Advanced US short-range AAMS for the 1970s - AIM-82, AIM-95 Agile, CLAW

The total RDT&E cost for Agile is estimated at 266.5 million dollars. Funding for long head hardware will be requested in FY 1977. Following a favorable decision at DSARC IIA in July 1977, we expect to be ready for pilot production.
Agile is our dogfight weapon of the future. It is now in advanced development and is scheduled for engineering development in [deleted ] . The planned configuration is a wingless design using a thrust vector control motor to provide high turning rates. We are considering off-boresight acquisition and launch angles out to [ deleted ]. Agile is designed to significantly increase the number of firing opportunities for fighter aircraft in a maneuvering air-to-air engagement. It will also provide the first significant self-defense capability for our attack aircraft.

Captain MOHLENHOFF. Captain Mohlenhoff of the Naval Air Systems Command.
Urgent need for dogfight,missile. Shoot first and shoot best-performance needed : Maximum launch region within visual range and angle, instantaneous reaction time from target detection to launch, maximum dynamic capability, maximum reliability, maximum lethality. But, affordable cost, kill effectiveness per dollar-figure of merit. This report begins with a brief overview of the requirements for this missile. We will then show you the current technology status of Agile and the corresponding effectiveness estimate. We will summarize progress made this year and the planned work, funding and scheduling for next year and beyond. The production cost estimate will be of special interest. Then we will finalize with current cost effectiveness estimates.

When considering recent experience in air-to- air combat and projected air threats, the Navy has concluded that there is an urgent requirement for a new, substantially superior air- to-air missile for close-in engagements or dogfight. It must provide these basic characteristics. We must get the first shot. Maximum launch region and fast reaction time will provide that. We also must improve the reliability and performance in the launch/guidance and lethality areas to shoot best. Only this combination will give us the performance needed. One of the most important requirements is affordable cost. A compromise must be made in the band of affordable cost and needed performance. Kill effectiveness per dollar becomes the appropriate figure of merit for this compromise.

The current configuration of the Agile guided missile weapon system is illustrated here. The pictures, in normal reading sequence, include an aircraft helmet sight system for acquisition and relay to the missile seeker, on the upper left, and the associated electronics, on the right. In the center, the Agile missile envelope is expanded in- close and to large angles, to greatly increase firing opportunity. The missile is wingless and thrust- vector controlled-designed to make hard turns and has a higher seeker tracking angle and rate and improved warhead lethality. It is designed to shoot at all possible target orientations. Agile is, in fact, designed to allow us to shoot first and shoot best.


Senator CANNON. Is that the only system now that you have that has the helmet coupled sight ?
Captain MOHLENHOFF. No, sir ; we have an example of that sight here. It is deployed in Southeast Asia in two squadrons in USS Ranger
Commander CASSIDY. We slave the radar or Sidewinder -9G or H seeker to the helmet sight. We actually acquire by pointing the helmet sight which slews the radar or missile seeker to the target. This gives us the capability to lock up earlier. I have one here.
Admiral HOUSER. Would you like to see it ?
Senator CANNON. I have seen them. I have seen them in use in the old Cheyenne program.
Captain MOHLENHOFF. The only change for Agile is wider angle coverage.

This is our present version of the Agile missile. It is maneuvered by a nozzle in the rear which is vectored to alter the course of the missile. The missile airframe itself provides the aerodynamic lift. We plan to produce it in three sections or modules: The guidance or electronics section up forward, the ordnance assembly, and the control assembly.

We have just arrived at this baseline, with the dimensions andweight shown at the top here. The [deleted] weight will be reduced, as will cost and risk areas in the next design iterations. We will manage the design process for highest possible reliability and minimum unit cost down to the smallest part. It is a phased- in replacement for Sidewinder and will use the same launch stations and switches in our aircraft. It is a short-range, visual- dogfight missile and does not compete with Phoenix or Sparrow, but supplements their longer range capability


Senator CANNON. You say you can use the same launcher system ?
Captain MOHLENHOFF. There will be modification of the launcher system. We are looking at whether the modification is more expensive than a change in the launcher. The aircraft modifications for either single- or dual-seat operation are simple, relatively inexpensive, and uncomplicated. The key avionic item required for Agile is the helmet-mounted sight. We have had recent experience with the installation in deployed fleet squadrons. We are now estimating the DSARC II milestone for the engineering development decision in April 1974. The Agile program preparation for the DSARC II decision hast he following objectives :
We will present a recommended baseline design, suitable for release to engineering development.
We will support the credibility of that design by feasibility proofof the critical Agile features.
We also will provide the extensive and detailed cost/effectiveness comparisons of our recommended design with other alternative methods of approach.

