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Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 02:20
by aaam
Concept and technology demonstrations are wonderful things, but the difference is that JDRADM/NGM was an actual, concrete ongoing program with an identifiable deliverable that was going to be selected from competitors and put into service. T3 will hopefully demonstrate technologies that may someday form the basis for an actual specifiable weapon...or maybe not.

What this does do, as is all to common, is put off actually producing something, but saying, "See? We're working on technology". It's sort of like what regularly happens to the leading edge of manned space exploration. A goal is set, then abandoned with assurances that they're not really abandoning it but will be substituting something even better, of course further out in time (i.e., the next guy's problem).

The great Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov was associated with the phrase, "Better is the enemy of good enough" (which can actually be taken two ways, BTW). There will always be some newer technology further off sometime in the future to be investigated which will theoretically produce even better results. But, sooner or later you have to actually do something. T3 sounds like marvelous research and certainly should be pursued But, what is the requirement? What operational thing is actually going to be built? Where are the specifications that contractors are going to bid on to provide us with operational weapons (as far as I can tell, Raytheon got a contract to develop a proof of concept demonstrator). When is the desired IOC? The objective of JDRADM/NGM was to give us something we could actually operationally hang on an airplane.

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 02:35
by count_to_10
On that note, the AMRAAM is probably "good enough" for now.

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 04:08
by hobo
aaam wrote:Concept and technology demonstrations are wonderful things, but the difference is that JDRADM/NGM was an actual, concrete ongoing program with an identifiable deliverable that was going to be selected from competitors and put into service. T3 will hopefully demonstrate technologies that may someday form the basis for an actual specifiable weapon...or maybe not.

What this does do, as is all to common, is put off actually producing something, but saying, "See? We're working on technology". It's sort of like what regularly happens to the leading edge of manned space exploration. A goal is set, then abandoned with assurances that they're not really abandoning it but will be substituting something even better, of course further out in time (i.e., the next guy's problem).

The great Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov was associated with the phrase, "Better is the enemy of good enough" (which can actually be taken two ways, BTW). There will always be some newer technology further off sometime in the future to be investigated which will theoretically produce even better results. But, sooner or later you have to actually do something. T3 sounds like marvelous research and certainly should be pursued But, what is the requirement? What operational thing is actually going to be built? Where are the specifications that contractors are going to bid on to provide us with operational weapons (as far as I can tell, Raytheon got a contract to develop a proof of concept demonstrator). When is the desired IOC? The objective of JDRADM/NGM was to give us something we could actually operationally hang on an airplane.



I would go the opposite direction. Many programs have turned into counter-productive budget wrecking nightmares because they were advanced into a formal procurement program before the underlying technologies were sufficiently mature.

The Pentagon knows what it wants from a next generation missile and it is working to develop the underlying technologies. If the T3 program successfully demonstrates the necessary performance and maturity then a follow-on procurement effort will proceed more quickly and on a smaller budget.

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 05:54
by aaam
count_to_10 wrote:On that note, the AMRAAM is probably "good enough" for now.


Ah, now you're looking at the other meaning of Admiral Gorshkov's "Better is the enemy of good enough". " Good enough" works just fine until you're confronted by an adversary who has "better". The trick is to accurately determine the balance between the two interpretations.

A good example is the Los Angeles class SSNs. They were much quieter than the best the Soviets could produce when the 688 boats were designed. However, we kept buiding them for a looong time. We were fortunate that the USSR collapsed when it did, because eventually they caught up. The newest Russian attack boats we see now are actually the ones they were planning to bring into service 15 years ago. Consider our situation if they had. Similarly, Harpoon is an excellent anti-ship missile, a world-beater when it came out, and for many years it has been "good enough". However, although we've refined it, it's still basically tha good ol' _GM-84A. There are a number of missiles on the market now that are faster and/or outrange it.

Again, the trick is to accurately determine the balance between the two interpretations. Starting a new program [again] probably puts us back at least another five years beyond what would have been NGM's IOC date, assuming we don't go to another new demonstrator and then development somewhere aong the line. How far is it safe to kick the can down the road? .

Unread postPosted: 16 May 2013, 06:01
by aaam
hobo wrote:
aaam wrote:Concept and technology demonstrations are wonderful things, but the difference is that JDRADM/NGM was an actual, concrete ongoing program with an identifiable deliverable that was going to be selected from competitors and put into service. T3 will hopefully demonstrate technologies that may someday form the basis for an actual specifiable weapon...or maybe not.

