AIM-120 AMRAAM projects

bring_it_on

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"Depending on what type of platform you are flying, that will change your perception of what type of capability you require," Neil Jennings, AMRAAM's business development director at Raytheon Missile Systems told IHS Jane's . "If you are flying a fourth-generation aircraft, and you know that the guy on the other side can see you, then of course you want a longer-range weapon; but if you're in a fifth-generation aircraft, a longer-range weapon would usually mean more size, more weight, and [be] larger to carry, and it's not necessarily a priority for you because if the other guys can't see you, then you don't have to engage them at super longer ranges. So the fifth-generation aircrew would probably want a smaller weapon so that they can cram more of them in their weapons bay - they'll be smaller, more agile, more manoeuvrable, and cheaper."

In September 2013, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control unveiled two company-funded potential extended-range AAM initiatives, which it proposed as concepts of interest under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Air Dominance effort at the Air Force Association exhibition.

Under the Supersonic Testbed Risk Reduction initiative, Lockheed Martin is examining air-breathing and rocket propulsion, including multipulse motors, hit-to-kill technology, and different guidance on a future weapon in the same size class as the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Another initiative, Cuda, is described as a miniature (about half the size of an AMRAAM), radar-guided multirole hit-to-kill missile, designed to increase the air-to-air weapons load out on platforms such as the F-35 and F-22. The Cuda's range has not been disclosed, but it is believed that one variant could provide for a two-stage solution similar in total length to AMRAAM, and potentially offering an increased range or wider engagement envelope. Lockheed Martin declined to expand on either initiative, noting, "We're not currently in a position to discuss these, other than to say the Cuda programme is active and ongoing."...


AMRAAM has been significantly enhanced in the past 25 years, and the latest D variant was only cleared for operational use in 2015, after a protracted developmental and testing programme that began in 2006.

"When we think about generations of weapon, AMRAAM is definitely a fifth-generation weapon, that is based on the fact that there have been five major redesigns of the missile, incorporating large numbers of new hardware, major processors, and software improvements," said Jennings.

A development of the earlier AIM-120C, AIM-120D (P3I Phase 4, formerly known as AIM-120C-8) retains the same PN G672798-1 Plus 5 solid propellant rocket motor of the AIM-120C-5 and C-7 variants. However, AIM-120D delivers significant improvement in no-escape envelope and high-angle off-boresight capabilities over earlier variants. The missile now incorporates GPS-aided navigation for improved mid-course guidance and a two-way datalink for greater control over the missile's end-game targeting. The AIM-120D also features revised guidance software to improve kinematic performance and overall effectiveness, and improved electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).

Jennings said, "The AIM-120C-5 extended the range of the AIM-120B fairly significantly, by shortening the control actuation system in the back and adding fins to the back end of the rocket motor. That added pretty decent range capability when you go from AIM-120B to AIM-120C-5. The C-7 and the D share the same rocket motor, and the same form, fit, function, size, and control actuation system. And both the C-7 and D have the same rocket motor as the C-5. Throughout AMRAAM's development, there have been improvements into the flight profile of the missile to get to the target. These improvements have led to range increases as well, and the jump from the B to the C-7 was fairly significant. The D can fly slightly farther than the C-7, and the C-7 can fly farther than the C-5. But this range increase is in the order of low double-digit percentages."

Jennings declined to discuss the specific range parameters of the D model, but noted, "As I look to the future and the new platforms emerging potentially from Russia and China, the airframe is something we will have to account for, especially in terms of radar signature. However, there is very little today that the AIM-120C-7 and AIM-120D cannot find and intercept."

Jennings said that he is currently unaware of plans to add ramjet propulsion to improve the range of the AIM-120D. "Raytheon, as well as some of the US government investigation agencies have continuously gone back and looked at how to optimise the range for AMRAAM, and there have been discussions of changing the propellants and doing other things in that area to increase the range. If we were to add a ramjet motor, would that solve all our problems? The answer is no."