To give you a feeling, in two dimensions, of the differences between Sidewinder AIM-9L and Agile, let me show the nominal Agile and AIM-9L firing envelopes. The "friendly" is in the middle. These envelopes are actually volumes, or launch acceptable regions, flexing with the changing dynamics of a dogfight. An attacking adversary can be shot at with the AIM-9L colored limits shown. The Agile system permits the friendly pilot to readily fire at adversaries almost anywhere they may be in his field of view. The Agile shot volume is at least [ deleted ] times that of the Sidewinder 9L.

In addition to the advantage this gives our fighters, our attack aircraft can also more readily defend themselves without jettisoning their bomb load and aborting their primary mission. As shown here, we have had the opportunity to do extensive manned air combat simulation as well as our real dogfights in the recent Vietnam air engagements. In no other missile program in the design stage have we ever had the opportunity to look so thoroughly at the conditions of its projected use. We have had 1494 minutes or about 25 hours, of dogfights in combat simulators representing several different aircraft types and fights of real aircraft in mock engagements. We have quantified the dogfight to design the missile.

This vastly improved capability of the Agile aircraft in being able to get a shot off first is a consequence of the [ deleted ] .The long curve is an average of results covering F-4 vs MIG-21 dogfight data from that we have just summarized and shows the mean time into a dogfight for the first shot of a missile from the F-4 as a function of the missile's off- boresight seeker coverage. The data include fights typical of projected air wars in enemy airspace that started with the MIG at the nose, beam and tail of the F-4 inequal distribution. Thus the F-4 was seriously at a disadvantage two-thirds of the time. As is shown in the long curve, time into the dogfight for the first firing opportunity increases dramatically with a decrease in seeker off- boresight capability. The first Agile missile is fired in an average of [ deleted ] seconds into the dogfight. The average time for the first AIM-9L is [ deleted ] seconds. The curve shows only average firing times where firings were possible. An Agile firing was possible in [ deleted ] of the dogfights, whereas theAIM-9L could be fired only in [ deleted ] percent of them. If the MIG had the Agile and then the AIM-9L, the situation is as shown in the steeper line. The initial advantage and [ deleted ] . This illustrates why we need both superior missiles and superior aircraft. Having covered the shoot first factor, this table numerically compares the effectiveness of the interim AIM-9 versions and the Agile, which will replace them in the shoot best area. The mock and simulated dogfight data just mentioned is the basis of the Agile and 9L figures. Analog and digital simulations of the missiles are also used. Red Baron SE Asia history was used to obtain the other AIM-9 figures. The reliability factor is about the same for all missiles and is not included. In the P per shot column, the value for presently deployed Sidewinder's is quite good, [ deleted] percent, but this is only the kill probability once the pilot has achieved firing position and pulled the trigger. The AIM-9L and Agile will have better Pk per shot values as shown, because of increasing warhead capability and guidance electronic improvements.

The most significant set of numbers for Agile is the column with the arrow, the probability of shooting, given that a maneuvering engagement occurs. This is the number that can only be obtained in mock combat or Red Baron data. As shown in this colume, Agile will be able to shoot [ deleted] times more often than the current Sidewinder's. This means that Agile will be shot by [ deleted ] in ain nearly every dogfight instead of one in several, as in the Red Baron history. It is this factor that will provide our tactical aircraft with the capability of coping with the numerical superiority of the enemy in his own airspace. When you multiply the 1st two columns out, you get the third, which we call the P per dogfight, or Pk, given that a dogfight occurs. Agile will be at least [deleted ] times better than Sidewinder9L on this basis, where just one missile is fired, and many times bet ter if more than one is fired .Let me also project some other interesting potential applications of Agile technology. Agile could defend surface vessels against attack by any [deleted. ] It is particularly noteworthy that the missile will allow [ deleted ]and thus expands their capability in offensive and supporting roles.The tactical flexibility is available because of the dynamic turn capability and seeker IR sensitivity. In the lower right, the seeker can be [deleted. ]


TVC airframe control at [deleted] .
Pilot tracking ability compatible with Agile requirements.
VTAS angular coverage compatible with Agile requirements.
Seeker off-boresight tracking of [ deleted] degrees.
Rail launch demonstrated.
Motor performance requirements determined.
Airframe aerodynamic characteristics measured.
Seeker tracking requirements determined and demonstrated.
Seeker field of view and lock-on time requirements determined.

