AGM-183A ARRW

NMaude

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It would suffer a massive performance loss being launched from the surface.
I could see the AGM-183 (Or RGM-183 in this case) being fitted with a launch-booster either a modified Mk-72 or a cut down GEM-40VN.
 

Josh_TN

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Why would they reinvent the wheel when the have an established two stage booster they are developing with/for the US Army? First test firing are supposed to occur by 2023. It seems likely that if anything the TBG glider is smaller than the SWERVE one the USN is using, so it would be easy to back fit that glider to the CPS if the USN wanted a more efficient/longer ranged impactor.
 

Kat Tsun

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X-51's JP7 scramjet propulsion is being continued with HAWC.

HyFly was a "failure" because it was an exotic engine system. Considering Boeing recently received funding to bring back the DCR engine for ground tests, although I doubt it will fly again, I don't really see how it failed at anything. It proved that the technology was too immature for use in a weapon. That's really all it set out to do, since it's DARPA. It would have been good if it had done more, but proving a technology requires more time to bake is a good result. It lets you eliminate the blind alleys.

OTOH RATTLRS was never going to transition to a weapon system. DARPA doesn't really fund that, that's the services' jobs.

The point of RATTLRS was to test the YJ-102R, which was an evolved version of a SLAT competitor's engine from the early 1990's.

I was with you until that. The YJ-102R is a turbine engine. SLAT used a ramjet.

My mistake, I forgot where I read that YJ102R was descended from some failed 1990's SLAT powerplant. Apparently the actual alternatives were a Vought ramjet and something by Teledyne Ryan. I'm probably conflating it with LRASM-B or something.

It's a minor point regardless, since I was intending to illustrate that the thinking behind a Mach 3-ish missile was already outdated at the time (~2006). The more serious matter is that the entire point of RATTLRS was to test the new fuel efficient engine for Mach 3 application, not to find applications for the engine. There's no way it would evolve to a weapons system for any service since at the time they were already looking at X-51, and various boost-glide weapons, which offered superior performance.

The idea of the Mach 3 cruise missile was something invented by Lockheed-Martin and has nothing to do with RATTLRS as a program of record, which was entirely successful in all its intended goals and scopes outside of some Lockheed marketing manager's fever dreams. AIUI the engine worked well enough and completed its flight tests fine. That's a success, even if it doesn't translate to making a red, white, and blue Granite.

The USNs hypersonic program is CPS using the SWERVE glider. It’s possible they will update the glider some time in the future but I suspect the two stage booster arrangement and diameter are fixed, so I can’t see AGM-183 being adopted. It would suffer a massive performance loss being launched from the surface.

I thought the USN and USAF were using a common glider for ARRW and...whatever the USN is making, though? And presumably whatever the Army gets, too? The boosters will be different but the actual weapons deployed are supposed to be the same I think.

edit: Okay so C-HGB is only Army and Navy, unless the Air Force just sorta tagged along.

S-400 is so effective at stopping Tomahawk that the US Navy had no problem avoiding it entirely through decent route planning and up-to-date EOOB information.

I don't recall the Chinese or Russians having figured out a bulletproof solution to Tomahawk, so they seem to be in the same bucket as they were in the '80's. The only difference is the US stopped deploying nuclear warheads with Tomahawk, but it isn't going to suddenly start putting atomic bombs in AGM-183 either. If it needs to it can easily rearm the Tomahawks with nukes anyway, although that is rather implausible considering it has superior delivery systems nowadays.
1. S-400 is located in Latakia, The strikes were carried around in Damascus. Are those areas super close or very far apart?

2. I could have just ended it on the 1st point but one sides claims all hit their target, the other states 71 out of 103 were intercepted. I would carry this conversation on to another thread but with these kinds of topics moderators and an admin will more than likely close it.

3. If you still believe the air defense is that ineffective Iran would have already had it and I dont think there would be a TAI-TFX thread in this forum either :p

1) The Israelis have no trouble penetrating S-400s with proper mission planning either.

2) There are pictures of the airbase after the strike. You could always count the craters.

3) Air defense isn't ineffective, it just isn't going to produce an impenetrable bastion. That's not really what SAMs or AAA or whatever do, at least in practice. You can of course shoot down a dozen cruise missiles, which might matter if the cruise missiles are carrying dispensers or bulk explosive warheads, but it won't mean more than a wooden nickel if they're atomic.

Point being that there is no serious defense against Tomahawk that is completely bulletproof. And it is a slow missile whose flight performance mirrors target drones, ostensibly the things which SAMs can kill routinely when they're flown over instrumented test ranges at known angles and distances. And AGM-183 is going to make the air defense job that much harder.

Not really sure why the USN requires anything besides Tomahawk on its surface platforms, since that provides more than adequate strike capability for the surface escorts, and said escorts are never going to be in good position to deploy anything of the sort (hypersonic or otherwise) except in the most permissive of environments.

