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Author Topic: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects  (Read 41508 times)

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2016, 03:06:20 am »
Interesting slide shared by Tim Robinson on Twitter (Meteor presentation - EFTyphoon farnborough 2016). I guess adding a pulsed motor could narrow the gap considerably as opposed to the heavier VFDR solution.

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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #46 on: July 14, 2016, 10:58:21 am »
Excerpts from an AvWeek article from James Drew :

Quote
In concert with its investigation into next-generation aircraft, the Air Force is examining new weapons that will equip current-generation and tomorrow’s fighters.
The service recently introduced the latest Amraam variant, the AIM-120D, and has initiated an electronics upgrade project that overcomes the latest adversary countermeasures. Air Combat Command has been exploring the dual-mode MBDA Brimstone missile for a close air support requirement, but Carlisle says there have been no significant discussions yet about adopting MBDA’s beyond-visual-range Meteor air-to-air missile.

“Brimstone’s a great weapon; by the way, as is Meteor. But we really haven’t gotten into discussions about Meteor because we’re not there yet in terms of what’s the follow [to] Amraam,” he says. “We have to get to the next level missile [beyond the AIM-120],” he says. “We’re doing improvements and modernization of the AIM-120 and we’ve got a program that has modernized that. It’s showing good success, but we need to get to—and we’re not there yet—a longer-range, more capable and potentially multiple-seeker, broad-spectrum [weapon]. As we finish modernizing the AIM-120, the next thing we have to do is get to that next missile.”

BTW, as per the latest SAR (FY15) the AMRAAM-D procurement is expected to end in 2024, with 6500+ missiles acquired ..
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 11:51:50 am by bring_it_on »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2016, 08:03:18 pm »
...
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2017, 08:03:07 pm »
AMRAAM orders could shrink before upgrades are fielded, Raytheon says


Quote
A Raytheon official says the Air Force is mulling how to procure Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles while the service waits for the company to finish upgrades.

"I think it's a balancing act between filling the stores they need with the most advanced missile that we're making today, versus waiting for something that maybe could be upgraded even further down the road," Ron Krebs, senior director for AMRAAM, said in an April 21 phone interview. "I think they're wrestling with that somewhat. We haven't really been given any clear direction in that regard."

Raytheon is finishing delivery of Lot 29 missiles this year and plans to cut in new updates after Lot 32. The Air Force may lower the number of 120D-variant missiles it buys for a few lots while the form, fit, function, refresh obsolescence upgrades known as F3R are completed, Krebs said. He believes that decision could depend on world events and "how important it is to get more 120Ds into their system."

The Air Force declined multiple requests for comment on AMRAAM.

Those considerations come as Congress last week appropriated $337.8 million for Air Force AMRAAM procurement in the fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending bill signed May 5 -- $12.3 million less than was requested because of a "pricing adjustment." Another $62.5 million was allocated for research and development.

The Air Force will buy 256 AIM-120D missiles in Lot 31 this year, according to the service's FY-17 budget documents. Funds will also go toward building and modifying test equipment to support AIM-120D production, updating the missile's data package to make sure its design remains viable, developing the supplier base and addressing problems like obsolescence and manufacturing shortages.

The Air Force awarded a Raytheon a $573 million Lot 30 contract in March 2016, and Krebs expects to see a Lot 31 contract later this fiscal year. A Pentagon selected acquisition report published in March 2016 notes the F3R upgrades, which will offer faster processors and new memory, were planned to cut into the latter part of Lot 31 in FY-19.

"The Lot 28 contract, with priced options for Lots 29 and 30, was awarded on Dec. 22, 2014 for $492 million. Lot 29 contract option was awarded on March 24, 2015 for $529 million," the report stated, later adding: "As of Dec. 31, 2015, Raytheon has delivered 1,498 of 2,074 AIM-120D missiles on contract and has delivered 1,548 of 2,400 AIM-120C7 FMS missiles on contract (through Lot 29)."

Krebs also said the Air Force is considering extending the length of the AIM-120D program of record by at least one lot past Lot 38, which would be delivered in the mid-2020s.