We have demonstrated, to our satisfaction, the capabilities shown, which are of the utmost criticality to Agile missile system performance. The [ deleted] demonstration will be discussed further. The pilot and VTAS sight tracking to [deleted] degrees have been accomplished. The rail launch has been proven and motor performance optimized. We now have aerodynamic flight data which validates our computer simulations. The needed seeker characteristics have been defined.

This chart shows the maneuver of the thrust vectored airframe ina flight test which we will show you in a film. As you can see, the missile attitude was controlled to an angle of attack of [deleted] .It is through this kind of maneuver that the missile is able to chase and catch maneuvering targets at large angles off the boresight axis of the Agile aircraft. In this test, it performed almost identically to the simulations derived from our various laboratory tests and measurements. The film we will have here will close with a brief clip of a pilot tracking with a helmet sight during test of the tracking system.

[Film shown. ]

NARRATION OF FILM-The missile was ground launched *** -This is in slow motion ***-The smoke trail shows the flight direction ***-The real time repeat is more dramatic * * *-The pilot is able to track to the full missile capabilities.[End of film. ]


Risk reduction for DSARC II

Pilot NTAS/seeker lock-on. April 1973
Safe separation launch dynamics. May 1973
Seeker sensitivity . [deleted]
Seeker airframe body isolation . [deleted]
Boost/sustain vehicle controllability. [deleted]
Launch sequence….3-dimensional maneuver control .[deleted]
Guided flight controllability ..[deleted]

The risk areas that remain to be demonstrated, and the dates by which we expect to accomplish final demonstrations of technical feasibility are summarized here. We want to check the lock-on to the Agile [ deleted ] and validate our laboratory seeker sensitivity tests and calculations by flight test. Those are the first and third items. The second item is low- risk testing to verify safe separation from the airplane. The rest are flight tests in increasing complexity to verify that all parts of the system function as we test more and more of the subsystems together. The last test will be the graduation exercise.

We have confidence that we will be successful in this work because we feel we are addressing engineering solutions at this point, rather than the more fundamental question of "Can it be done at all ?" This recent history of fiscal year 1973-1974 R.D.T. & E. funding reductions is basic to our progress in the project. Commencing in the fall of 1972, we were still at the DCP 15A funding levels shown on the left here $26.1 million for fiscal year 1973 and $38.4 million for1974. In October 1972, we experienced the first of a series of in-year funding reductions to $33.5 în 1974, which we were expecting when we reported to you last year.

We now have available $16.6 million in 1973 and $21.7 million planned in 1974. The effort at the Naval Weapons Center and new planning through fiscal 1974 were successively adjusted to these re- ductions and we have the effort through the remainder of fiscal year 1973 well in hand. With our new plan, we project DSARC II to April 1974, vice June 1973, as scheduled last fall. These reductions stretched the advanced development schedule but they allowed some improvement in project planning and reduction of alternative subsystem effort. The cutbacks made vitally needed funds available to other high priority projects. We have kept the extension from causing a corresponding increase in our program cost. Here is the current overall Agile plan, spanning [deleted] years to full production in fiscal year [deleted] IOC would probably be in[ deleted ] Detailed planning in out-years will be presented at DSARC II. Following advanced development, it is planned that full scale development will consist of three phases:

(1) an engineering phase in which [ deleted] engineering models will be built ;
(2) a prototype phase in which 70 prototype units will be built for demonstration, IOT&E and Navy technical evaluation ; and
(3) a pilot production phase in which 200 units will be manufactured, with production funds, for OPEVAL and aircraft system tests.

Qualification will be completed before pilot production and operational evaluation will be completed prior to full production. Long lead-time approval for production effort shown will involve only essential small expenditures to hold overall program cost down. On the top of the viewgraph is the preferred funding profile, the one on which the schedule is based. At the bottom are the DCP and current OSD budget profiles. The DCP plan is currently being mod- ified.4241tdeOL0707dthWe present here a set of figures comparing Agile and Sidewinder unit production costs to DCP ground rules, in 1979 dollars which include all costs for support. The total buy and rate per year are shown. The [ deleted ] thousand dollars for Agile represents a Navy only quantity and rate. The [ deleted ] quantity and [ deleted] rate specified by OSD in DCP 15A of June 1972 yields an Agile figure of [deleted] thousand, below the DCP threshold limit of [ deleted] dollars. Investment costs and learning curve factors favor Sidewinder, but our current estimates are only about 20 percent above Sidewinder.

