UK researches new, affordable precision munition...

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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Nov 2022, 17:24

UK researches new, affordable precision munition, with Ukraine in mind [BEST READ AT URL]
28 Nov 2022 ANDREW WHITE

"LONDON — Even as it continues development on a future high-end cruise missile, the UK Ministry of Defence is pursuing the design of a more affordable precision munition for the F-35B and ”generation-after-next” platforms including UAVs, with a top official revealing details for the first time this month....

...Addressing delegates Nov. 17 at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s ”Weapons for the Generation After Next Platform” conference in London, Dstl’s Jonathan Burnage described the MRUSW [Medium Range Utility Strike Weapon] as an additional capability to SPEAR (Selected Precision Effects at Range) Capability 5 — a long-range replacement for the in-service, low-observable air-launched Storm Shadow cruise missile....

...The ability to fly with as many MRUSWs as possible was highlighted by Burnage as “imperative” in the concept study. He suggested the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) F-35B could carry as many as eight MRUSWs, split equally between its pair of weapon bays.

The study will consider powered and unpowered concepts in addition to penetrator warhead design, along with ability for high accuracy in Attack on Coordinates mode as well as navigating in the presence of GNSS jamming, Burnage said...."

Source: https://breakingdefense.com/2022/11/uk- ... e-in-mind/
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steve2267

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Unread post28 Nov 2022, 19:27

"Affordable" should not really appear in the same sentence, let alone juxtaposed with "precision". The old pick two: affordable, performance, schedule is at play here. Further more, "long-range" and "low-observable" definitely are at odds with "affordable."

But this effort is doomed to failure. Doomed I say. Why? Because the Brits cannot pick a bloody decent acronym. How can a nation that comes up with the nifty moniker "SPEAR" then try to fly something called "MRUSW" ?????

I mean, they aren't even trying.

Instead, consider how the first sentence in the 3rd paragraph Spaz posted reads thusly:

"The ability to fly with as many BOLTs as possible..."

BOLT -- Bespoke Offensive, Low Observable, Terminal munition.

OR

BULLET -- Bespoke Unitary Low-cost, Low-observable, Effective Terminal performance munition.

You get the idea.

This program is destined for the scrap heap of failure if they insist on MuhRussDubbyas. Good grief. Maybe the Brits need to embed some program managers with NASA for a couple years. Well, that may be a poor example.

And I'm still unclear what they are attempting to accomplish here. It sounds like a super-duper SPEAR? Or a Stormbreaker (Raytheon said screw the acronym, lets just pick a cool name), GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II with a motor slapped on. Still not sure how you get "low cost" or "affordable" slapped on there. Getting everybody and his brother to buy SPEAR's oughta drop the price, and make it "more affordable."
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 post29 Nov 2022, 16:35

So basically they want GBU-39/53 class weapons as well as SPEAR, but because they insist on domestic production, they're going to reinvent the wheel.
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Unread post02 Dec 2022, 09:38

wrightwing wrote:So basically they want GBU-39/53 class weapons as well as SPEAR, but because they insist on domestic production, they're going to reinvent the wheel.


It's a lot more simple than that...

There are 3 Spear weapons in development, all use the same mold line, have the same weight, CoG and release requirements which makes integration really easy...;

- Spear - Turbojet powered mini cruise missile with over 120nm range - No real equivalent elsewhere...
- Spear EW - Spear repurposed into EW decoy/stand in jammer using BriteCloud tech - MALD-J equivalent...
- SpearGlide - Spear with no propulsion, but much larger warhead occupying space left free - SDB2 equivalent...

MRUSW will end up being a Spear derivative...exactly the same shape, CoG, weight etc...no propulsion, no MMW seeker, just GPS/INS only, with the modularity to accept a Laser seeker head and data link if required...either with a mini-BROACH warhead or the same warhead as SpearGlide with a penetrating shroud. It will be a SDB1 equivalent...and before anyone asks why we don't just buy SDB1...its for the same reason the US doesn't buy Brimstone...