Really, the same thing they were planning to do in the Norwegian Sea in the early 1980's. Certainly much has changed since then, but nothing fundamental. Slightly faster missiles don't make much a difference in the end, they just mean you need bigger AEW. And the Russians and Chinese don't appear to have anything comparable to AGM-183 outside of the Strategic Rocket Forces/2nd Artillery Corps, with their newest potential non-strategic weapon being a warmed over Onyx (Brahmos).
Not only to piss you off and maybe users on this thread but in terms of having anything similar to AGM-183 I heard they have claimed they had successful interceptions in Kasputin Yar with missiles that are suppose to simulate specifically AGM-183 and Deep Strike with S-400, S-350, Buk-M3s. https://topwar.ru/164483-neozvuchen...to-imitirovali-rakety-misheni-favorit-rm.html Sadly I dont know the maneuverability of how many Gs the Yars, kinzhal or iskander can pull in comparison to the AGM-183. But atleast they didnt say anything so far on intercepting hypersonic air to ground missile like GZUR to simulate HAWC.

I wouldn't be shocked.

Test ranges are very good at inflating the performance of surface to air missiles. They cannot accurately replicate how SAMs are used in the real world, but they're very good for establishing parameters for comparing individual SAM systems in specific situations.

Avoiding SAMs is basically a matter of route planning, which depends on time to target (which is distance to target, and target and weapon speeds, and distance of target to its next hide), and an accurate EOOB. SAMs can be easily avoided as long as you know where they are. S-400 is very visible both electronically and physically. It would be hard to mistake an S-400 battery for something like a bakery or a warehouse full of beets, which are harmless to cruise missiles, and so it would be very easy to map out where the S-400 is located.

The danger is that some SAMs might pop up along the flight path. But S-400 isn't mobile enough for this since it's a battery-battalion based system. So the actual effects of low altitudes versus high altitudes for aircraft is more of a concern when an S-400 is in theater, than in how to defeat the S-400 per se. The S-400 defends deep targets by forcing aircraft to fly at low altitudes to break radar horizon, in absence of sufficient jamming/EW support, and use standoff missiles to attack it or things within its defense zone.

Either it increases the number of aircraft needing to be mustered to defeat it (ideally, an outsize expenditure of resources are needed) in terms of sorties, or it forces smaller air forces to resort to less efficient methods of attack, like carrying low volume cruise missiles at low altitude to sling at targets, instead of racks full of SDBs or something.

This applies to both manned and unmanned aircraft, except cruise missiles sort of live in the low altitude, and no one cares if a Tomahawk or two gets shot down.

A hyperglider OTOH tries to defeat a SAM through energy alone. Not impossible at all considering the Pershing II managed it well enough, and even very high energy SAM systems like THAAD have a ground range measured in a whopping "a dozen or two" of kilometers against high energy gliders. I'm not sure how S-400 compares to THAAD or MIM-104 MSE but I suspect it's not much better against hypergliders.

That said, the chances of ARRW needing to navigate a S-400 defense zone are pretty small. It will be routed similar to a Tomahawk i.e. to avoid the S-400. Since it is faster it can be routed further from the defense zone of a SAM system to hit the same target as a Tomahawk.
 
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bring_it_on

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edit: Okay so C-HGB is only Army and Navy, unless the Air Force just sorta tagged along.

It was a tri-service glider but the AF completed the CDR for its weapons program (HCSW) and shelved it a couple of years ago, choosing to invest instead in the AGM-183A given no other service was fully invested in taking the TBG glider through into production (the USAF had been invested in its development since 2014) while two other services were already onboard the Common glide body.
 

mkellytx

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The previous two errors were acknowledged to be human error it test prep, not in the test article. That doesn’t inspire confidence, especially given a third failure of some undetermined type that definitely resulted in the vehicle never even separating (again).
It's super disappointing to see stuff like this about my former squadron, particularly since the Sq/CC last mentioned in the news is a friend from ROTC and a TPS grad join while I was in the squadron. It makes me wonder how much of this is a lack of understanding of test conduct, versus clickbait drive traffic. All of this to say it isn't necessarily a weapons fail if all of the support assets aren't available, but I digress. If I was the test conductor on seat I wouldn't hesitate to call kings X if the support assets available weren't sufficient to collect the data needed from the test.
 

tequilashooter

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1) The Israelis have no trouble penetrating S-400s with proper mission planning either.

2) There are pictures of the airbase after the strike. You could always count the craters.

3) Air defense isn't ineffective, it just isn't going to produce an impenetrable bastion. That's not really what SAMs or AAA or whatever do, at least in practice. You can of course shoot down a dozen cruise missiles, which might matter if the cruise missiles are carrying dispensers or bulk explosive warheads, but it won't mean more than a wooden nickel if they're atomic.

Point being that there is no serious defense against Tomahawk that is completely bulletproof. And it is a slow missile whose flight performance mirrors target drones, ostensibly the things which SAMs can kill routinely when they're flown over instrumented test ranges at known angles and distances. And AGM-183 is going to make the air defense job that much harder.