The lower quantities and rates reflect a Navy-only buy, but the intent is to develop the missile for dual service applications which would allow the higher quantity and rate and lower cost, and approach the DCP goal of [ deleted] dollars. On this chart, I have shown the classic program cost- schedule- performance trade-off triangle, and *** at the bottom of the chart, I have shown a range bounded at the top by maximum permissible cost ✶✶✶ and at the bottom by minimum permissible performance .In other words, a weapon must do the job intended as well as possible, and simultaneously, at an affordable cost. Schedule is less important now. If no such band exists, either the performance or cost goals cannot be met. We do have such a band with Agile and we are constantly iterating design and other alternatives that keep us within the acceptable band. Cost-effectiveness is our figure of merit to make the final selection. I will conclude by showing preliminary effectiveness and cost effectiveness comparisons of Agile, in four versions, with AIM-9L.

The first Agile is a thrust vector control version which has the best performance our technology will allow.
The second is one which makes large compromises to reduce cost.
The third is the most cost-effective version, and the fourth is an aerodynamic-controlled prospect meeting most of the performance goals, but having some risk areas and less growth potential.

The cost of the missiles are comparable, except that the cost of Sidewinder in the comparison includesa higher production rate effect for dual service buy in [ deleted] years. It correlates with the numbers on the previous comparison chartwhich were for [ deleted ] years, but is a comparison properly representing a continued Sidewinder buy versus a new Agile buy for Navy alone. Even on this basis, Agile is 3.2 times as cost effective as Sidewinder in our present preferred version. Compared on the same basis, it is about 3.5 times as cost effective.
Previously posted in JPG form

This weapon has now been cancelled but the original entry has been retained for historical purposes in this edition,and supplemented by the final status information issued.

AIM-82A is the designation given to a new short-range, air-to-air “dogfight” missile being developed for the USAF for deployment with the F-15 fighter aircraft. No details have been released concerning the weapon’s specifications, but it has been stated that unlike missiles currently in the USAF inventory, the AIM-82A is designed to acquire and lock onto a manoeuvring target from any angle and proceed to the target while the aircraft from which it is launched turns away.

The dogfight missile will be developed in parallel with the F-15. It will also be made compatible with the F-4, FB-111, A-6, A-7 and the Navy's F-14. The USAF is currently co-operating in a joint study with the US Navy to determine the feasibility of adopting one dogfight missile for use both with the F-14 and F-15. It is expected that at some future point either the AIM-82A or AGILE, the similar Navy version, will be discarded.

The F-15/AIM-82A Interface Analysis was completed in July 1969. Requests for Proposals (RFP) were sent out by the USAF in February 1970. On April 7, 1970, 90-day system definition contracts of $1-5 million each were awarded to General Dynamics Corporation, Pomona Division; Hughes Aircraft Company, Missile Systems Division; and Phileo-Ford Corporation, Aeronautics Division. Each firm submitted proposals to the USAF in July 1970.

The AIM-82A programme was cancelled on September 2, 1970, thus making it probable that the AGILE (which see) will be deployed with both the F-14 and F-15 aircraft. In its announcement the USAF cited “austere funding” as well as joint USAF-USN discussions which had been ordered by the Deputy Secretary of Defense in January 1970 in order to arrive at a recommendation for development of a single missile for joint service use. The USAF also announced that an advanced version of the Navy’s AIM-9H Sidewinder (which see) had been selected as the initial air-to-air missile for the F-15.
Jane's Weapon Systems 1971-1972
Despite the apparent confusion, real advances were being made. A then-secret 1972 technical film describes the progress on the various components
and technologies. One sequence shows a June 1972 test of a preprogrammed Agile flight-test vehicle. Launched from the ground, it accelerated to 1,525 feet per second, turned to an angle of attack of 110 degrees, and then turned back to its original heading. The film recounts that despite angular accelerations of up to 4,000 degrees per second squared, roll rate and yaw remained under good control. Evaluations not only showed no unfavorable flight characteristics, but proved the Agile airframe to be more stable than predicted.
While my math isn't spectacular: Wouldn't angular accelerations of 4000 dps^2 at 1525 f/s produce momentary jolts around 3300g?
I should be more knowledgeable on this matter, but with the various discussions in this thread of NAVAIR, Systems Command, and China Lake, I'm confused about something: Isn't NAVAIR one of the USN's Systems Commands?
I should be more knowledgeable on this matter, but with the various discussions in this thread of NAVAIR, Systems Command, and China Lake, I'm confused about something: Isn't NAVAIR one of the USN's Systems Commands?