"What we're planning right now is, the F3R configuration would go basically to the end of the program," he said. "We would do some obsolescence updates over time, but we don't really have any plans for any, I'll say, step function and designs or anything like that as we go forward. It'll mostly be in evolutionary upgrades as we take advantage of the processors and [field-programmable gate arrays] that are in the missile."

Krebs added that he expects the program to ramp up somewhat over the next decade and said the company could increase production by about 20 percent. That possibility is also being discussed, he said, but that "it's probably going into the hopper with all the rest of the weapons requests."

"We have been preparing, if possible, to up our rate of production if necessary or asked, and we've certainly gone through those exercises," Krebs said. "Air-to-ground weapons seem to be a little bit more in demand because they've got some shortages, and I think air-to-air is maybe taking a little bit of a backseat to that."

"If you look at the inventory numbers for AMRAAM, they're well below their desired inventory, whatever that means," he continued. "At some point, they will end up increasing the numbers, and we've given the Air Force various proposals on ways that we can increase our production even higher than what we're currently set up for."

Those tweaks could include changes to test equipment, Krebs said.

The Air Force is moving through tests for system improvement programs on the AIM-120D known as SIP-1 and SIP-2, which offer software upgrades and look at aircraft integration and issues found in developmental and operational testing. Operational test for SIP-1 finished in FY-16, according to the annual report from the director of operational test and evaluation released in January. The second SIP is on schedule, Krebs said, and is slated to finish in FY-18.

The March 2016 selected acquisition report stated SIP-1 fielding was projected for the fourth quarter of FY-16, with SIP-2 to be fielded in the first quarter of FY-19 and SIP-3 to come in the first quarter of FY-21.

Krebs did not elaborate on how those tests are progressing but said Raytheon is meeting the necessary requirements to deal with "the latest advanced threats."

On May 2, the Air Force posted a Federal Business Opportunities notice for future AMRAAM program acquisitions from fiscal year 2020 through FY-29, with work ending Sept. 30, 2032. New contracts are expected to encompass: growth in the AIM-120D system improvement programs; changes to software on the AIM-120C3 through C7 missiles; testing and simulation for integration onto the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, F-35 and foreign platforms; upgrades for test facilities; test laboratory management; and contractor support at missile test sites.

Raytheon deferred to the Air Force when asked for more details on the FBO notice, and the service had no additional information.
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2017, 07:50:30 am »
On the VFDR AMRAAM :

Quote
Typical full-duration VFDR AMRAAM (7-in. class) tests – including pre-fire and post-fire run-ups – required 400 to 600 lbm of air. A block diagram of the facility layout is provided in Fig. 1. Approximately 85% of the VFDR AMRAAM engine tests were performed at this facility. A VFDR AMRAAM ramjet engine is shown on the test stand in Fig. 2.

During a ramjet engine test in the McGregor facility, air from the trailer entered the test facility through a single 3-in. feed line, which then split the flow into two smaller 2-in. feed lines. The air passed through dual-stage pressure regulators to provide a constant pressure to the system, even though the storage tank pressure was diminishing during operation. The regulators also ensured that system pressure never exceeded the design pressure of the pebble bed heating vessels.

Each of the smaller 2-in. lines fed an adjustable single-set-point regulator that reduced trailer pressure to a constant intermediate value of choice. Air at this reduced pressure entered a programmable regulator, which controlled air pressure to a downstream metering venturi according to a preset schedule. The dual-stage regulation greatly enhanced the precision tracking of the command pressure profile. Each of the two lines could pass a maximum 11-lbm/sec airflow, thus giving the facility a maximum capability of 22 lbm/sec. The air storage tanks are illustrated in Fig. 3.

The dual airflow lines ran through independent metering venturi stations and through electric pebble-bed heaters. One line dumped air into a heater with a capacity of 1150 R, while the other line ran through a larger heater with a capacity of 1500 R. Piping from the heaters to the test article was electrically heated and insulated to minimize temperature losses. By using different pebble-bed heater temperature set points and mixing air from each of the two lines, the total air flow rate and delivered temperature of the air to the test article was modulated to simulate dynamic flight trajectories. By providing total temperatures up to 1500 R, the facility effectively could achieve Mach 3 sea-level conditions and Mach 3.8 at higher simulated altitude. The large capacity pebble bed heater is shown in Fig. 4.

