AGM-183A ARRW

bring_it_on

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Given the cost and the likely production rate, it will be a long time before there is enough inventory to begin adding platforms beyond the B-52, and perhaps the B-1. With HACM now in the official USAF budget request, it appears that the AF has a better weapon, that is more suited for carriage on its strike fighters in addition the bombers. HACM, upgraded JASSM-ER and SIAW are all going to be part of the future tactical strike fighter loadouts against a peer threat.
 

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Test team detonates hypersonic missile warhead
By Samuel King Jr. / Published July 07, 2021

96th Test Wing

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Recently, the 780th Test Squadron successfully detonated an AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon warhead for the first time.

The first-of-its-kind test for the air-to-ground, rocket-powered, high-altitude, hypersonic missile collected data on the lethality of the unique weapon.

The unique nature and shape of the warhead required a lot of firsts for everyone involved, according to the test’s manager, David Spiker 780th TS.

Some of the firsts were the new and unorthodox design and construction of the test arena, the test procedures and equipment, the warhead’s fragmentation data collecting and the post-test data processing to ensure the warhead’s effects have been accurately characterized.

The 780th TS successfully designed and conducted the test to ensure the customer’s data requirements were met using new and improved test tools, technologies, and techniques.

This successful test positioned Eglin’s test team to remain at the forefront to support the testing of hypersonic weapons long into the future.

 

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The are already buying this weapon but as far as I know have never flight tested it?
 

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bring_it_on

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The are already buying this weapon but as far as I know have never flight tested it?

They are buying prototypes. 12 prototypes were requested by the USAF in FY22, but the House so far has approved only 8 which I believe is because of the test delays (they want some proof before they add that money back). If the AF can successfully complete development and testing, then they could transition the effort into a formal program of record and begin sustained procurement more like a traditional weapons program. But there is a lot to do between that and where they are now and they have about a year to a year and a half remaining based on their original schedule.
 
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bring_it_on

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There hasn't been any confirmation that the test was to support the ARRW (though it could have been). TBG, HAWC 1 and 2 are all in need of flight testing and could have been the ones tested yesterday (if they indeed tested something). If it was one of them then we may not get an announcement. An ARRW success or failure will likely be released in the coming days if it was tested over the weekend.
 
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Ronny

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Jassm is 550mm wide, Arrw is 750mm.
The shot makes you see the entire breadth of jassm while arrw full aspect diameter is not visible.
where did you get the ARRW diameter from?
30' x 270', 7300 lbs was mentioned for F-15ex centreline hardpoint carry.
Edit: 30' is 762mm
We finally get the size of ARRW
It is surprisingly small compared to our previous estimate
ARRW.jpg
 
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Bhurki

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Jassm is 550mm wide, Arrw is 750mm.
The shot makes you see the entire breadth of jassm while arrw full aspect diameter is not visible.
where did you get the ARRW diameter from?
30' x 270', 7300 lbs was mentioned for F-15ex centreline hardpoint carry.
Edit: 30' is 762mm
We finally get the size of ARRW
View attachment 660611
A lot smaller than expected.

It confirms the earlier released artist design was a fake, since it wouldn't have enough volume to carry a 150 lb warhead.
 

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with current ARRW size, I kinda wonder whether it can fit on F-22, F-35 and F-18E/F as well. Doesn't seem all that long or heavy
 

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with current ARRW size, I kinda wonder whether it can fit on F-22, F-35 and F-18E/F as well. Doesn't seem all that long or heavy
IF it cant be slung by the F15s, which has both stronger harderpoints, larger weight limits, and all around more space cause of it be a massive plane.

I doubt that the smaller birds can. Hell I believe the F22 hardpoints are only spec for 3k pounds.
 

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with current ARRW size, I kinda wonder whether it can fit on F-22, F-35 and F-18E/F as well. Doesn't seem all that long or heavy
IF it cant be slung by the F15s, which has both stronger harderpoints, larger weight limits, and all around more space cause of it be a massive plane.