Not really sure why the USN requires anything besides Tomahawk on its surface platforms, since that provides more than adequate strike capability for the surface escorts, and said escorts are never going to be in good position to deploy anything of the sort (hypersonic or otherwise) except in the most permissive of environments.
1. I mean yeah they have an agreement with Russians not fire at them, same with not using S-300s against them. If they have or havent is something the air defense operators can say themselves.The Chinese can even claim they have problem penetrating an/spy ships for all I care. Are most of Israel's targets close to Demascus?

2. Yes the missiles that got through can do damage who could have figured.;)

3. It was basically outdated short range air defenses vs outdated cruise missiles. if that kind of attack was directed at a superpower the attacker would get a missile flying back at it. I would also like to see a AGM-183 tested against a S-400, Buk-M3 or S-350 but if it goes down to that point we will all be nuked.

I wouldn't be shocked.

Test ranges are very good at inflating the performance of surface to air missiles. They cannot accurately replicate how SAMs are used in the real world, but they're very good for establishing parameters for comparing individual SAM systems in specific situations.

Avoiding SAMs is basically a matter of route planning, which depends on time to target (which is distance to target, and target and weapon speeds, and distance of target to its next hide), and an accurate EOOB. SAMs can be easily avoided as long as you know where they are. S-400 is very visible both electronically and physically. It would be hard to mistake an S-400 battery for something like a bakery or a warehouse full of beets, which are harmless to cruise missiles, and so it would be very easy to map out where the S-400 is located.

The danger is that some SAMs might pop up along the flight path. But S-400 isn't mobile enough for this since it's a battery-battalion based system. So the actual effects of low altitudes versus high altitudes for aircraft is more of a concern when an S-400 is in theater, than in how to defeat the S-400 per se. The S-400 defends deep targets by forcing aircraft to fly at low altitudes to break radar horizon, in absence of sufficient jamming/EW support, and use standoff missiles to attack it or things within its defense zone.

Either it increases the number of aircraft needing to be mustered to defeat it (ideally, an outsize expenditure of resources are needed) in terms of sorties, or it forces smaller air forces to resort to less efficient methods of attack, like carrying low volume cruise missiles at low altitude to sling at targets, instead of racks full of SDBs or something.

This applies to both manned and unmanned aircraft, except cruise missiles sort of live in the low altitude, and no one cares if a Tomahawk or two gets shot down.

A hyperglider OTOH tries to defeat a SAM through energy alone. Not impossible at all considering the Pershing II managed it well enough, and even very high energy SAM systems like THAAD have a ground range measured in a whopping "a dozen or two" of kilometers against high energy gliders. I'm not sure how S-400 compares to THAAD or MIM-104 MSE but I suspect it's not much better against hypergliders.

That said, the chances of ARRW needing to navigate a S-400 defense zone are pretty small. It will be routed similar to a Tomahawk i.e. to avoid the S-400. Since it is faster it can be routed further from the defense zone of a SAM system to hit the same target as a Tomahawk.
They did give maneuvering performance of the missiles they were intercepting for those 3 air defenses.

SAMs can be avoided if there isnt 360 degree coverage or that aircrafts are far enough to launch weapons. SAMs could have been avoided in the Kosovo war but aircrafts were still shot down. Most of Serbia's air defenses was made up of S-125s and S-75s meaning the radiation missiles had 4-5 times the range meaning that on paper there shouldn't have been a single aircraft shot down but that wasn't the case. Not saying they should have gotten the latest S-300 systems that were used in Russia but at least S-200 systems which not just for longer range purposes but also semi-active radar homing phase instead of just radio command guidance used on S-125s and S-75s.

Where the S-125s and S-75s were placed they were not mobile either but still hit aircrafts. I am not trying to be funny there either.

Of course the above info is by no means a good comparison to even use as an argument against modern airforce vs modern air defense where both sides use EW and all that good stuff. But if it did come down to that mostly a country with enough resources to purchase those modern air defenses will just target ships using tomahawks or target air bases where aircrafts reload and refuel. Not fun like the old days.

Are their sources that THAAD or AEGIS even intercept HGVs? Only thing I heard was intercepting ballistic missiles and some news of satellites to track HGVs and scramjets.

S-400s wont be used against tomahawks that is the job of short range air defenses. HGVs dont fly in lower altitudes than tomahawks they fly high giving radars a longer distance to track them. The S-400 in terms of Syria's location is probably high in a mountain to track low altitude targets at a farther distance along with current hypersonic missiles. Maybe instead of targeting buildings the interception rate could have been a little higher if directed towards air defenses.
 

