New long-range missile project emerges in US budget

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spazsinbad

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Unread post02 Nov 2017, 13:43

New long-range missile project emerges in US budget
02 Nov 2017 Stephen Trimble

"The existence of a two-year-old project to develop a new air-to-air missile capable of intercepting targets at great distances has emerged in US budget documents.

The Office of the Secretary Defense (OSD) launched a two-year engineering assessment of a new long-range engagement weapon (LREW) designed with the goal of “maintaining air dominance”, according to budget documents released last March.

Analyses of the design, engineering and kill chain requirements were expected to be complete in the last fiscal year, although details are classified. “When successful, LREW will transition to multiple services,” the documents show.

Though funded for more than two years, the LREW project had escaped notice in an obscure budget line item for an OSD account named “emerging capabilities technology development”, which is mostly reserved for small electronic warfare projects.

But the programme offers the first indication that the US military is interested in a new missile to replace or surpass the capabilities of the Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM....." [more at the jump]

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... et-442816/
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Unread post02 Nov 2017, 15:06

From the jump...

New long-range missile project emerges in US budget
02 Nov 2017 Stephen Trimble

The US Air Force also is developing two short-range weapons – the small advanced capabilities missile (SACM) and the miniature self-defence munition (MSDM).

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... et-442816/


Trimble seems to be a decent journalist, and his job is to dig into all this stuff... still, I thought SACM had gone away? Also, I was unaware that the MSDM was anything more than a concept?
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Dragon029

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Unread post02 Nov 2017, 23:46

Why did you think SACM had gone away?
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charlielima223

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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 00:03

Dragon029 wrote:Why did you think SACM had gone away?


While I don't think SACM went away, it just became obscure.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 01:56

charlielima223 wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:Why did you think SACM had gone away?


While I don't think SACM went away, it just became obscure.


I am going to have to go with what CL has stated. My memory banks whispered that CUDA had been cancelled (or perhaps more accurately had been still born). I knew CUDA was in the same class as or competing with SACM, and since I had not heard of anything SACM in the last six months or so, I made the assumption SACM had also withered on the vine.

I did go and google up SACM and read a few recent articles. AFRL and the Air Force were throwing around words and phrases like "cheaper," "more affordable," "smaller," "more capable." etc etc. Cheaper and smaller go together. But cheaper and more capable or smaller and more capable don't seem to fit together as well. Retired AF General Carlisle made some statements to the effect that "technology" will enable us to get there. So I am not entirely clear on what SACM is going to be. If SACM is going to be a multi-spectral, hyper agile missile in the 20-40nm range category, then I might be willing to buy what they are selling. SACM out-ranging AIM-120D? In a pigs eye... unless they are pulling some new tech out of Area 51 or have figured out how to integrate a Prius-sipping, hypersonic scramjet motor onto an airframe smaller than Meteor. A new, air-to-air missile with longer range than AIM-120D and still fit inside F-35 / F-22 weapons bays? Yeah, I think they can probably do that. Cheaply? Hmmmm.... As small as the SACM illustrations I've seen? Again... in a pigs eye.

But the article didn't reference SACM. It referenced a new, long-range A-A missile. I think that is doable. Hope they get the project rolling. If AIM-120D and Meteor don't fit the bill, me wonders what the requirements are or will be.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 02:40

steve2267 wrote:
I did go and google up SACM and read a few recent articles. AFRL and the Air Force were throwing around words and phrases like "cheaper," "more affordable," "smaller," "more capable." etc etc. Cheaper and smaller go together. But cheaper and more capable or smaller and more capable don't seem to fit together as well. Retired AF General Carlisle made some statements to the effect that "technology" will enable us to get there. So I am not entirely clear on what SACM is going to be. If SACM is going to be a multi-spectral, hyper agile missile in the 20-40nm range category, then I might be willing to buy what they are selling. SACM out-ranging AIM-120D? In a pigs eye... unless they are pulling some new tech out of Area 51 or have figured out how to integrate a Prius-sipping, hypersonic scramjet motor onto an airframe smaller than Meteor. A new, air-to-air missile with longer range than AIM-120D and still fit inside F-35 / F-22 weapons bays? Yeah, I think they can probably do that. Cheaply? Hmmmm.... As small as the SACM illustrations I've seen? Again... in a pigs eye.

But the article didn't reference SACM. It referenced a new, long-range A-A missile. I think that is doable. Hope they get the project rolling. If AIM-120D and Meteor don't fit the bill, me wonders what the requirements are or will be.



Could have just been backed up on some hard drive, placed in a box, sealed with security tape, cataloged, and is now collecting dust in some warehouse in a secured facility somewhere... who knows.