I doubt that the smaller birds can. Hell I believe the F22 hardpoints are only spec for 3k pounds.
I believe that they said F-15 can carry the missile, originally ARRW weight was estimated to be around 7000 lbs
F-22 inner station probably the same as F-35, which is adequate for 5000 pounds
F35 payload data 2012.jpg
 

sferrin

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with current ARRW size, I kinda wonder whether it can fit on F-22, F-35 and F-18E/F as well. Doesn't seem all that long or heavy
IF it cant be slung by the F15s, which has both stronger harderpoints, larger weight limits, and all around more space cause of it be a massive plane.

I doubt that the smaller birds can. Hell I believe the F22 hardpoints are only spec for 3k pounds.
F-22 are 5000lb. Also, based on the picture above, the ARRW is within F-15 capability.
 

bring_it_on

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The Air Force conducted its second AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon booster flight test July 28.

While it did not meet all flight objectives, the test demonstrated several first-time events as the program continues to track toward fielding a hypersonic capability in the early 2020s.

Objectives for the test included demonstrating the safe release of the booster test vehicle from the B 52H and assessing booster performance. An Edwards AFB B-52 released the ARRW test missile, dubbed Booster Test Vehicle 1b or BTV-1b, over Point Mugu Sea Range.

The missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.

Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite. The ARRW team continues to progress through the rapid prototyping effort with a steadfast commitment to the well-being of Airmen and equipment, striking a balance between prudent risk and rapid advancement of the program.

“Developing first-of-its-kind missiles is difficult business and this why we test,” said Brig. Gen. Heath Collins, the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. “This is a critical capability for our Air Force and we have the very best team working to figure out what happened, fix it and move out to deliver ARRW to our warfighters as quickly as possible.”

The Edwards-based 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force were involved in the testing.

The ARRW program aims to deliver a conventional hypersonic weapons capability to the warfighter in the early 2020s. The weapon system is designed to provide the ability to destroy high-value, time-sensitive targets. It will also expand precision-strike weapon systems’ capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.

 

Orionblamblam

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Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite.

Ugh.

tenor.gif


A rocket motor failing to ignite is not one of those "well, shoot, we're still new at this sort of thing" problems.
 

bobbymike

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This comment may display my ignorance but shouldn’t firing the booster be pretty straightforward? Like I’ve seen quite a few historical videos on YouTube going back to the ‘50s. So my question is are there enhanced very complex safety systems to the point firing a simple solid rocket now is hard?
 

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This comment may display my ignorance but shouldn’t firing the booster be pretty straightforward? Like I’ve seen quite a few historical videos on YouTube going back to the ‘50s. So my question is are there enhanced very complex safety systems to the point firing a simple solid rocket now is hard?
Back in the day, rocket ignition systems was my *job.* I designed the igniter that I understand is currently used on THAAD, for instance (I'm quite proud of the fact that I redesigned a heavy, expensive manufacturing nightmare into a single piece of plastic). Igniting a rocket motor has certain difficulties... but these are difficulties that you can look up in a friggen handbook. "Propellant A at temperature X with a throat area of Y and a bore volume of Z and a surface area of ᚠ requires such-and-such in terms of gas generation mass flow rate and thermal energy and whatnot from the ignition system." Design to that, throw in some margin and BAM, your rocket goes off, every time.

Maybe the electronics controlling the igniter went goofy. Maybe the battery died. Maybe someone didn't plug in the shock tubing or the EBW got enzapulated by a stray overvoltage from a static discharge or someone replaced the PETN in the TBI with peanut butter. All possible. And all the sort of thing that should have been detectable before the airplane left the ground.

And that handbook: downloadable from NTRS. originally published in 1971, the physics is as good today as it was then.
Solid rocket motor igniters. NASA space vehicle design criteria, chemical propulsion
 

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Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite.
AGAIN?!