Ronny

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Not only to piss you off and maybe users on this thread but in terms of having anything similar to AGM-183 I heard they have claimed they had successful interceptions in Kasputin Yar with missiles that are suppose to simulate specifically AGM-183 and Deep Strike with S-400, S-350, Buk-M3s. https://topwar.ru/164483-neozvuchen...to-imitirovali-rakety-misheni-favorit-rm.html Sadly I dont know the maneuverability of how many Gs the Yars, kinzhal or iskander can pull in comparison to the AGM-183. But atleast they didnt say anything so far on intercepting hypersonic air to ground missile like GZUR to simulate HAWC.
From that link the missiles they intercepted are SAM from Favorite-RM family
The hypersonic target missiles of the Favorit-RM family will prepare the calculations of the Buk-M3, S-350 Vityaz and S-400 Triumph air defense systems to repulse massive strikes by the Deep Strike tactical ballistic missiles and AGM-183A aeroballistic missiles

The answer to this question is more than obvious: being a modification of the 5V55P anti-aircraft guided missile S-300PS anti-aircraft missile system, the Favorit-RM target missile retained the entire spectrum of flight technical qualities of the first.

In particular, the maximum flight speed of this product at the time of burning out the charge of a solid rocket engine reaches hypersonic values of 6650–7200 km / h (6.25–6.75 M), while on a descending branch of the trajectory (during diving at angles of 70 —80) Favorit-RM speed can reach 4.5-4M in the stratospheric and 3.5-2.5M in the tropospheric sections of the trajectory.
The top speed that Favorit-RM reach at burn out is 7200 km/h, keep in mind that this is the burn out speed, after burn out the missile reduce speed very rapidly. While on descending branch of the trajectory it only fly at Mach 4-4.5 in the stratospheric and 3.5-2.5M in the tropospheric sections
For comparison, a boost glider such as AGM-183 can fly 1000 miles in 10-12 minutes, so average speed of 8000-9600 km/h (Mach 7.5-9).
In short, the target they used in the test are much slower than a boost glider and more comparable to something like AARGM-ER in term of speed over most part of its trajectory.
 

sferrin

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My mistake, I forgot where I read that YJ102R was descended from some failed 1990's SLAT powerplant. Apparently the actual alternatives were a Vought ramjet and something by Teledyne Ryan. I'm probably conflating it with LRASM-B or something.

One of them was based on ASALM which they later also tried to make into LRASM-B. None of the SLAT concepts were turbine-powered.


It's a minor point regardless, since I was intending to illustrate that the thinking behind a Mach 3-ish missile was already outdated at the time (~2006).

Hardly. They're still buying subsonic Tomahawks. If those aren't "outdated" I don't see how a Mach 3 missile is.


The more serious matter is that the entire point of RATTLRS was to test the new fuel efficient engine for Mach 3 application, not to find applications for the engine. There's no way it would evolve to a weapons system for any service

Sure. That's why there were these:

54c834ed2285c_-_rattlrs_f18e_2_launch.jpg download (8).jpg

RATTLRS art.jpg 4366-991d2312d1f233b208fab81d6c47b772.jpg

And why Lockheed sled-tested submunition release for it here:

download (9).jpg


since at the time they were already looking at X-51, and various boost-glide weapons, which offered superior performance.

X-51 was NEVER intended to transition into an operational weapon.

The idea of the Mach 3 cruise missile was something invented by Lockheed-Martin and has nothing to do with RATTLRS as a program of record, which was entirely successful in all its intended goals and scopes outside of some Lockheed marketing manager's fever dreams.

Okay. If you say so. :rolleyes: Perhaps you could direct us to evidence the RATTLRS program was "entirely successful"?
 
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sferrin

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The previous two errors were acknowledged to be human error it test prep, not in the test article. That doesn’t inspire confidence, especially given a third failure of some undetermined type that definitely resulted in the vehicle never even separating (again).
It's super disappointing to see stuff like this about my former squadron, particularly since the Sq/CC last mentioned in the news is a friend from ROTC and a TPS grad join while I was in the squadron. It makes me wonder how much of this is a lack of understanding of test conduct, versus clickbait drive traffic. All of this to say it isn't necessarily a weapons fail if all of the support assets aren't available, but I digress. If I was the test conductor on seat I wouldn't hesitate to call kings X if the support assets available weren't sufficient to collect the data needed from the test.
Nobody is immune from making mistakes. And refusing to acknowledge that will only ensure they continue to make them.
 

tequilashooter

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The top speed that Favorit-RM reach at burn out is 7200 km/h, keep in mind that this is the burn out speed, after burn out the missile reduce speed very rapidly. While on descending branch of the trajectory it only fly at Mach 4-4.5 in the stratospheric and 3.5-2.5M in the tropospheric sections
For comparison, a boost glider such as AGM-183 can fly 1000 miles in 10-12 minutes, so average speed of 8000-9600 km/h (Mach 7.5-9).
In short, the target they used in the test are much slower than a boost glider and more comparable to something like AARGM-ER in term of speed over most part of its trajectory.
Is that the official top speed? I had one source telling me mach 20 and another source telling me mach 40-mach 48 for being 4 times faster than kinzhal.
 

sferrin

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The top speed that Favorit-RM reach at burn out is 7200 km/h, keep in mind that this is the burn out speed, after burn out the missile reduce speed very rapidly. While on descending branch of the trajectory it only fly at Mach 4-4.5 in the stratospheric and 3.5-2.5M in the tropospheric sections
For comparison, a boost glider such as AGM-183 can fly 1000 miles in 10-12 minutes, so average speed of 8000-9600 km/h (Mach 7.5-9).
In short, the target they used in the test are much slower than a boost glider and more comparable to something like AARGM-ER in term of speed over most part of its trajectory.
Is that the official top speed? I had one source telling me mach 20 and another source telling me mach 40-mach 48 for being 4 times faster than kinzhal.
Both of those are laughable for ANY S-300/400/500.
 

