F-35 Ready For Missile Defense By 2025: MDA Chief

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usnvo

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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 22:37

marauder2048 wrote:It's more a JSOW-sized weapon with an NCADE upper stage though I've seen
some wild variations in Vbo even for the "classic" NCADE + AMRAAM booster stack.

I tend to think that fast jets like the F-35 might still be preferred because they are much less
reliant on offboard cues, operate in pairs so stereo ranging is there, can readily position for
a shot and can impart their higher velocity to the interceptor.

We've talked mainly about boost phase intercept but there's no reason the F-35 wouldn't
be very good in the terminal phase as well with a shortened PAC-3 MSE like interceptor.

Corbett and Zarchan have a number of studies out there on these topics; Corbett was the
NCADE program manager at MDA.


I think there are two components to using the F-35 in an anti-ballistic missile role.

First is early detection and tracking. As previously demonstrated, the F-35 sensors were able to track boosting missiles from extended ranges. This is not unique to the F-35, but a combination of stealth, DAS/EOTS, sensor fusion, networking, and satellite communications allows for rapid detection, identification, tracking, and reporting of the missiles. This is a valuable capability regardless of the ability to shoot down the missile.

Second is elimination of the missile. As I see it, there are actually three components here.
A. Before launch. The F-35s is the most likely assets to be assigned to do "Scud Hunting". So beyond already being in the most likely places (at least what the US thinks is the most likely location) for detection, it can also attack TELs.
B. Within the atmosphere. Because of A, the F-35 is most likely to be in position to destroy a boosting missile with a slightly modified AAM. While you can't guarantee you will be directly over a missile on launch, you may be close enough. And, since you will probably have simplified ROE (anything launching is hostile), quick OODA loop for launch.
C. Engagement outside the normal weapons envelope. This will require a new missile, but you don't have to have to plan to kill the missile in space. Even if you could just kill the missile while it is boosting and under 250,000ft or so, you still would have an excellent chance to engage, especially given you are in the area and actively looking.

So what kind of load-out would be required?
The first mission doesn't require any weapons, just an expedited reporting capability. Not every F-35 would use the capability, but if you were in the launch area, you would be primed to report (or more likely your sensor fusion engine would do it for you)
The second mission would probably require SDBII, AMRAAM, and something better, which I will call Advanced Boost Phase Interceptor or ABPI. So, a pair of F-35As with 4 SDBII, 2 AMRAAM, and 1-2 ABPI each could probably cover a 40nm x 40nm box with a significant chance of finding the TEL and/or engaging the missile at least once.

At the very least, they could likely detect, identify, start tracking, and report the missile within seconds of launch.

If nothing else, just the ability to claim that the F-35s are overhead and can disrupt the launch will have a deterrent effect on the enemy, much as the threat of mining or fear of the presence of submarines restricts seaborne options. In fact, even without any F-35s so deployed, the possibility they could be there makes for great information warfare.
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Unread post27 Feb 2019, 23:44

A dorsal laser turret firing upward from 40,000ft would have some nice range wouldn't it?
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 03:07

Given the 100% failure rate achieved by the 1991 Scud Hunt in destroying TELs,
I'm going to suggest that left-of-launch is really hard given that it's easy and relatively cheap
for the opponent to proliferate decoys, employ cover, concealment and terminal defenses.

Also, I'm trying to recall but I think the orthodox Air Force view is that a TEL is only counted as
destroyed if it's flipped on its back or completely disintegrated.

OTOH, there's no convincing decoy for a boosting ballistic missile. There's no cover.
There's no concealment. And no terminal defenses. That leaves evasive maneuvers
and other burn profile games that impose a cost on the ballistic missile in payload, range
and $$ and can probably still be accommodated by the divert capability described above.

IIRC, hardening against lasers with improved materials and or rolling the missile during
boost imposed a much lower penalty than the countermeasures for defeating a
kinetic energy threat.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 04:38

Scud hunting will be very different from days past. Potential battlefields will have been under very Intense scrutiny in the age of Big Data. The F-35 is just the cherry on Top of the sundae.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 16:04

popcorn wrote:Scud hunting will be very different from days past. Potential battlefields will have been under very Intense scrutiny in the age of Big Data. The F-35 is just the cherry on Top of the sundae.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon_Stare
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 19:54

Reuters has an article on this subject.

One of the interesting comments.

“You would need to be very close to the launch site, within North Korea itself, said physicist Laura Grego, who studies missile defense at the Union of Concerned Scientists (editorial note here, these are the same "experts" who claimed it would be impossible to hit a ballistic missile in flight). Grego said that even if the air-to-air missile traveled at five times the speed of sound, the F-35 would need to be within about 50 miles of the missile, “probably closer, to be realistic.”

That gives a huge advantage to the stealthy F-35 which could get much closer to a possible launch area than a non-stealth aircraft.

“This is one of the advantages of the F-35,” said retired U.S. general David Deptula. He added that the radar-evading jets “can get in much closer to an adversary launch area than ... a non-stealthy aircraft.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nort ... SKCN1QG0JC

While the Reuters article kind of ignores the second day of the conflict role, that is the one I see as the most important for the F-35, at least in a Kinetic role. Even if you can't stop the first one, you are going to want to suppress any later launches, and that would seem where the F-35 offers a real compelling advantage. And it wouldn't just be ICBMs, it would apply equally to SRBMs, MRBMs, IRBMs, and ICBMs. And the fact you can do it while you are doing a mission you would be assigned anyway with weapons you would be carrying anyway is a real plus.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 20:26

marauder2048 wrote:Given the 100% failure rate achieved by the 1991 Scud Hunt in destroying TELs,
I'm going to suggest that left-of-launch is really hard given that it's easy and relatively cheap
for the opponent to proliferate decoys, employ cover, concealment and terminal defenses.

