEAR glide-bomb range, so a bit over 150 km range, so isn't similar to the ADM-160C in performance which appears would have ~775km more range than this proposed SPEAR-EW.

About MALD and MALD-J
MALD® is a state-of-the-art, low-cost expendable flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs fewer than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities


The ADM-160C 'MALD-J' version has a JASSM-ER equivalent range of >925 km, with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling, so should be able to accompany or even precede JASSM-ER strikes. MALD-J and JASSM-ER both reached service at around the same time, MALD maybe beat JASSM-ER to service by about 1-year. Obviously accompanying JASSM type weapons is not its only potential application.


No, MALD-J has just 200 nm range, according to Raytheon.
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ricnunes

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Unread post15 Sep 2019, 23:52

taog wrote:No, MALD-J has just 200 nm range, according to Raytheon.


Unless I'm reading something wrong, Raytheon states that it has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles:

https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/mald

The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALD decoys into hostile airspace. Weighing less than 300 pounds, the weapon has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles). After it is launched from its host aircraft, the MALD decoy flies a preprogrammed mission.



And 500 nautical miles converted to the metric system is 926km.
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Unread post16 Sep 2019, 01:02

taog wrote:
element1loop wrote:
About MALD and MALD-J
MALD® is a state-of-the-art, low-cost expendable flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs fewer than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities


The ADM-160C 'MALD-J' version has a JASSM-ER equivalent range of >925 km, with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling, so should be able to accompany or even precede JASSM-ER strikes. MALD-J and JASSM-ER both reached service at around the same time, MALD maybe beat JASSM-ER to service by about 1-year. Obviously accompanying JASSM type weapons is not its only potential application.


No, MALD-J has just 200 nm range, according to Raytheon.


The quoted text and link provided to it is from Raytheon.

http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities
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Unread post16 Sep 2019, 02:32

ricnunes wrote:
taog wrote:No, MALD-J has just 200 nm range, according to Raytheon.


Unless I'm reading something wrong, Raytheon states that it has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles:

https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/mald

The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALD decoys into hostile airspace. Weighing less than 300 pounds, the weapon has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles). After it is launched from its host aircraft, the MALD decoy flies a preprogrammed mission.



And 500 nautical miles converted to the metric system is 926km.


Raytheon only stated that MALD has 500 nm range, they did not mention the MALD-J's range.

The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALD decoys into hostile airspace. Weighing less than 300 pounds, the weapon has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles). After it is launched from its host aircraft, the MALD decoy flies a preprogrammed mission.
https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/mald


MALD® is a state-of-the-art, low-cost expendable flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs fewer than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities



Mald-J's range once appeared in a video released by Raytheon several yeas ago:

Image

You could see when adding the Jamming package, the range dropped from 500nm to 200nm.

Image
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ricnunes

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Unread post16 Sep 2019, 10:54

@taog

Ok, makes sense. Thanks for the heads up.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post16 Sep 2019, 22:27

Correct, I did think it was just a glide-body.

Though SPEAR-EW is actually about 75 lb (~35 kg) lighter than MALD-J which is based on an ADM-160C, not the <250lb ADM-160B, and has >500nm (>925km range) with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling.

SPEAR-EW range is given as over double SPEAR glide-bomb range, so a bit over 150 km range, so isn't similar to the ADM-160C in performance which appears would have ~775km more range than this proposed SPEAR-EW.

About MALD and MALD-J
MALD® is a state-of-the-art, low-cost expendable flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs fewer than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.
MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.

http://raytheon.mediaroom.com/2017-02-2 ... pabilities


The ADM-160C 'MALD-J' version has a JASSM-ER equivalent range of >925 km, with Mach ~0.91 and ~40,000 ft ceiling, so should be able to accompany or even precede JASSM-ER strikes. MALD-J and JASSM-ER both reached service at around the same time, MALD maybe beat JASSM-ER to service by about 1-year. Obviously accompanying JASSM type weapons is not its only potential application.[/quote]

There's a lot not known about Spear, a lot for obvious reasons, but I think we can make educated guesses about some of its performance.

I've not seen anything mentioned regarding Spear EW ranges anywhere. And nothing about the Spear Glide variants range either (although it would probably be fair to say its going to have a similar range to SDB2 Stormbreaker) as apart from a press release initially they've yet to show it anywhere and have been very tight lipped, which is understandable as Spear EW was launched at the same time and is far more interesting.

As ever with UK missiles and the MoD the actual ranges are closely guarded. But there have been ranges posited for Spear of over 100 miles, including over 120 miles. Which would make sense, as otherwise why bother with the additional complications and cost? After all a very similar SDB2 gets out to 70 miles...The range of Spear EW is going to be purely dependent on the size of the EW package. If its the same size as the MMW seeker on regular Spear, and presumably shares the same IMU, GPS and INS it will leave a large volume of space, currently occupied by the warhead free for fuel. Current guesstimates for that are c15kg.

Using the broadly similar SDB2 (they're pretty much the same size and shape) we can work out (roughly) the warhead size and fuel carried by Spear. So...
SDB2 - Weight 93 kg, warhead size 48kg - Weight of sensors, guidance and body 45kg
Spear - Weight c100kg, TJ-150 21kg, using the 45kg sensors, guidance and body weight from SDB2 that leaves us c34kg for warhead and fuel. We know that the warhead is at least twice the size of Brimstone 2 (6kg) so 15 kg seems a fair assumption as there needs to be a decent volume of fuel to make the entire exercise worth it. So c20kg in fuel in a normal Spear seems reasonable. Spear EW could make use of the additional space to carry 15kg extra in fuel (I suspect they won't want to mess around with all up weights because that would necessitate a larger trials programme, so even if more fuel can be squeezed in efficiently they won't). If we go with the 120 mile range of Spear (which I think is practical, but obviously dependent on height of launch) I think we could be looking at a range of >200 miles for Spear EW.

A range of >200 miles would make sense. The UK was interested in MALD, particularly as a stand in jammer to cover a strike. To do that you need to be able to loiter to cover a strikes ingress and egress. With a range of 120 miles you're only going to be able to loiter for about 10 minutes, which clearly isn't enough. And its worth while remembering that both MALD and Spear share the same engine...
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