Josh_TN

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The Mach 8-9 figure represents average speed - I believe he just divided distance over flight time, and both the range and time were very vaguely reported. The gliders top speed would be right after separating and its slowest speed would probably be over the target before its dive, so it would be both faster and slower than the calculated figure.
 

Ronny

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The top speed that Favorit-RM reach at burn out is 7200 km/h, keep in mind that this is the burn out speed, after burn out the missile reduce speed very rapidly. While on descending branch of the trajectory it only fly at Mach 4-4.5 in the stratospheric and 3.5-2.5M in the tropospheric sections
For comparison, a boost glider such as AGM-183 can fly 1000 miles in 10-12 minutes, so average speed of 8000-9600 km/h (Mach 7.5-9).
In short, the target they used in the test are much slower than a boost glider and more comparable to something like AARGM-ER in term of speed over most part of its trajectory.
Is that the official top speed? I had one source telling me mach 20 and another source telling me mach 40-mach 48 for being 4 times faster than kinzhal.
Boost glider speed isn't a constant value.
It is somewhat like a bullet, fastest at burn out then slow down gradually. Mach 48 is impossible for anything with ARRW size though.
 

Kat Tsun

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It's a minor point regardless, since I was intending to illustrate that the thinking behind a Mach 3-ish missile was already outdated at the time (~2006).

Hardly. They're still buying subsonic Tomahawks. If those aren't "outdated" I don't see how a Mach 3 missile is.

Because Tomahawk is subsonic and Mach 3 is supersonic. Tomahawk is also in production, and RATTLRS isn't.

It's pretty simple: Speed isn't the only metric of performance that matters for a cruise missile. It's one of the least important, actually, since speed directly impacts the most important quality of a cruise missile: range. While it certainly compounds the problems of local air defense, it only does so to the detriment of literally every other quality of the weapon: range, payload fraction, visibility, and physical size. Which is why the USA has never shown as much interest in a supersonic cruise missile, but the Soviets sure did!

A supersonic missile just for the same performance of Tomahawk would need to be P-800 sized, both to achieve the range and the warhead payload of BGM-109. That's not fitting in Mark 41, and it doesn't offer much since neither the PRC nor Russian Navy operate large numbers of Aegis-type ships. Then again, for defeating modern air defense ships the USN will probably just combine NGJ or a stand-in jammer with LRASM-A and call it a day. The lower signature of a stealthy, subsonic missile will penetrate air defense better than a lower end supersonic rocket, especially if the PRC gets something comparable to CEC.

The more serious matter is that the entire point of RATTLRS was to test the new fuel efficient engine for Mach 3 application, not to find applications for the engine. There's no way it would evolve to a weapons system for any service

Sure. That's why there were these:

View attachment 654963 View attachment 654964

View attachment 654965 View attachment 654966

And why Lockheed sled-tested submunition release for it here:

View attachment 654967

Computer drawings and a Lockheed funded test run are not serious interest. Well, not for any buyers, but it's serious for the sellers. Considering the defense market has way too many suppliers and way too few buyers, trying to monetize anything and everything makes sense.

since at the time they were already looking at X-51, and various boost-glide weapons, which offered superior performance.

X-51 was NEVER intended to transition into an operational weapon.

Neither was RATTLRS. And yet X-51 is still a more serious contender for a potential operational weapon than RATTLRS. RATTLRS would have been revolutionary in the 1970's, in terms of general performance it probably would be akin to something like a Super Granite, or later Onyx versions.

X-51 would be revolutionary for...today.

The idea of the Mach 3 cruise missile was something invented by Lockheed-Martin and has nothing to do with RATTLRS as a program of record, which was entirely successful in all its intended goals and scopes outside of some Lockheed marketing manager's fever dreams.

Okay. If you say so. :rolleyes: Perhaps you could direct us to evidence the RATTLRS program was "entirely successful"?

The part where it finished its flight tests proves it was successful.

If you think success is defined as "builds a rocket to bomb people" your view of what defines success is unreasonably narrow: RATTLRS just tested some dumb engine that no one was interested in, as evidenced by the fact that no one has built YJ-102Rs for any application yet, and probably won't in the future.

It flew a couple times and some test data was compiled. That's called "success". Failure is "it never flies and stays in the warehouse" I guess, but even then you'd learn things related to manufacturing at least. Maybe real failure is "CGI pictures" and "surrogate dispenser ground tests", since that tells you nothing substantial, but RATTLRS achieved a fair bit more than either of those.