Also, I'm trying to recall but I think the orthodox Air Force view is that a TEL is only counted as
destroyed if it's flipped on its back or completely disintegrated.

OTOH, there's no convincing decoy for a boosting ballistic missile. There's no cover.
There's no concealment. And no terminal defenses. That leaves evasive maneuvers
and other burn profile games that impose a cost on the ballistic missile in payload, range
and $$ and can probably still be accommodated by the divert capability described above.


Finding TELs will be hard, but there are still going to be aircraft assigned to that mission and those aircraft are most likely going to be stealth aircraft, so F-35s are probably the aircraft used. Additionally, the combination of sensors and the fusion of those sensors available to the F-35 will make it somewhat easier but it will still be hard. But even if you can only find the TEL from the smoke trail, you can fire off a couple of SDBIIs to kill it after you launch on the missile itself.

I doubt there is anything that a boosting missile can do that will materially effect the Pk of a AAM from approaching one. They can't speed up, can't slow down, can't make a high G turn, can't see the missile coming, can't fire decoys, etc. If you are close enough and fire soon enough, it is pretty well dead absent a AAM failure (which is why you fire two!).

marauder2048 wrote:IIRC, hardening against lasers with improved materials and or rolling the missile during
boost imposed a much lower penalty than the countermeasures for defeating a
kinetic energy threat.


I think weather is probably your worst obstacle as well as just developing the laser power. The problem with most counter-measures against lasers is that they have never been developed, let alone tested. So effectively evaluating how well they would work is difficult. For instance, rolling the missile, while possible, would dramatically complicate the guidance as well as being less valuable against a really powerful laser. Given the need for maximum lightness and the forces involved in the launch, it doesn't take much to make one fail.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 21:17

usnvo wrote:
I doubt there is anything that a boosting missile can do that will materially effect the Pk of a AAM from approaching one. They can't speed up, can't slow down, can't make a high G turn, can't see the missile coming, can't fire decoys, etc. If you are close enough and fire soon enough, it is pretty well dead absent a AAM failure (which is why you fire two!).


Actually... they can speed up -- they are accelerating all the time. And climbing, faster and faster.

My swag estimates you have 60 seconds, 120 tops to affect a kill of a climbing ballistic missile before they will be too high, and too fast to intercept with a garden variety air-to-air missile. After that they are either too fast, but most probably too high to intercept. Several factors affect this time window including whether the BM is liquid fueled, or uses solid propellant, and how far the intercepting aircraft is from the launch site.

usnvo wrote:I think weather is probably your worst obstacle as well as just developing the laser power. The problem with most counter-measures against lasers is that they have never been developed, let alone tested. So effectively evaluating how well they would work is difficult. For instance, rolling the missile, while possible, would dramatically complicate the guidance as well as being less valuable against a really powerful laser. Given the need for maximum lightness and the forces involved in the launch, it doesn't take much to make one fail.


Rolling the missile will make life a little harder for the flight controls engineer... but dramatically so? That may be open to some debate. If the missile pitches to its programmed flight path trajectory and flies a 0° alpha trajectory, then rolling is probably not as big a deal. IMO & FWIW.
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 21:32

I'm thinking something like NCADE based on a CUDA-like upper with a ESSM-type lower and make both of them Gel propellants.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 21:51

SpudmanWP wrote:I'm thinking something like NCADE based on a CUDA-like upper with a ESSM-type lower and make both of them Gel propellants.


Ahem:

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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 22:28

Fanart or program? That booster looks too skinny to be ESSM (10 in vs AMRAAM 7in) but it may be a scale thing.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 23:02

SpudmanWP wrote:Fanart or program? That booster looks too skinny to be ESSM (10 in vs AMRAAM 7in) but it may be a scale thing.


Something I threw together. Scale is exact. The strakes give the illusion that it's smaller in diameter. Look at the area between the tail fins and the strakes.
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 23:13

Me likey
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Unread post28 Feb 2019, 23:32

SpudmanWP wrote:Me likey


PM incoming.
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Unread post01 Mar 2019, 21:39

steve2267 wrote:Actually... they can speed up -- they are accelerating all the time. And climbing, faster and faster.

My swag estimates you have 60 seconds, 120 tops to affect a kill of a climbing ballistic missile before they will be too high, and too fast to intercept with a garden variety air-to-air missile.


But they speed up in an easily calculated manner. They can't suddenly add 5Gs. Compared to what the AAM can do, sitting duck. I agree on time, although the Reuters article indicated 200 seconds. That just seems way too long. I figure an engagement zone of 20-25nm around the aircraft, probably an additional 10nm if you could reach up to 200kft or so with a purpose built boost phase interceptor.

steve2267 wrote:Rolling the missile will make life a little harder for the flight controls engineer... but dramatically so? That may be open to some debate. If the missile pitches to its programmed flight path trajectory and flies a 0° alpha trajectory, then rolling is probably not as big a deal. IMO & FWIW.


Except no one has ever done it and all of the launches I have seen require continuous angle changes during most of the boost phase. And how fast are you spinning? Even 30RPM seems like it would probably be too slow since all you have to do with the laser is weaken the structural integrity. And you would have to do it all the time because you would never know if you were going to be engaged or not.
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