To the best of my knowledge there have been no failures during static test firings. This was the first time the rocket motor was being ignited in a flight test. A previous test did not get to that point (the weapon did not separate).

It would be strange if they didn't have a couple of BTV produced to begin testing so they should possess a second vehicle to troubleshoot and continue to test but needless to say that the odds of fielding the ARRW in FY-22 are pretty much NIL at this point. Perhaps mid-late 2023 could be a more realistic target.
 

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This comment may display my ignorance but shouldn’t firing the booster be pretty straightforward? Like I’ve seen quite a few historical videos on YouTube going back to the ‘50s. So my question is are there enhanced very complex safety systems to the point firing a simple solid rocket now is hard?
Back in the day, rocket ignition systems was my *job.* I designed the igniter that I understand is currently used on THAAD, for instance (I'm quite proud of the fact that I redesigned a heavy, expensive manufacturing nightmare into a single piece of plastic). Igniting a rocket motor has certain difficulties... but these are difficulties that you can look up in a friggen handbook. "Propellant A at temperature X with a throat area of Y and a bore volume of Z and a surface area of ᚠ requires such-and-such in terms of gas generation mass flow rate and thermal energy and whatnot from the ignition system." Design to that, throw in some margin and BAM, your rocket goes off, every time.

Maybe the electronics controlling the igniter went goofy. Maybe the battery died. Maybe someone didn't plug in the shock tubing or the EBW got enzapulated by a stray overvoltage from a static discharge or someone replaced the PETN in the TBI with peanut butter. All possible. And all the sort of thing that should have been detectable before the airplane left the ground.

And that handbook: downloadable from NTRS. originally published in 1971, the physics is as good today as it was then.
Solid rocket motor igniters. NASA space vehicle design criteria, chemical propulsion
That's why they have check lists, red "remove before flight" flags, etc. First they can't get it to come off the plane. Then, when they do, it just freefalls to the earth. MANY heads need to roll here. This is just incompetence.
 
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The missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.

Following the safe separation maneuvers, the rocket motor did not ignite.

My guess would be that ignition is looking for a go signal from each of these activities, and didn't get one of them.
 

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If the $200+ MM charge announced by LM was related to ARRW/TBG then it is quite possible that there has been some major change on the program post the May review. The AF put up some seriously (by modern standards) challenging schedule requirements for ARRW especially in light of constant delays with the Tactical Boost Glide program which was supposed to have flown 18 months ago but, based on public information, has yet to begin flight testing of the glide vehicle.

Lockheed signed up to develop ARRW and begin flight testing in just about 24 months, conduct all the flight testing and field the weapon in about 18 months after that. The 18 month delay in TBG testing is nearly as much as the schedule marked for the entire ARRW flight test program. DARPA still plans on conducting 3 TBG flight tests so I assume ARRW can't get anywhere until those have occurred and have validated the glide body design and performance. If they magically fly two TBG flights by September (as was planned based on DARPA's FY-22 submission) then that will be quite remarkable given that there hasn't been a lot of public test activity. Even so, that leaves at least one glide body test for FY-22 and then whatever integration testing is needed for the ARRW AUR testing. There probably need to be 6-8 successful flight tests before the AF is anywhere near to declaring IOC on the AGM-183A, and if we assume a pace of 1 test a quarter and 75% success rate then the AF will be at it for a couple of years more. Still not too far out, but not the rosy picture that Will Roper sold the AF when they terminated the more mature HCSW.
 

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sferrin

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If the $200+ MM charge announced by LM was related to ARRW/TBG then it is quite possible that there has been some major change on the program post the May review. The AF put up some seriously (by modern standards) challenging schedule requirements for ARRW especially in light of constant delays with the Tactical Boost Glide program which was supposed to have flown 18 months ago but, based on public information, has yet to begin flight testing of the glide vehicle.