What this does do, as is all to common, is put off actually producing something, but saying, "See? We're working on technology". It's sort of like what regularly happens to the leading edge of manned space exploration. A goal is set, then abandoned with assurances that they're not really abandoning it but will be substituting something even better, of course further out in time (i.e., the next guy's problem).

The great Soviet Admiral Sergey Gorshkov was associated with the phrase, "Better is the enemy of good enough" (which can actually be taken two ways, BTW). There will always be some newer technology further off sometime in the future to be investigated which will theoretically produce even better results. But, sooner or later you have to actually do something. T3 sounds like marvelous research and certainly should be pursued But, what is the requirement? What operational thing is actually going to be built? Where are the specifications that contractors are going to bid on to provide us with operational weapons (as far as I can tell, Raytheon got a contract to develop a proof of concept demonstrator). When is the desired IOC? The objective of JDRADM/NGM was to give us something we could actually operationally hang on an airplane.



I would go the opposite direction. Many programs have turned into counter-productive budget wrecking nightmares because they were advanced into a formal procurement program before the underlying technologies were sufficiently mature.

The Pentagon knows what it wants from a next generation missile and it is working to develop the underlying technologies. If the T3 program successfully demonstrates the necessary performance and maturity then a follow-on procurement effort will proceed more quickly and on a smaller budget.



I would agree with your basic premise, but in the case of JDRADM/NGM there weren't indications that what it was supposed to do was beyond the technologies that would mature in tis timeframe. Some of T3 was even to be folded into it. The reasons consistently given are that they didn't want to spend the money now. Speculation on whether that was AF's decison or imposed on them is another subject. Bottom line is that now we don't have a defnite program, and we did. As far as budget goes, whenever you move the timeline to the right it almost always costs more.

Unread postPosted: 17 May 2013, 01:22
by count_to_10
The real arms race in missiles is really the seeker heads, rather than the propulsion. New seeker technology can be applied to old platforms with limited risk and great effect. all without officially being a "new project". New projects will look for incremental improvements in range and kinematics (and kinematics at range), which are not immediately necessary.

Unread postPosted: 27 May 2013, 04:49
by aaam
count_to_10 wrote:The real arms race in missiles is really the seeker heads, rather than the propulsion. New seeker technology can be applied to old platforms with limited risk and great effect. all without officially being a "new project". New projects will look for incremental improvements in range and kinematics (and kinematics at range), which are not immediately necessary.


Please excuse my delay in repsonse.

New seekers are certaibly always advancing, wheter you can backfit them (nlusess you're going to something as dramatic as the AIM-9X) is not always going to be that cost effective, espeically if they change weight and balance configurations. Regarding kinematics, the AIM-120D gets its improved end game performance by the 2nd firing in teh terminal phase. The big repackaging of the electronics took place, though, so they could pack in more fuel with the express purpose of increasing its range. Now that we have gone to a Norwiegan company that is not bound by all of the US environmental regualtions on rocket manufacturee, we're gonog to get it.

Similarly, one of the big reasons the Eurpoeans went to to a rocket ramjet was to have a dramtic increase in range. Whether it goes farther than AIM-120D, I don't know, but it is faster, can fly a more flexible profie and seems to have more terminal capability. Seekers? Who knows, neither side is talking.

Unread postPosted: 28 May 2013, 15:05
by SpudmanWP
The 120D contains the same motor as the C5-7, the PeP motor. This is the same motor as the Norwegians are producing.

While a new motor was one of the goals of the D early on, it was dropped as part of the D upgrade.

However, a new motor is currently being worked on for the AMRAAM family as part of an ONR program.

Unread postPosted: 28 May 2013, 20:46
by hb_pencil
aaam wrote:
count_to_10 wrote:On that note, the AMRAAM is probably "good enough" for now.


Ah, now you're looking at the other meaning of Admiral Gorshkov's "Better is the enemy of good enough". " Good enough" works just fine until you're confronted by an adversary who has "better". The trick is to accurately determine the balance between the two interpretations.