I don't believe something like the CUDA concept could out range current AIM-120C7s and the newer D variant. However its range could be very comparable to early AIM-120 range. I would think this thanks to SMSgt

http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... ssile.html

http://elementsofpower.blogspot.com/201 ... pdate.html

Whatever they are "cooking up" in some lab somewhere is most likely going to be beyond my levels of comprehension and education. I wonder however, is a new missile really needed for F-22 and F-35 when their stealth combined with the AIM-120D pretty much has reach on anything out there NOW and in the near future.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 03:21

....having a LR two stage is not a new concept and would be reasonable to expect, but....what is on the front-end that could be "also a game changer", after it gets where it is going! That it would be internal to the F-22 would be of my interest if also internalized for the F-35, if not then the "Lite" and the teens would carry it external (-9X).
....and then of course, how many can be loaded on the "Bombers" (maybe not so accurate a name in lieu of "Arsenal") a/c?
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 04:19

steve2267 wrote:
charlielima223 wrote:
Dragon029 wrote:Why did you think SACM had gone away?


While I don't think SACM went away, it just became obscure.


I am going to have to go with what CL has stated. My memory banks whispered that CUDA had been cancelled (or perhaps more accurately had been still born). I knew CUDA was in the same class as or competing with SACM, and since I had not heard of anything SACM in the last six months or so, I made the assumption SACM had also withered on the vine.


Raytheon has contract to work on SACM through to 2021:
http://www.pddnet.com/news/2016/01/rayt ... e-contract
Raytheon has been awarded a $14 million Air Force contract for research and development intended to improve the military’s state-of-the-art air-launched, tactical missiles.
Under the agreement, which was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Defense, Raytheon will attempt to improve upon the number of missiles that can be held on a single excursion. The company will also work to improve both the impact of each missile, and the platform survivability against any threat that would arise in an anti-access, area denial (A2AD) environment.
Two research concepts will help to achieve the improvements: the Small Advanced Capability Missile (SACM) and Miniature Self-Defense Munition (MSDM).
“The SACM will support affordable, highly lethal, small size and weight ordnance with advanced air frame design and synergistic control capabilities for air dominance enabling high air-to-air load-out,” the DoD said. “The MSDM will support miniaturized weapon capabilities for air superiority by enabling close-in platform self-defense and penetration into contested A2AD environment with little to no impact to payload capacity.”
Raytheon was one of four companies to submit a bid for the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost contract. The labor will be conducted in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by Jan. 19, 2021.

I don't have the link handy, but if I recall correctly, after the contract was awarded, a Lockheed rep said they would continue working on their SACM proposal (CUDA) with internal funding (as this Raytheon award is just for development work, not an end-product).

I did go and google up SACM and read a few recent articles. AFRL and the Air Force were throwing around words and phrases like "cheaper," "more affordable," "smaller," "more capable." etc etc. Cheaper and smaller go together. But cheaper and more capable or smaller and more capable don't seem to fit together as well. Retired AF General Carlisle made some statements to the effect that "technology" will enable us to get there. So I am not entirely clear on what SACM is going to be. If SACM is going to be a multi-spectral, hyper agile missile in the 20-40nm range category, then I might be willing to buy what they are selling. SACM out-ranging AIM-120D? In a pigs eye... unless they are pulling some new tech out of Area 51 or have figured out how to integrate a Prius-sipping, hypersonic scramjet motor onto an airframe smaller than Meteor. A new, air-to-air missile with longer range than AIM-120D and still fit inside F-35 / F-22 weapons bays? Yeah, I think they can probably do that. Cheaply? Hmmmm.... As small as the SACM illustrations I've seen? Again... in a pigs eye.

But the article didn't reference SACM. It referenced a new, long-range A-A missile. I think that is doable. Hope they get the project rolling. If AIM-120D and Meteor don't fit the bill, me wonders what the requirements are or will be.

I haven't heard anyone suggest that SACM would be longer ranged than the AIM-120D, just that it'd have comparable range to the AIM-120C (in the ballpark of 100km / 50nmi).

So as a reminder:

SACM = a double-capacity, hit-to-kill AIM-120C (Lockheed proposal = "CUDA").
MSDM = a defensive, short-range anti-missile kinetic interceptor and potential dogfighting missile (Lockheed proposal = "KICM").
LREW = a concept for a long range (likely in the ballpark of 200km+/100nmi+) weapon; maybe a 2-stage SACM, maybe an air-breathing missile, maybe something else.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 09:00

Having a 2 stage design will give the missile a decisive edge over the Chinese PL-16 or MBDA Meteor by shedding significant weight and drag for end game manoeuvring. Furthermore, it can open up the possibility of handing a common missile to fulfil short ranged AAM and medium-long ranged AAM roles. Just sling on the second stage to have a short range AAM and both stages for a medium-long range AAM. Of cause the missile should have a tri-mode seeker incorporating active AESA radar guidance, home on jam/ESM and imaging IR for superior countermeasure resistance and performance.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 11:07

What if stage 2 IS the sacm?

If you are going to have a multi mode seeker equipped missile, why not use the same missile body for both short and long range?