The ancillary effects of testing the engine, i.e. the high temperature metals and fuel efficiency, were far more important than the design for something of which performance is broadly comparable to a late 1980's missile like P-800.

Again, the main point, which I don't think is controversial, is that it's pretty difficult to believe that anyone in DOD would be interested in a fairly old-fashioned weapon like RATTLRS when they were more interested in funding hypersonics development. Both at the time and in the past prior, and to this very day. But if no one buys a missile for a purpose it was never intended for, as clearly RATTLRS was never going to be made into a cruise missile since no one showed any interest besides the people who built the thing, then why would it be a failure based on criteria it was never judged on? If no one is going to be interested in buying RATTLRS in the first place, Lockheed can try to market all they want but it's falling on deaf ears.

RATTLRS as a weapon was DOA. RATTLRS as a test program for looking at the performance of various ancillary technologies was entirely successful.

This is, what I would assume to be, a wholly non-controversial statement. So I find it a bit perplexing why you're getting hung up on it. Since RATTLRS was never going to be a "Mach 3 cruise missile", which is a very specialized weapon that comes from a very specific sort of combination of target characteristics and industrial capability, why mention it at all?

The point of RATTLRS at the end of the day was flight testing an experimental engine in a cheap chassis. While I'm sure the guys doing the flight tests might have wanted it to faster, they were at least anticipating Mach 3, ideally better, performance. They got that. So where is the failure? It was a mediocre success, perhaps, but the idea that RATTLRS could fly at Mach 4 or whatever was a bit silly to begin with. Either way, it succeeded at everything it set out to do at minimum. Perhaps a bit more, depending on how much YJ-102R's metallurgical research was used in later programs.

It might not have achieved much if you use Lockheed's metric of success I suppose, but Lockheed isn't exactly a paragon of good military sense.
 
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mkellytx

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The previous two errors were acknowledged to be human error it test prep, not in the test article. That doesn’t inspire confidence, especially given a third failure of some undetermined type that definitely resulted in the vehicle never even separating (again).
It's super disappointing to see stuff like this about my former squadron, particularly since the Sq/CC last mentioned in the news is a friend from ROTC and a TPS grad join while I was in the squadron. It makes me wonder how much of this is a lack of understanding of test conduct, versus clickbait drive traffic. All of this to say it isn't necessarily a weapons fail if all of the support assets aren't available, but I digress. If I was the test conductor on seat I wouldn't hesitate to call kings X if the support assets available weren't sufficient to collect the data needed from the test.
Nobody is immune from making mistakes. And refusing to acknowledge that will only ensure they continue to make them.
@sferrin No need to lecture me about mistakes, I've watched an accident aircraft takeoff that deprived three young boys their father. Ten days later my squadron was denied a TPS stud who's only alive because two NASA employees saw his parachute when they returned from lunch in Cal City. Also, I've nearly killed myself flight testing aircraft. Most certainly I am not in denial. Given all of the above, don't ascribe denial to disappointment. Furthermore, so much is left unsaid that I withhold my judgement since the information I would use to make a decision is not public. There's nuance to test conduct that click bait authors like David Axe and the like don't get, all they care about are getting views to boost their revenues.
 
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sferrin

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The previous two errors were acknowledged to be human error it test prep, not in the test article. That doesn’t inspire confidence, especially given a third failure of some undetermined type that definitely resulted in the vehicle never even separating (again).
It's super disappointing to see stuff like this about my former squadron, particularly since the Sq/CC last mentioned in the news is a friend from ROTC and a TPS grad join while I was in the squadron. It makes me wonder how much of this is a lack of understanding of test conduct, versus clickbait drive traffic. All of this to say it isn't necessarily a weapons fail if all of the support assets aren't available, but I digress. If I was the test conductor on seat I wouldn't hesitate to call kings X if the support assets available weren't sufficient to collect the data needed from the test.
Nobody is immune from making mistakes. And refusing to acknowledge that will only ensure they continue to make them.
@sferrin No need to lecture me about mistakes, I've watched an accident aircraft takeoff that deprived three young boys their father. Ten days later my squadron was denied a TPS stud who's only alive because two NASA employees saw his parachute when they returned from lunch in Cal City. Also, I've nearly killed myself flight testing aircraft. Most certainly I am not in denial. Given all of the above, don't ascribe denial to disappointment. Furthermore, so much is left unsaid that I withhold my judgement since the information I would use to make a decision is not public. There's nuance to test conduct that click bait authors like David Axe and the like don't get, all they care about are getting views to boost their revenues.
And I get not blowing things out of proportion. That said, there are bone head mistakes that need to be called what they are. Not every mistake is because you flamed out at Mach 2, and conditions were mostly out of your control.
 

sferrin

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It's a minor point regardless, since I was intending to illustrate that the thinking behind a Mach 3-ish missile was already outdated at the time (~2006).