A good example is the Los Angeles class SSNs. They were much quieter than the best the Soviets could produce when the 688 boats were designed. However, we kept buiding them for a looong time. We were fortunate that the USSR collapsed when it did, because eventually they caught up. The newest Russian attack boats we see now are actually the ones they were planning to bring into service 15 years ago. Consider our situation if they had. Similarly, Harpoon is an excellent anti-ship missile, a world-beater when it came out, and for many years it has been "good enough". However, although we've refined it, it's still basically tha good ol' _GM-84A. There are a number of missiles on the market now that are faster and/or outrange it.

Again, the trick is to accurately determine the balance between the two interpretations. Starting a new program [again] probably puts us back at least another five years beyond what would have been NGM's IOC date, assuming we don't go to another new demonstrator and then development somewhere aong the line. How far is it safe to kick the can down the road? .


But this ignores there were significant upgrades to the Los Angeles Class between 72 and 96: you had three different flights, with major upgrades occurring throughout the years. Moreover the Russian/Soviet Navy wasn't really pushing the grounds of technology or production; you had a lot of failed one-off or low production classes throughout the 1980s that really didn't necessitate major development programs to match an emerging threat.

Unread postPosted: 28 May 2013, 20:55
by aaam
SpudmanWP wrote:The 120D contains the same motor as the C5-7, the PeP motor. This is the same motor as the Norwegians are producing.

While a new motor was one of the goals of the D early on, it was dropped as part of the D upgrade.

However, a new motor is currently being worked on for the AMRAAM family as part of an ONR program.


The motor itself is not the issue. In the D, they were able to get the dramatic increase in range by repackaging the electronics in such a way as to allow the missile to carry considerably more propellant. More fuel=greater range.

It's true the Norwegians are producing the same product. Where ATK ran intro trouble was that they had to change formulation in order to comply with changed US environmental manufacturing regulations. The new formulation didn't work at low temperatures. The cold weather cause took quite a while to figure out because ATK's previous production runs did not experience the problem, and they had to figure out what had changed. The , they would have to figure out what tot do reformulate again, and go through more testing. Meanwhile, DoD had gone to the Norwegians. ATK lost its contracts and had to lay off people in this area. This is especially depressing as development in the US of new solid rocket technology is almost

Unread postPosted: 28 May 2013, 21:02
by SpudmanWP
Again, the D has the same motor as the C5 and C7. Same motor means the same amount of fuel. There has only been one "Electronic Shrink = Larger Motor" event in the AMRAAM history and that is with C5.

The range improvements are due to improved flight profiles derived from the GPS assisted flight computer.

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2013, 21:21
by aaam
SpudmanWP wrote:Again, the D has the same motor as the C5 and C7. Same motor means the same amount of fuel. There has only been one "Electronic Shrink = Larger Motor" event in the AMRAAM history and that is with C5.

The range improvements are due to improved flight profiles derived from the GPS assisted flight computer.


My understanding is that one of the benefits of the increased power yet smaller size of the advanced electronics starting in the C was that part of them can now be packed around the circumference of the missile, allowing 11-12" of space/. The C7 used 5 of them for more propellant, and the D (formerly C8) usess some of the remaining. If that is wrong, my hat's definitely off to whomever designed an improved energy management profile that would be responsible for the dramatic range increase over the C7.

Unread postPosted: 31 May 2013, 21:56
by SpudmanWP
There is no difference in the motor (aka fuel carried) from the C5/7/D.

There were early plans for a new motor but those were revised years ago.

Unread postPosted: 05 Jun 2013, 19:10
by aaam
SpudmanWP wrote:There is no difference in the motor (aka fuel carried) from the C5/7/D.

There were early plans for a new motor but those were revised years ago.


Thanks for bringing me up to date.

Unread postPosted: 06 Jun 2013, 13:02
by uclass
The real question relates to the kill probability of these missiles at ranges where the F-35 can retain its stealth. People often talk about maximum range and figures of over 100nm but the longest recorded combat air-to-air kill in history is 21.6 miles and kill probability at that range isn't great. So whilst there's a lot of focus on improving missile motors, the real improvement is to be found in advancing sensors, tracking, terminal maneuverability and countermeasure resistance from ranges less than half the kinematic range of an AIM-120C/D. If anyone could develop a missile that can consistently perform with an 80-90% Pk from 60km in actual combat against the best enemy planes/ECM, then that would be a huge improvement over anything currently on offer.