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AGM-183A ARRW

ocay

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So is this basically Air launched ballistic missile rather than a exotic air breathing hypersonic missile?
 

TomS

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So is this basically Air launched ballistic missile rather than a exotic air breathing hypersonic missile?
No, because it's a boost-glide weapon. That means that it's flying aerodynamically, not falling ballistically like a ballistic missile. But yes, the propulsion is all rocket, not air-breathing. Which is why this is closer to operational than the various air-breathing concepts.
 
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Josh_TN

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That weapon suspiciously looks like the upper two stages of a Minuteman III with a truncated payload shroud. Using dimensions someone posted above, 6.5 - 1.7 = 4.8 meters. Minuteman III 2nd stage: ~2.67 meters. Minuteman III 3rd stage: ~1.68 meters. So total 4.35m, plus presumably some interstage length, which puts it in the ballpark of 4.8 meters. If we were comfortable with a width of 1.3 meters, is this thing most of the top half of a minuteman III minus the 4th stage rocket/interstage and warhead bus?

Whatever it is, I feel it had to be a pre-existing booster of some kind for it to be rolled out as quickly as it was. If not MMIII, then some other small sized solid launcher from Orbital or whoever.

Edit: After reading through the general hypersonic topic, there are multiple projects that seem to involve a 34.5" wide missile that seems to have been adopted widely across all the various boost/glide projects, including the USN and Army. So that would fit much better in the diameters estimates posted here. I still suspect this booster had some kind of pre-existing pedigree, maybe an upper stage of a small to medium sized orbital system.
 
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Ravinoff

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Edit: After reading through the general hypersonic topic, there are multiple projects that seem to involve a 34.5" wide missile that seems to have been adopted widely across all the various boost/glide projects, including the USN and Army. So that would fit much better in the diameters estimates posted here. I still suspect this booster had some kind of pre-existing pedigree, maybe an upper stage of a small to medium sized orbital system.
Digging around a bit, might have a few candidates.
  • Orbital ATK Orion 38, used on Pegasus, Minotaur upper stages and Antares, 38"/94cm diameter
  • Northrop Grumman Graphite-Epoxy Motor, specifically the 40" diameter GEM-40 from the Delta II
  • Thiokol Star 37, upper stage on some Delta-family and Thor-Burner launch vehicles, 37" diameter
  • Thiokol Castor 4 series, ~1m/36" diameter
Any of those sound plausible?

Edit to add: 34.5" also compares very closely with Nike Zeus at 36" and the old WS-199C High Virgo and WS-199D Alpha Draco at 31", the latter two intriguingly were boost-glide test vehicles as well.
 
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Josh_TN

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When I tried looking for candidates, I was bewildered with the variety of solid rockets from Northrop alone. They had a pdf that describes the GEM series for a dozen pages. So this is a hopeless task, and it might be that this particular booster is a black program come to light and the USN specifically contracted this size for submarine use*, since they appear to be spear heading the first wave of boost/glide for all services. The 2017 test was theirs; the army is adapting their full up round, and ARRW looks suspiciously like the same dimensions.

The only thing I could turn up was that the original army hypersonic boost glide from 2011 was STARS, which is a Polaris missile converted to a BM target. In that case converted to a glide vehicle booster. It’s if anything wider than minuteman upper stages and the weights of both would be prohibitive on a B-52 HSA beam adapter now that I think about it. So I definitely barked up the wrong tree.

The USN test in 2017 probably used something else, but they aren’t saying. But whatever they used, it looks like ARRW and LRHW share the same booster and biconical glide vehicle. Those programs seem to be the quick deployment low hanging fruit set for IOC in the 2023-2025 range, with more capability introduced in following programs.