Lockheed signed up to develop ARRW and begin flight testing in just about 24 months, conduct all the flight testing and field the weapon in about 18 months after that. The 18 month delay in TBG testing is nearly as much as the schedule marked for the entire ARRW flight test program. DARPA still plans on conducting 3 TBG flight tests so I assume ARRW can't get anywhere until those have occurred and have validated the glide body design and performance. If they magically fly two TBG flights by September (as was planned based on DARPA's FY-22 submission) then that will be quite remarkable given that there hasn't been a lot of public test activity. Even so, that leaves at least one glide body test for FY-22 and then whatever integration testing is needed for the ARRW AUR testing. There probably need to be 6-8 successful flight tests before the AF is anywhere near to declaring IOC on the AGM-183A, and if we assume a pace of 1 test a quarter and 75% success rate then the AF will be at it for a couple of years more. Still not too far out, but not the rosy picture that Will Roper sold the AF when they terminated the more mature HCSW.
I doubt it occurred to him they'd screw up something as basic as getting the booster to ignite.
 

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Maybe the electronics controlling the igniter went goofy. Maybe the battery died. Maybe someone didn't plug in the shock tubing or the EBW got enzapulated by a stray overvoltage from a static discharge or someone replaced the PETN in the TBI with peanut butter. All possible. And all the sort of thing that should have been detectable before the airplane left the ground.

Hell, amateur high-powered rocketry hobbyists have been known to double up the ignition system on upper stages to guarantee motor ignition. Considering the amount of money, effort, and resources behind this effort, and the importance to the security of the country, a failure like this is simply inexcusable.
 

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If the $200+ MM charge announced by LM was related to ARRW/TBG then it is quite possible that there has been some major change on the program post the May review. The AF put up some seriously (by modern standards) challenging schedule requirements for ARRW especially in light of constant delays with the Tactical Boost Glide program which was supposed to have flown 18 months ago but, based on public information, has yet to begin flight testing of the glide vehicle.

Lockheed signed up to develop ARRW and begin flight testing in just about 24 months, conduct all the flight testing and field the weapon in about 18 months after that. The 18 month delay in TBG testing is nearly as much as the schedule marked for the entire ARRW flight test program. DARPA still plans on conducting 3 TBG flight tests so I assume ARRW can't get anywhere until those have occurred and have validated the glide body design and performance. If they magically fly two TBG flights by September (as was planned based on DARPA's FY-22 submission) then that will be quite remarkable given that there hasn't been a lot of public test activity. Even so, that leaves at least one glide body test for FY-22 and then whatever integration testing is needed for the ARRW AUR testing. There probably need to be 6-8 successful flight tests before the AF is anywhere near to declaring IOC on the AGM-183A, and if we assume a pace of 1 test a quarter and 75% success rate then the AF will be at it for a couple of years more. Still not too far out, but not the rosy picture that Will Roper sold the AF when they terminated the more mature HCSW.
I doubt it occurred to him they'd screw up something as basic as getting the booster to ignite.

It's not just that but the fact that the TBG, which is the single most important thing on the weapon (and the most challenging) hasn't flown yet (based on public info) and was supposed to fly about 12 months after Lockheed was put on contract for the AGM-183A. If the idea was to have TBG mature the glide body and the ARRW to just use it and integrate it into an operational booster / weapon then TBG hasn't really delivered on that promise. If they truly have not tested the glide body then they are 18+ months behind schedule on that program. And to think that the entire ARRW test program was supposed to end within that much time as per the originally agreed upon schedule. Given all this it is remarkable that the USAF continues to insist (in budget documents and in front of Congress) that it will operationalize the ARRW by end of FY-22. For that to happen they not only need to catch up to nearly two years of delayed flight testing but also basically hit 100% on their test results. Despite the hype about the ramp up in hypersonic testing we haven't really seen the pace pick up so I doubt that we're even set up for that sort of pace from a testing, range infrastructure, and other organizational/logistical perspective..
 