NEXT-GENERATION PROPULSION REQUIREMENTS


Tactical air-breathing propulsion provides solutions with extended range capability and increased average flight speed. With government added emphasis on time-criticality in next-generation propulsion systems, it became apparent to the NAVSEA/ATK team that the environments would be more severe than what could be simulated by the McGregor facility. During the VFDR AMRAAM program the McGregor facility was consolidated and transferred to the NAVSEA Allegany Ballistics Laboratory site in Rocket Center, WV. It was recognized that the benefits of using a facility arrangement similar to the McGregor storage heated facility would provide accurate clean-air ramjet engine test environments, real-time trajectory capability, as well as cost-effective testing for the end user. Also, by using clean-air methodologies at high pressures, the facility could be widely used to generate data for heat shield and aero- thermal research on materials and flight vehicle airframes.

The facility requirements were defined based on the foreseeable tactical propulsion needs for U.S. interest. The facility was developed to be expandable provided the airflow rate and/or temperature requirements change. But most importantly, the unit had to provide realistic, high-performance airflow to the test vehicle, accurately simulating air-breathing engine flight. The zones identified for near-term need are displayed in Fig. 5.

Three zones were identified that generally encompass the foreseeable tactical propulsion need for ramjet propulsion engines. The first and largest zone represents air-launched missiles, such as VFDR AMRAAM and HARM propulsion upgrades. The second, middle, zone identifies foreseeable improvements to the speed of cruise missile systems such as Tomahawk. The third zone identifies the general region to expect supersonic vehicles that provide kinetic-energy-kill capability such as Future Combat System (FCS), or compact KE missile applications. Figure 5 illustrates a Mach-Altitude flight regime and is overlaid with representative lines of constant total temperature. This provides information as to the temperatures expected in subsonic combustion air-breathing vehicles. Airflow capacity is a function of the engine size, primarily, so the facility was designed upgrade-capable to meet these future needs.

The primary design consideration became the heating methodology. Many forms were considered, including vitiated and storage heaters, but for ramjet engine takeover at low Mach and high altitude, and high Mach flight at high temperature, only the storage heating systems met future high technology evaluation criteria.

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Offline sferrin

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2017, 07:53:07 am »
"Typical full-duration VFDR AMRAAM (7-in. class) tests – including pre-fire and post-fire run-ups – required 400 to 600 lbm of air. A block diagram of the facility layout is provided in Fig. 1. Approximately 85% of the VFDR AMRAAM engine tests were performed at this facility. A VFDR AMRAAM ramjet engine is shown on the test stand in Fig. 2.

During a ramjet engine test in the McGregor facility, air from the trailer entered the test facility through a single 3-in. feed line, which then split the flow into two smaller 2-in. feed lines. The air passed through dual-stage pressure regulators to provide a constant pressure to the system, even though the storage tank pressure was diminishing during operation. The regulators also ensured that system pressure never exceeded the design pressure of the pebble bed heating vessels."

Like a nanoscale version of the Project Pluto test setup.  ;D
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Offline lastdingo

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2017, 08:37:59 am »
The lack of interest or slow-pace the DoD has been investigating further AMRAAM upgrades or replacement is a bit troubling. The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.

Even as an interim step an "AIM-120E" with multi-pulse rocket motor and potentially an AESA seeker would seem to be a good investment.

More on AESA seekers for a AIM-120 follow-on missile:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=4993.msg307099;topicseen#msg307099
(topic: AESA seeker for Patriot successor)

http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2017/03/technological-lag.html
(topic: AESA in air combat missiles in general)

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2017, 08:52:21 am »
Quote
The lack of interest or slow-pace the DoD has been investigating further AMRAAM upgrades or replacement is a bit troubling. The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.