Hardly. They're still buying subsonic Tomahawks. If those aren't "outdated" I don't see how a Mach 3 missile is.

Because Tomahawk is subsonic and Mach 3 is supersonic. Tomahawk is also in production, and RATTLRS isn't.

Mach 3 was outdated in 2006 but Tomahawk isn't in 2021 because it's subsonic? Uhm, okay. With quality like that I think I've found a new person for my ignore list.
 

Kat Tsun

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If you think speed is all that matters for cruise missiles, you should rethink how you imagine cruise missiles are used. And possibly a lot of other things.

I still don't know where you're getting the idea that Mach 3 is somehow better for a cruise missile than subsonic.

Speed is, broadly speaking, a detriment, until you go so fast that you can't be reasonably intercepted. Literally everyone in the world will see you coming, and this is not good for a cruise missile, because once you know where a cruise missile is it is fairly trivial to intercept it with an airplane. Generally speaking weapons like ALCM, Tomahawk, LRASM, JASSM, JSOW, Storm Shadow, SCALP, and ACM survive by being not detected until they are basically on top of the target. Then you expect a few losses from terminal air defenses like AAA, but you're usually shooting enough missiles to overwhelm local air defense with targets anyway.

This is also why the USA explored LIDAR altimeters for things like ACM overland: because the radar altimeter could be detected at relatively long ranges (enough to matter) by passive RF systems like Strela-10 and Sosna-R, and possibly A-50U. The best defense against Tomahawk as it turned out was passive RF detection of the altimeter emission to guide in fighter-interceptors. You'd lose a lot of nukes that way.

This is really pretty simple, basic stuff, though.

Cruise missiles have two ideals: very low speed (subsonic, since IRSTs are good enough nowadays to detect supersonic targets from orbit, as in the case of SBIRS and its ability to detect things like Tu-22M) and very high speed (well in excess of however fast RATTLRS goes, closer to Mach 6 than Mach 3). Anything in between these two extremes is liable to be shot down. Mostly because, unlike most manned aircraft, cruise missiles neither take evasive action to evade incoming missiles, nor deploy decoys, and so the main issue becomes just finding the things. The easier you make it to find cruise missiles, the more cruise missiles you will lose, and the more you need to fire.

I'm not an economist but I think if you make the cost to neutralize a particular target higher on yourself, and you willingly do this, you're not investing money very smartly. Thankfully the USN is smarter than Lockheed and didn't go for RATTLRS when it had perfectly adequate Tomahawk all along, which sends bigger bombs further distances in a smaller package.

Now, I dunno about you, but I think sending a payload that's about half again to twice as big (1,000 or 750 lbs versus 500 lbs), half again as far (1,500 kilometers versus 1,000 kilometers), is better. Even if it takes another hour or so.

Pretty much everything that Tomahawk attacks, from ships to airbases, doesn't really go that far in an hour, and TACTOM can be retargeted in flight if the target actually moves fast-ish, like a truck. The difference between RATTLRS and Tomahawk is that TLAM might actually hit the thing at the edge of its range because it can loiter, sort of like Delilah. And nothing RATTLRS offers is very compelling in the era of CEC and high performance IRSTs. Granite is likely far more trivial to kill nowadays than it was in 1985 when it first showed up. E-2 is much better now and SBIRS-LO can track the missiles through flight.

There's no reason for the USA to replicate such a dead end weapon system.

That said, for a single, time critical target, of course, like a moving TEL or something, then yeah speed is good. You don't need to cruise, loiter, or launch in mass volleys. You're hitting one single target. While we can argue about the particulars of certain targets (I don't think a hypersonic missile is a good idea to hit a Scud, for example) it is a potential option provided the rest of the ISR apparatus is setup to support it.

But again, the USAF already has AGM-183 ARRW, now. And it was testing X-51 with NASA, then. Since RATTLRS would have probably entered service around 2017 or 2018 if all goes swimmingly then I don't see the benefit.

The USN would have been far more interested, as would the rest of DOD, in getting a Mach 5-6 missile as opposed to a slowpoke snoozer like RATTLRS. So it offers nothing. Perhaps if Lockeed had marketed it as "EATRS" they would have gotten a better response though. There's nothing "revolutionary" about RATTLRS, as it's broadly comparable to P-800 or Brahmos at the end of the day.
 
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mkellytx

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No need to lecture me about mistakes, I've watched an accident aircraft takeoff that deprived three young boys their father. Ten days later my squadron was denied a TPS stud who's only alive because two NASA employees saw his parachute when they returned from lunch in Cal City. Also, I've nearly killed myself flight testing aircraft. Most certainly I am not in denial. Given all of the above, don't ascribe denial to disappointment. Furthermore, so much is left unsaid that I withhold my judgement since the information I would use to make a decision is not public. There's nuance to test conduct that click bait authors like David Axe and the like don't get, all they care about are getting views to boost their revenues.
And I get not blowing things out of proportion. That said, there are bone head mistakes that need to be called what they are. Not every mistake is because you flamed out at Mach 2, and conditions were mostly out of your control.
If you know anything about the SIB/AIB process then you would be super skeptical about any quotes from unnamed source while an investigation is underway. Also, keep in mind I spent years doing these types of tests, in that squadron with some of the members still there, including the squadron commander. Also, understand that in that same squadron there were multiple tests I conducted where the button was pushed and weapons didn't come off of the aircraft or did something they weren't supposed to do. Accident chains and swiss cheese are second nature to aircrew since we tended to table top a SIB on average once a month. The test world will brief the THA's and GMC's every mission readiness review and T-0 brief the next day before step.