Short range is the missile. Long range just add a booster.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 13:24

About damn time!

Just think about all the $ poured into air to ground ordinance. JSOW, JDAM, SDB 1 and 2, cruise missiles, hellfire, LGB's. And we 're still relying on... 2 air to air missiles? Never made any sense to me...
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 13:43

mixelflick wrote:About damn time!

Just think about all the $ poured into air to ground ordinance. JSOW, JDAM, SDB 1 and 2, cruise missiles, hellfire, LGB's. And we 're still relying on... 2 air to air missiles? Never made any sense to me...


Made perfect sense to me really. The AIM 120 was so far ahead of contemporaries upgrades could keep the USA ahead for a long time until next gen technology was available.

Think of it like this, yeah the Rafale and Eurotyphoon are probably better than the F-15/F-16, but they aren't outclassed with recent upgrades. Same thing with the meteor missile and the aim120D. then USA swoops in with the F-22/F-35/Cuda/New long range missile and is a generation ahead of everyone.
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 16:02

Appreciate your comments Dragon. Re-reading SMSgtMac's blogs about CUDA and reading some other articles about SACM leads me to agree with your statements. SACM is NOT to what the article in the OP was referring. However, as gc and citanon have suggested, a two-stage design would seem to have merit.

Some musings on my own lead me to wonder if the boost stage might not be a hypersonic airframe. What leads me to this suggestion? Nebulous statements by Air Force generals obliquely referring to "new motor technologies" that they could not comment further on. My asking a buddy a year or two ago if he knew where aerodynamic jobs were and his reply that the only ones he really had heard of were in Tucson, and were for hypersonics. The X-51A program concluded. Only one (maybe two) flights out of four were concluded without things breaking in a spectacular fashion, yet the program (I think) was considered a success. Yet continued hypersonic flight testing / public programs seemed to "dry up." Comments I read somewhere last night about new technologies suddenly "going dark" or "going black." Could X-51A ending / hypersonic developments be such a case? LM making public statements about an SR-72 replacement being ready circa mid 2020's.

WRT X-51A... that flight test vehicle weighed about 4000lb and was roughly 25' long and flew at 5.1+ Mach. I do not know if it is feasible to scale the X-51 down by a factor of 2-4, but if it were possible, and noting a recent statement (sorry - I did not bookmark it) by an LM (I think) spokesperson or engineer about a missile being circular in cross section wrt the intake / engine because it was "more volumetrically efficient"... I wonder if it might be possible to create a hypersonic booster that could fly a SACM / CUDA missile out 100-200nm and "drop" it in the target basket. However, this would need to be a 3-stage weapon. it will require a rocket booster to accelerate to 4.0 - 4.8 Mach where the scamjet can then take over for the cruise portion of the flight.

Disadvantages of such a long range missile include size and weight. You may only fit one into the F-35 weapons bay or F-22 weapons bay.

The development of a long range AIM-120D replacement will be interesting to watch.

Parting question: the original article only mentions a "long range" replacement for AIM-120D. Does anyone know what range we are really talking about here? 100nm? 200nm? 300?
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 post03 Nov 2017, 16:47

I think they're probably going to try and miniaturise the seeker / avionics / warhead (if there is one) and just try and get as much range as they can out a ~3.7m long missile. The big constraints from there would be cost (materials and manufacturing complexity / difficulty) and balancing ballistic range vs NEZ; how much delta-V do you want to save (if any) for end-game manoeuvring or engaging manoeuvring supersonic / hypersonic targets?

Perhaps if VLO opponents and improved enemy EW results in intermittent target tracks, you might need some more fuel to be able to make more extreme mid-course corrections.

Personally I like the concept of using a SACM with either a multi-spectral all-in-one seeker (or if not, then perhaps an interchangeable pair of seekers / SACM variants) as the front-end of the LREW, with the booster section being modular and open-architectured, so maybe a Raytheon SACM could be configured to use different boosters from different companies, using different technologies (scramjet, VFDR, conventional dual-pulse rocket, etc), and different booster lengths (a thin 3.7m long system for the F-22 / F-35 doors, maybe a ~6m long one [maybe a 3-stage] for internal carriage on the B-21, etc).

As an aside; I think it was bring_it_on who posted it originally, but there's been patents shown of AESA T/R modules being put into missile fins (leaving the nose free for either additional antennas or for an IR seeker or whatever). Maybe (for the B-21, etc) you could have a booster configuration that has folding wings, with those wings having more of those modules, allowing for longer ranged, independent targeting and tracking; essentially making them more UCAV than conventional AAM.

Still, that goes back to the whole cost thing - maybe get SpaceX to build the USAF a reusable 1st stage SACM / LREW booster? DARPA can use some of the tech from the Gremlins UAV program :mrgreen:
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Unread post03 Nov 2017, 16:59

SpaceX is overrated.

If you want to go that route, I would look to either Skunk Works or Phantom Works.
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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