*Edit to add: I've read a USN paper about hypersonics, and there position is they aren't tailoring it to any specific platform...but they want it to be flown from any platform, and submarines have the most stringent requirements. Ergo, they are making a sub launched weapon and worrying about what they put it on later. Spoiler alert, it will be a submarine - either a post refit SSGN or they will wait for Block V Virginia, which should come out around the same time. If they were being cheap they might keep the old Ohios as BGM-109 platforms but make sure all the payload extensions were Prompt Global Strik capable. They see to be the ones choosing the booster and the terminal shape right now. Which I personally am fine with, and I'm glad the services are standardizing to at least some degree. The wackier programs that involve smaller air breathing scramjets can wait until later, in my opinion. Something basic and boost glide that is just GPS and INS brings a lot to the table; terminal homing and air breathing can wait a few years.
 
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Ravinoff

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I've read a USN paper about hypersonics, and there position is they aren't tailoring it to any specific platform...but they want it to be flown from any platform, and submarines have the most stringent requirements. Ergo, they are making a sub launched weapon and worrying about what they put it on later. Spoiler alert, it will be a submarine - either a post refit SSGN or they will wait for Block V Virginia, which should come out around the same time. If they were being cheap they might keep the old Ohios as BGM-109 platforms but make sure all the payload extensions were Prompt Global Strik capable.
Hm...here's a thought: a UGM-133 Trident II is 6ft11in diameter, with a tube size of 88in, With a 34.5" footprint, you can pretty handily fit two of these new hypersonics in place of a Trident cell, and by extension also drop a pair of them in place of each seven-round Tomahawk VLS on the Virginia-class and SSGN Ohio refits.
 

Josh_TN

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Actually I was thinking you could probably fit 3-4 per tube. Seven feet diameter would allow four missiles to sit abreast in two axis, depending on the containerization and the degree of shock hardening. The 34.5" diameter seems to be USN driven, which makes me think that as much as they claim to be agnostic about launch platform, they envision this is a Trident tube module for the non SSBN force tubes from the get go. The size and weight of this weapon don't translate into any surface vessel well. More over, if the range is on the order of 1000-2000 miles, if it isn't under water, it might as well be the Army version and hop around Guam between the current airbase, the munitions dump, and what's left of the old airbase that hasn't been paved over for ELINT and Satellite tracking. Plenty of hard surfaces for a truck mounted system to drive through in that rat's maze, so long as it at least had low pressure tires.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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What do you think its ARRW?

“The purpose of the demonstration was to show that we’re still able to move the bulkhead from the forward intermediate bay to the forward location; increasing the intermediate bay capacity from 180 inches to 269 inches, said Lt. Col. Dominic Ross, B-1B program element monitor, AFGSC. “Additionally, we demonstrated that we can still carry weapons externally on six of the eight hard points, which increases our overall carriage capacity.”

“It increases the magazine capacity of the B-1B. Currently we can carry 24 weapons internally, now it can be increased to potentially 40 based on what type of pylon we would create,” Ross said. “This gets the B-1 into the larger weapons, the 5,000 pounders. It gets it into the hypersonics game as well.”

Ross said that the B-1B was designed with eight hard points to carry weapons, as well as a moveable bulkhead...
 
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Moose

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I've read a USN paper about hypersonics, and there position is they aren't tailoring it to any specific platform...but they want it to be flown from any platform, and submarines have the most stringent requirements. Ergo, they are making a sub launched weapon and worrying about what they put it on later. Spoiler alert, it will be a submarine - either a post refit SSGN or they will wait for Block V Virginia, which should come out around the same time. If they were being cheap they might keep the old Ohios as BGM-109 platforms but make sure all the payload extensions were Prompt Global Strik capable.
Hm...here's a thought: a UGM-133 Trident II is 6ft11in diameter, with a tube size of 88in, With a 34.5" footprint, you can pretty handily fit two of these new hypersonics in place of a Trident cell, and by extension also drop a pair of them in place of each seven-round Tomahawk VLS on the Virginia-class and SSGN Ohio refits.
The Navy program envisions 3 per SSGN/SSN Payload Tube, according to most of the chatter I've seen.
 

flateric

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What do you think its ARRW?
The demonstration showed a notional hypersonic missile mock-up attached to a Conventional Rotary Launcher; the same CRL used on the B-52H.
 
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