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sferrin

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If the $200+ MM charge announced by LM was related to ARRW/TBG then it is quite possible that there has been some major change on the program post the May review. The AF put up some seriously (by modern standards) challenging schedule requirements for ARRW especially in light of constant delays with the Tactical Boost Glide program which was supposed to have flown 18 months ago but, based on public information, has yet to begin flight testing of the glide vehicle.

Lockheed signed up to develop ARRW and begin flight testing in just about 24 months, conduct all the flight testing and field the weapon in about 18 months after that. The 18 month delay in TBG testing is nearly as much as the schedule marked for the entire ARRW flight test program. DARPA still plans on conducting 3 TBG flight tests so I assume ARRW can't get anywhere until those have occurred and have validated the glide body design and performance. If they magically fly two TBG flights by September (as was planned based on DARPA's FY-22 submission) then that will be quite remarkable given that there hasn't been a lot of public test activity. Even so, that leaves at least one glide body test for FY-22 and then whatever integration testing is needed for the ARRW AUR testing. There probably need to be 6-8 successful flight tests before the AF is anywhere near to declaring IOC on the AGM-183A, and if we assume a pace of 1 test a quarter and 75% success rate then the AF will be at it for a couple of years more. Still not too far out, but not the rosy picture that Will Roper sold the AF when they terminated the more mature HCSW.
I doubt it occurred to him they'd screw up something as basic as getting the booster to ignite.

It's not just that but the fact that the TBG, which is the single most important thing on the weapon (and the most challenging) hasn't flown yet (based on public info) and was supposed to fly about 12 months after Lockheed was put on contract for the AGM-183A. If the idea was to have TBG mature the glide body and the ARRW to just use it and integrate it into an operational booster / weapon then TBG hasn't really delivered on that promise. If they truly have not tested the glide body then they are 18+ behind schedule on that program. And to think that the entire ARRW test program was supposed to end within that much time as per the originally agreed upon schedule.

And they just threw one of them in the ocean.
 

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The Air Force conducted its second AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon booster flight test July 28.

While it did not meet all flight objectives, the test demonstrated several first-time events as the program continues to track toward fielding a hypersonic capability in the early 2020s.

Objectives for the test included demonstrating the safe release of the booster test vehicle from the B 52H and assessing booster performance. An Edwards AFB B-52 released the ARRW test missile, dubbed Booster Test Vehicle 1b or BTV-1b, over Point Mugu Sea Range.

The missile cleanly separated from the aircraft and successfully demonstrated the full release sequence including GPS acquisition, umbilical disconnect and power transfer from the aircraft to the missile. The missile also demonstrated fin operation and de-confliction maneuvers which ensures a safe operation for the aircrew.

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. "At least we got it off the airplane this time."
 

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As a comparison, look at how quickly they managed to test the PrSM. Fired the motor and guided it to a target right off the bat, with two more successful tests within months. Meanwhile this rocket has failed to even ignite twice in a row. Someone on that testing team needs to be fired/demoted.
 

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I still think that is the least of their worries. Given what's new here is the BGV, the Warhead, and the Booster. Of these, the warhead was successfully tested recently. I assume the booster has done multiple static test firings so I don't see it being a major source of problems resulting in massive delays. But the BGV appears to be the most behind and DARPA seems to be totally silent on the state of that (or the HAWC for that matter even though we know it is 0/2 in flight testing so far). The program is a dead end if the glider doesn't work which is/was the biggest risk in terms of the AF went into a weapons program without actually flying the glider hardware first to validate viability and performance (they are doing the same with the scramjet cruise missile BTW).

Glad they left a weapons data-link and other technologies out of the A variant (Navy is working to add a WDL to the TBG glider) otherwise that would have added additional risk and delays. But the critical portion, as far as I'm concerned, is going to be TBG proving that the glide body performs as required. Without that, all you have is just an expensive short-medium range ballistic missile.
 

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