Jennings continued, "There are a very small number of long-range scenarios where a ramjet-equipped AMRAAM might be an advantage, but those scenarios are fairly marginal, and once you get inside a certain range as you are approaching a target, a ramjet motor on an AMRAAM becomes not an advantage, but a disadvantage: because of the weight [of the missile] and the time to get it going - ramjet motors are initially slower than an AMRAAM motor - you are not going to necessarily get the missile to the target faster and make the kill in the amount of time that you need for it to happen."

Jennings said that performance enhancements to the AIM-120D will be delivered through a series of System Improvement Programs (SIPs). Since the AIM-120D was fielded in January 2015, the programme office conducted SIP-1 integrated testing with two live missile shots in March and May 2015. Operational testing for SIP-1 began in January 2016, and a SIP-2 upgrade is currently in planning. Jennings declined to expand on the specific nature of the enhancements provided under the SIP initiatives, noting, "The [SIP] programmes [are] designed to ensure that AIM-120D remains on the cutting edge. AMRAAM is a fully re-programmable weapon and a lot of what we can and will do to AMRAAM in the future will involve software updates. We are already looking at potential threats that will be on the scene in 2020-25 and beyond, and are now discussing SIP 3, SIP 4, and SIP 5 upgrades in terms of how can we design into the weapon those features that will optimise it to defeat those threats."

The programme office is currently looking to add new electronic-attack protection capabilities to the missile, through a software upgrade recently fielded on the AIM-120C-7. A network-enabled capability has also been mooted as a future enhancement for AIM-120D, although Jennings declined to comment on this.
 

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bring_it_on said:
"Depending on what type of platform you are flying, that will change your perception of what type of capability you require," Neil Jennings, AMRAAM's business development director at Raytheon Missile Systems told IHS Jane's . "If you are flying a fourth-generation aircraft, and you know that the guy on the other side can see you, then of course you want a longer-range weapon; but if you're in a fifth-generation aircraft, a longer-range weapon would usually mean more size, more weight, and [be] larger to carry, and it's not necessarily a priority for you because if the other guys can't see you, then you don't have to engage them at super longer ranges. So the fifth-generation aircrew would probably want a smaller weapon so that they can cram more of them in their weapons bay - they'll be smaller, more agile, more manoeuvrable, and cheaper."

In September 2013, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control unveiled two company-funded potential extended-range AAM initiatives, which it proposed as concepts of interest under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Air Dominance effort at the Air Force Association exhibition.

Under the Supersonic Testbed Risk Reduction initiative, Lockheed Martin is examining air-breathing and rocket propulsion, including multipulse motors, hit-to-kill technology, and different guidance on a future weapon in the same size class as the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Another initiative, Cuda, is described as a miniature (about half the size of an AMRAAM), radar-guided multirole hit-to-kill missile, designed to increase the air-to-air weapons load out on platforms such as the F-35 and F-22. The Cuda's range has not been disclosed, but it is believed that one variant could provide for a two-stage solution similar in total length to AMRAAM, and potentially offering an increased range or wider engagement envelope. Lockheed Martin declined to expand on either initiative, noting, "We're not currently in a position to discuss these, other than to say the Cuda programme is active and ongoing."...


AMRAAM has been significantly enhanced in the past 25 years, and the latest D variant was only cleared for operational use in 2015, after a protracted developmental and testing programme that began in 2006.

"When we think about generations of weapon, AMRAAM is definitely a fifth-generation weapon, that is based on the fact that there have been five major redesigns of the missile, incorporating large numbers of new hardware, major processors, and software improvements," said Jennings.

A development of the earlier AIM-120C, AIM-120D (P3I Phase 4, formerly known as AIM-120C-8) retains the same PN G672798-1 Plus 5 solid propellant rocket motor of the AIM-120C-5 and C-7 variants. However, AIM-120D delivers significant improvement in no-escape envelope and high-angle off-boresight capabilities over earlier variants. The missile now incorporates GPS-aided navigation for improved mid-course guidance and a two-way datalink for greater control over the missile's end-game targeting. The AIM-120D also features revised guidance software to improve kinematic performance and overall effectiveness, and improved electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM).