Yes. NAVAIR is shorthand for Naval Air Systems Command. (Just like NAVSEA is Naval Sea Systems Command.) So Systems Command and NAVAIR are usually synonymous for the purposes of this thread.
Hi guys, my friend told me that the USAF had two air-to-air missile programs in the 1970s that did not enter military service but were built.
One was the AIM97, a long-range interceptor missile mounted on the F15, and the other was the AIM95 "Agile" close-quarter combat missile, similar in performance to the R73, carried by the F4.

I can't find enough details on the internet. I hope someone can shed some light on this.

I will submit the information to the War Thunder forums in an effort to make these available to the F15s and F4s in the game.
As for the AIM95, here's what I've learned:
The earliest U.S. Army program for large off-axis angle air-to-air combat rounds would have been the USAF's AIM-82 in the late 60s, with its projected supporting F-15 use. In the late 60's, the exchange ratio of an F-15 using a computer-simulated combination of helmet sights + AIM-82 against a MIG-21 was 955:1 (i.e., for a one-on-one fight between an F-15 and a MIG-21, the MIG-21 would need to be lost an average of 955 times for every F-15 shot down).

As the AIM-82 was being researched at the same time the Navy was developing the next-generation fighting round, the AIM-95 "Agile," for the F-14, it was evaluated by Congress in September 1970 as a duplication of effort between the Air Force and Navy fighting round programs. As a result, the more radical Navy AIM-95 was retained as the next-generation general-purpose combat round, while the Air Force's AIM-82 program was canceled. Until its cancellation, the AIM-82 did not build a prototype to test fly.
The Hughes AIM-95A can be guided using VTAS as well as new helmet sights, and has a launch off-axis angle of about plus or minus 60 degrees, on the level of the improved R-73 of the 1990s.

The Hughes AIM-95A "Agile" was test-fired several hundred times between 1972 and 1975, and was expected to enter service in the late 1970s. But in 1975, due to high price and program cost overruns, the AIM-95A was axed by Congress in favor of a cheaper, improved, omnidirectional attack version of the Rattlesnake, the AIM-9L-which used a new indium antimonide guide head that was sensitive to the tens of degrees of temperature difference generated by friction from warplanes, and thus could attack warplanes in both forward and sideways directions. .

As of 1975 the AIM-95A program was canceled, while the Soviet Union's next-generation combat round, the R-73, was still on the drawing board.The AIM-95A program was canceled 10 years before the R-73 entered service.

The AIM-95A story did not end with the 1975 program cancellation. In 1974-1978, the U.S. Army conducted a large-scale air combat and air-to-air missile test known as ACEVAL/AIMVAL, and the AIM-95A missile, with its matching helmet sight, participated in the entire test.
The test mobilized advanced F-14/15s and a large number of older generation fighters such as F-4s and F-5Es for air combat, using all U.S. air-to-air missiles including the AIM-7E/F, AIM-9L and AIM-95A. The following conclusions were drawn:

The use of omni-directional fighting bombs AIM-9L cheap F-5E can achieve not inferior to the F-14/15 exchange ratio, as long as the number of fighting fighters go up, the exchange ratio of F-15 and F-5E will tend to 1:1, this exchange ratio of heavy F-15 will be a loss of money, this conclusion prompted the birth of the next generation of light fighters F-16, which is cheap and lightweight with only one engine installed;
Existing AIM-7E/F Sparrow air-to-air missiles need to be semi-active irradiation guidance, a one-time only to attack a target, completely unable to cope with swarming up dogfighting F-5E, the existing over-the-horizon combat capability is insufficient. This conclusion prompted the development of the AIM-120 active air-to-air missile, which can attack multiple targets simultaneously. 1718333913602_edit_208651823164282.jpg Screenshot_20240614_105605_edit_208723923669209.jpg
AIM-9L performance is already sufficient, 3 times the price of the AIM-95A + head sight will have an advantage in 1vs1/2vs2/4vs4 skirmishes, but the simulated large-scale combat air battles in Central Europe, with the new omni-directional combat rounds, the exchange ratio will tend to be 1:1, so the more expensive head sight + AIM-95A has little significance in the large-scale combat air battles. This conclusion has contributed to the eventual downgrading of the AIM-95A "Agile" missile;
As of 1975 the AIM-95A program was canceled, while the Soviet Union's next-generation combat round, the R-73, was still on the drawing board.The AIM-95A program was canceled 10 years before the R-73 entered service.

The development and then cancellation of the AIM-95 led to the Soviets developing the AA-11 Archer, they didn't believe it was cancelled but instead they believed the AIM-95 programme had gone black.
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