Even as an interim step an "AIM-120E" with multi-pulse rocket motor and potentially an AESA seeker would seem to be a good investment.

Obsolesce issues aside, the Aim-120D is likely the last major AMRAAM project overhaul. They have looked at it multiple times, and at various stages starting from the late 1990s and into the 2000s. Each time, short of a basic kinematic increase through a motor upgrade they had decided to move towards a new weapon.

Even in 2010 timeframe, the Air Force had decided upon a two pronged approach towards a new missile. One focused towards an AMRAAM class, high performance, near full spherical capability weapon that was  dual use  and another focused towards higher magazine depth for internal carriage of current and future fighters, bombers and unmanned aircraft. The T3 was built into the JDRADM/NGM program and successfully demonstrated what it set out to. That program (JDRADM/NGM) was cancelled during its MSA, but the T3 that was incorporated in it was fully funded to completion. I think the best approach going forward is to pick off where this program left off, i.e. continue to build upon the T3 and enter into a technology development phase of that class of missile, and continue to pursue the SACM, on its time-lime. The aim would be to field the JDRADM based weapon in the 2025-2027 time-frame, and a SACM in the early 2030s.

On AMRAAM, they can continue to replace obsolete parts but most importantly, buy it in right quantities so that it can replace a bulk of the older variants.

https://www.scribd.com/document/349693929/JDRADM

From a purely kinematic perspective, the Army has an 7" Aerojet dual pulse motor not different in size from the AMRAAM. This in addition to any other work AFRL may have done in that domain.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 09:43:36 am by bring_it_on »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #53 on: June 05, 2017, 02:30:20 pm »
Status of Ramjet Programs in the United States Patrick W. Hewitt
Aerojet. 5945 Wellington Road. Gainesville, Virginia 20155 AIAA 2008-5265




Quote

VFDR-FVC PROGRAM


Aerojet is conducting the Variable Flow Dueled Rocket - Flight Vehicle Concepts (VFDR-FVC) program for the US Air Force and Raytheon. The primary goal for the VFDR-FVC Program is to advance the successful US Air Force VFDR propulsion section by adapting it to be compatible with internal carriage in the F-22, and to define an appropriate flight test vehicle and test program. A secondary goal for the program was the development of tactical missile design concepts for Dual Range Missile (DRaM), Dual Role Missile (DRoM) and a Dual Range/Dual Role Missile (DRRM).

The VFDR missile layout is shown in figure 10. This solid fuel ducted rocket engine was the result of over twenty years oftechnology development by the USAF Wright-Patterson in ihe 1980’s and 1990’s. The two aft inlets are located 90° to each other for reasons of aircraft launch station fitment on external stations. Internal carriage presents different packaging constraints and limits the loadout for the VFDR configuration. The VFDR-FVC program sought to develop an alternate inlet and steering control design that was compatible with internal carriage as well as all legacy launch aircraft stations. The tactical designs are required to be one-for-one interchangeable with the AIM-] 20 AMRAAM, on any station and/or loadout option, in any combination inside the F/A-22. In addition they could be carried on the F-15, F-16, F-35 and unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVj as well as Navy- specific aircraft such as the F/A-18.

Following a mechanical design study to identify available volumes within the aircraft bays, several options for inlet placement were identified. These options included a chin inlet similar to that used on the ASALM and SLAT flight vehicles; two modified single aft-mounted undentlung inlets; four aft-mounted inlets in an annulus around the missile body, a single underslung aft inlet, and deployable inieis that reveal a boundary layer diverter after opening.

The configuration ultimately selected was a single aft mounted underslung inlet, as shown in figure 11. This traded favorably with regard to performance, missile integration, and external aerodynamics.


The performance of the installed inlet was documented in a scries of wind tunnel tests, which provided detailed maps on inlet characteristics to support engine and missile performance modeling. The inlet test hardware is shown in figure 13. Mach numbers were tested from 1,8 to 4.0, pitch angles from -5° to 15°, and sideslip angles up to 5°. Bleed patterns for both vamp and throat regions were also evaluated. Additionally, data was gathered on repeatability, Reynold’s number effects, and start/reslart characteristics.