Jennings said, "The AIM-120C-5 extended the range of the AIM-120B fairly significantly, by shortening the control actuation system in the back and adding fins to the back end of the rocket motor. That added pretty decent range capability when you go from AIM-120B to AIM-120C-5. The C-7 and the D share the same rocket motor, and the same form, fit, function, size, and control actuation system. And both the C-7 and D have the same rocket motor as the C-5. Throughout AMRAAM's development, there have been improvements into the flight profile of the missile to get to the target. These improvements have led to range increases as well, and the jump from the B to the C-7 was fairly significant. The D can fly slightly farther than the C-7, and the C-7 can fly farther than the C-5. But this range increase is in the order of low double-digit percentages."

Jennings declined to discuss the specific range parameters of the D model, but noted, "As I look to the future and the new platforms emerging potentially from Russia and China, the airframe is something we will have to account for, especially in terms of radar signature. However, there is very little today that the AIM-120C-7 and AIM-120D cannot find and intercept."

Jennings said that he is currently unaware of plans to add ramjet propulsion to improve the range of the AIM-120D. "Raytheon, as well as some of the US government investigation agencies have continuously gone back and looked at how to optimise the range for AMRAAM, and there have been discussions of changing the propellants and doing other things in that area to increase the range. If we were to add a ramjet motor, would that solve all our problems? The answer is no."

Jennings continued, "There are a very small number of long-range scenarios where a ramjet-equipped AMRAAM might be an advantage, but those scenarios are fairly marginal, and once you get inside a certain range as you are approaching a target, a ramjet motor on an AMRAAM becomes not an advantage, but a disadvantage: because of the weight [of the missile] and the time to get it going - ramjet motors are initially slower than an AMRAAM motor - you are not going to necessarily get the missile to the target faster and make the kill in the amount of time that you need for it to happen."

Jennings said that performance enhancements to the AIM-120D will be delivered through a series of System Improvement Programs (SIPs). Since the AIM-120D was fielded in January 2015, the programme office conducted SIP-1 integrated testing with two live missile shots in March and May 2015. Operational testing for SIP-1 began in January 2016, and a SIP-2 upgrade is currently in planning. Jennings declined to expand on the specific nature of the enhancements provided under the SIP initiatives, noting, "The [SIP] programmes [are] designed to ensure that AIM-120D remains on the cutting edge. AMRAAM is a fully re-programmable weapon and a lot of what we can and will do to AMRAAM in the future will involve software updates. We are already looking at potential threats that will be on the scene in 2020-25 and beyond, and are now discussing SIP 3, SIP 4, and SIP 5 upgrades in terms of how can we design into the weapon those features that will optimise it to defeat those threats."

The programme office is currently looking to add new electronic-attack protection capabilities to the missile, through a software upgrade recently fielded on the AIM-120C-7. A network-enabled capability has also been mooted as a future enhancement for AIM-120D, although Jennings declined to comment on this.
Thank you for posting BIO. The clarification on ramjets acceleration was great.. Maybe better for an arsenal plane.. Net enabled? There is time and purpose for that added cost?
 

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I think there may be a realization that you may actually need a faster time to target at medium ranges than to look to expand the longest range engagements compared to what is currently possible. The little Boeing revealed about its T3 missile, they were quick to emphasize that it flew 'faster' than the Aim-120. There may be a realization that the opponent is going to put quite a bit of 'price' on long range targeting so it may be beneficial to focus on Medium ranges.
 

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The lack of interest or slow-pace the DoD has been investigating further AMRAAM upgrades or replacement is a bit troubling. The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.

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

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I don't think there has been a slow pace at all. The JDRADM, DRADM-T, SITES ,NGM etc (actually the warhead portion is probably directly related to longer range, besides lethality) efforts were ambitious, and timely in order to get something significantly more capably than the AMRAAM/HARM by 2020. Those were 'deliberately' cut since their absence was deemed as an acceptable risk going forward. I don't agree with some of those decisions but I don't blame them for dragging their feet but something has to give when you are spending the kind of money in OCO, and have the Budget Control Act piled on top of it.