The UK, as part of the Complex Weapons initiative, already has the guidance package developed so its a very simple drop in. No real complex integration work needs to be undertaken on Typhoon or F-35B. No need for different handling equipment, training requirements vastly simplified etc etc.

And most crucially of all....its Sovereign Capability....and the US can't screw us over on exports via ITAR, which is a massive deal. No-one has forgotten the US blocking ASRAAM and Paveway IV exports by using ITAR, whilst they sold AIM-9X and GBU-12.....now there is zero US involvement in UK air weapons. Asraam Block VI, Brimstone, Spear, FCASW, Martlet, Sea Venom, Meteor, Storm Shadow are all ITAR free now...long may it continue. There are also more 'spiral' developments from Spear on the way as well, apparently.
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Unread post02 Dec 2022, 14:21

timmymagic wrote:It's a lot more simple than that...

...

MRUSW will end up being a Spear derivative...exactly the same shape, CoG, weight etc...no propulsion, no MMW seeker, just GPS/INS only, with the modularity to accept a Laser seeker head and data link if required...either with a mini-BROACH warhead or the same warhead as SpearGlide with a penetrating shroud. It will be a SDB1 equivalent...and before anyone asks why we don't just buy SDB1...its for the same reason the US doesn't buy Brimstone...

....and the US can't screw us over on exports via ITAR, which is a massive deal.


I suppose I shoulda read the original article, but... breakingdafence... so...

If the UK is simplifying rather than looking to add new capabilities, and is re-using existing stuff (e.g. same outer-mold-line etc), then the goal of something cheaper sounds attainable.

When the US blocked ASRAAM / Paveway IV on ITAR grounds... did the US then sell AIM-9X & GBU-12 to the same end customer? If so, that is dirty, underhanded and no bueno. I say GOOD! for the UK for developing their own, sovereign capability.
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Unread post02 Dec 2022, 17:57

steve2267 wrote:
I suppose I shoulda read the original article, but... breakingdafence... so...

If the UK is simplifying rather than looking to add new capabilities, and is re-using existing stuff (e.g. same outer-mold-line etc), then the goal of something cheaper sounds attainable.

When the US blocked ASRAAM / Paveway IV on ITAR grounds... did the US then sell AIM-9X & GBU-12 to the same end customer? If so, that is dirty, underhanded and no bueno. I say GOOD! for the UK for developing their own, sovereign capability.


Yes that appears to be the plan. When they briefed media at one of the DSEi events about SpearGlide (the 3rd announced variant) they mentioned that further 'spiral' developments would come from the Spear family. I can see another variant coming down the line as well...probably a recon variant with E/O head as an attritable wingman like payload. Leonardo UK has a product that will slot right on. Should make the Spear 'family' a pretty compelling product lineup. The Complex Weapons initiative is one thing in UK defence that is working consistently well. the whole CAMM missile system goes from strength to strength off the back of it as well.

The Asraam/Paveway IV thing was to Saudi Arabia...US was at the time selling 9X and GBU-12. 9X at the time had the same seeker as Asraam...they also caused difficulties with the sale of Asraam to India and have caused issues elsewhere, which is particularly galling after the US' behaviour with the Asraam programme in the early days.

There's nothing wrong with the ITAR legislation in theory, its very sensible, but like all bits of legislation when its out in the wild it has unintended consequences. In this case (and others) it was weaponised by US corporations, via lobbying, to hobble other countries defence sales in favour of their own. A short term win for them...but medium to long term it has led to lots of arms manufacturers world wide removing US made components, developing their own capabilities and avoiding joint partnerships to ensure that the US has no say over their sales/sovereignty. The result of that is the exact opposite of what the legislation was intended to do...the US now has less say in where arms are sold, and US corporations are frozen out of any joint programmes by any sensible government/manufacturer. In the UK this has meant that by default all air weapons are UK made and have to be ITAR free. Asraam, Meteor, CAMM, Brimstone, Spear, Martlet, Sea Venom, FCASW have all gone this route. The only reason why Raytheon are still tolerated is because their production plant for Paveway IV is in Glenrothes in Scotland, otherwise I suspect they'd have been shown the door...

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