The single inlet dump also presents a challenge in combustor design. The tum-and-dump elbow must be designed to efficiently turn the air with minimum pressure losses, and mix with the fuel to promote high combustion efficiency. Modeling of the dump geometry was performed as illustrated in figure 14 to form a basis for future connected pipe testing. The initial results indicate that the flow turning losses should be comparable to the 2-inlet VP DR, Optimization o f the fuel injector and combustor flow management will be the subject o f fittrue work.



« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 12:57:22 am by flateric »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #54 on: June 05, 2017, 04:01:55 pm »
Wingspan commonality with the Aim-120C seems to have been a major design goal . Seems to be a major drawback for the Meteor configuration as far as F-22A integration is concerned.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 04:35:21 pm by bring_it_on »
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Offline Steven

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #55 on: June 05, 2017, 11:55:40 pm »
Isn't the inlet configuration of the Meteor partly driven by conformal carriage requirements for the Typhoon? Otherwise it would seem odd to deliberately design the missile with different maneuverability in different body planes. The issue seems less pronounced on the VFDR AMRAAM with the chin-mounted inlet.

Speaking of which, is the F-22's bay capable of accommodating the AIM-120A/B without the clipped tail surfaces? It's difficult to tell because the packing of the clipped fin AIM-120C already looks very tight inside the bays.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:19:33 am by Steven »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #56 on: June 06, 2017, 02:18:04 am »
If the thesis that I posted in the T3 thread is accurate, the difference in the wingspan accounting for the inlet and the control fins is quite significant. 20 inches for the meteor configuration compared to 12.5 for Aim-120C on the F-22.

I don't think the Inlet on the VFDR AMRAAM is limiting carriage since the fins probably contribute more to the packing challenge. But then on the raptor's bay the missiles are not lined right next to each other.

The inlets on the other hand would have likely challenged a 6 Meteor carriage on the raptor and may do the same if MBDA wishes to attempt to pack 6 internal meteor's on the F-35 to match the expanded future carriage growth with the AMRAAM.

Thanks Flateric for the colored shots  :)...
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 02:21:22 am by bring_it_on »
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Offline Steven

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #57 on: June 06, 2017, 10:17:53 am »
I accidentally misspoke, I meant that the inlet configuration on the VFDR AMRAAM seems less limiting on carriage compared to the Meteor. The inlets on the Meteor extend the span of the tail surfaces substantially.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:21:08 am by Steven »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #58 on: June 06, 2017, 12:11:52 pm »
Yes considerably so even if you were to clip the Meteor's fins as they are doing for the F-35 integration. You still have to account for intakes on the sides that run the length of the propulsion section. Its not the most optimized configuration from a tight packing point of view when it comes to internal bay configurations, unless one designs a larger bay specifically with it as the baseline weapon.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 04:50:45 pm by bring_it_on »
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Offline Steven

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Re: AIM-120 AMRAAM projects
« Reply #59 on: June 06, 2017, 04:33:19 pm »
It still puzzles me why the Meteor chose to not have an axisymmetric inlet configuration. I understand that conformal carriage in the recessed AMRAAM launchers on the Typhoon was a design driver but the resulting dissymmetry in the different maneuvering planes and the possible need to trim due to asymmetric drag would make it seem like a less-than-ideal solution. Furthermore, based on this AIAA report it would appear as if the inlet performance between the Meteor and VFDR AMRAAM were comparable, while the latter appears to be compatible with anything the Meteor is designed to be compatible with (i.e. conformal carriage stations on the Typhoon), plus more. This just makes me further wonder why they didn't choose the latter configuration from the get go. I'm not sure if the geometry of the Meteor would enable efficient waveriding.

I believe a VFDR, by nature of the longer burning motor, would also likely be more detectable by infrared missile launch detectors like the system the F-22 and F-35 is equipped with, and it can allow for longer response time for countermeasures, though the higher average speed of such a missile may negate that.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 01:48:24 pm by Steven »
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