Now, if there are more details or a flight test professional willing to put their name behind the dumb mistakes remarks please share. Otherwise, such conclusions are better suited to the David Axe/Tyler Rogoway fan clubs.
 

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Always appreciate your insights, mkellytx. While the failures aren't confidence inducing, programs these days are sufficiently off the record such that they are hard to judge from a distance (if they ever were). I got really used to the US just saying everything about any program ever after the cold war ended, and we're going back into a period of strategic competition such that details are hard to come by. I think it is culture shock to people who watched weapons development after the post war and are having to readjust. In fact, quite honestly, I think the USAF is being more tight fisted with information that it was even the 80's (outside things like the B-2). Good for them, I can sleep at night without knowing what the AIM-260 looks like or is capable of.
 

mkellytx

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Always appreciate your insights, mkellytx. While the failures aren't confidence inducing, programs these days are sufficiently off the record such that they are hard to judge from a distance (if they ever were). I got really used to the US just saying everything about any program ever after the cold war ended, and we're going back into a period of strategic competition such that details are hard to come by. I think it is culture shock to people who watched weapons development after the post war and are having to readjust. In fact, quite honestly, I think the USAF is being more tight fisted with information that it was even the 80's (outside things like the B-2). Good for them, I can sleep at night without knowing what the AIM-260 looks like or is capable of.
Thanks @Josh_TN, things like test safety and conduct aren't security secrets and the commercial guys tend to follow since they tend to hire retired TPS grads. It's not that difficult to Google the Air Force and Navy TPS manuals, heck SETP/SFTE probably have a bunch of public source stuff to look at. No need to be reserved talking about that stuff. Anything that deals with TTP, even if it's now a decade and a half out of date I'm not comfortable talking about unless there is something open source I can reference. Some of those failures I reference I'd never give the details b/c I'm just not comfortable explaining how certain things work, and that's from your period of open information...
 

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The weapon has never been tested and it is on track for production next year?
 

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Almost as if they allowed for minor test failures in the schedule.
 

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Almost as if they allowed for minor test failures in the schedule.

While the latest incident may well be minor, they are still around 7 months behind where they expected to be at this time. IIRC the first booster flight test was to be towards the end of FY-20 with two additional test flights planned for this fiscal year. I think the production they speak of are the 8 AUR's 3-4 of which will eventually be used up in testing. I don't think this refers to a formal production program in the traditional acquisition sense. That decision has not been made and likely won't until the prototyping contract is complete.
 

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For the first time, the Air Force gave procurement numbers for the AGM-183A ARRW hypersonic missile, saying USAF will buy 12 rounds in 2022 at a cost of $161 million, for a unit price of $13.4 million each. Pentagon officials said the objective price of the weapon will be much lower, but the Air Force did not offer any official out-years insight into its cost.

 

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Any idea when the USAF is going to get off its collective arse and have the first test-launch?
 

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I think that Mach 20 number is a mistake. The article I read used it in the context of, "boost gliders fly at up to Mach 20" with it being a general comment, not necessarily tied to this project. (Especially if this is something small enough to launch from a fighter.)
well to be fair it was launched from a b 52, maybe they will put it on the b21 raider, but I don't think its gonna be deployed on a fighter, unless may the strike eagle could have it. but I cant think of many platforms which could use it. as for the speed, I think your right. but we can definitely say that the ARRW will be hypersonic, just maybe not Mach 20.
 

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No one has listed a launch weight, but I suspect it will be at best something an F-15 can carry centerline only, if there's clearance. I doubt anyone would waste a B-21 carrying something that probably has a minimum range measured in hundreds of miles. The B-52 will likely be the sole platform, in my opinion.
 

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No one has listed a launch weight, but I suspect it will be at best something an F-15 can carry centerline only, if there's clearance.
I strongly suspect that the AGM-183 is just a little too big for the F-15 to carry.

On an off-topic note are there any threads dealing with torpedos?
 

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Can't the F-15E carry 5,000lb bunker busters?
It might be able to carry the weight, but the ARRW might simply be too physically big to carry. A bunker buster is a dense weapon.

25ft long (~7.5m). 5ft 5in wingspan (~1.7m). Actually, it says here 225inches (5.5m).


The larger missile below is the X-51, also 25ft and 23 inches wide (575mm), the smaller is the AGM-183A. It looks roughly the same size as the old ASM-135.

1623264994131.png

1623265521424.png
 
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