However the RAMJET, vs no RAMJET debate is nothing new and I believe they are well within the trade space to seek to improve the speed and shorten the engagement time. There are multiple ways to get longer range, with dual or multi pulse motors being something that has been tried on other programs. Ultimately, there are other considerations such as targeting and getting good quality targeting at long range and those are going to be far bigger challenges when the PAKFA's, J-20's and low-RCS UCAV's and bombers proliferate. How to get the missile to fly out at longer distances, with higher end game performance is actually a reasonably low-risk challenge for them to overcome.

The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.
There are different considerations. Its just not the missile, its also the platform, the network, the situational awareness and EW that all feed into superiority in the air. Your spending naturally needs to be balanced and if you are going to spend heavily in certain areas you must take risk in others. Recapitalizing the fighter fleet, and developing a robust EW strategy is probably a much more pressing need.
 

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Interesting slide shared by Tim Robinson on Twitter (Meteor presentation - EFTyphoon farnborough 2016). I guess adding a pulsed motor could narrow the gap considerably as opposed to the heavier VFDR solution.

 

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Excerpts from an AvWeek article from James Drew :

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

“Brimstone’s a great weapon; by the way, as is Meteor. But we really haven’t gotten into discussions about Meteor because we’re not there yet in terms of what’s the follow [to] Amraam,” he says. “We have to get to the next level missile [beyond the AIM-120],” he says. “We’re doing improvements and modernization of the AIM-120 and we’ve got a program that has modernized that. It’s showing good success, but we need to get to—and we’re not there yet—a longer-range, more capable and potentially multiple-seeker, broad-spectrum [weapon]. As we finish modernizing the AIM-120, the next thing we have to do is get to that next missile.”
BTW, as per the latest SAR (FY15) the AMRAAM-D procurement is expected to end in 2024, with 6500+ missiles acquired ..
 

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AMRAAM orders could shrink before upgrades are fielded, Raytheon says


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

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

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

The Air Force declined multiple requests for comment on AMRAAM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On the VFDR AMRAAM :

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

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

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

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

NEXT-GENERATION PROPULSION REQUIREMENTS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Colonial-Marine said:
The lack of interest or slow-pace the DoD has been investigating further AMRAAM upgrades or replacement is a bit troubling. The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.

Even as an interim step an "AIM-120E" with multi-pulse rocket motor and potentially an AESA seeker would seem to be a good investment.
More on AESA seekers for a AIM-120 follow-on missile:

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

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

bring_it_on

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The lack of interest or slow-pace the DoD has been investigating further AMRAAM upgrades or replacement is a bit troubling. The reduced initial acceleration of ramjet assisted designs hasn't deterred the Europeans, Russians, or Chinese from actively investing in such missiles.

Even as an interim step an "AIM-120E" with multi-pulse rocket motor and potentially an AESA seeker would seem to be a good investment.
Obsolesce issues aside, the Aim-120D is likely the last major AMRAAM project overhaul. They have looked at it multiple times, and at various stages starting from the late 1990s and into the 2000s. Each time, short of a basic kinematic increase through a motor upgrade they had decided to move towards a new weapon.

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

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

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

From a purely kinematic perspective, the Army has an 7" Aerojet dual pulse motor not different in size from the AMRAAM. This in addition to any other work AFRL may have done in that domain.
 

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Status of Ramjet Programs in the United States Patrick W. Hewitt
Aerojet. 5945 Wellington Road. Gainesville, Virginia 20155 AIAA 2008-5265




VFDR-FVC PROGRAM


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

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

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

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


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


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

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Wingspan commonality with the Aim-120C seems to have been a major design goal . Seems to be a major drawback for the Meteor configuration as far as F-22A integration is concerned.
 

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Isn't the inlet configuration of the Meteor partly driven by conformal carriage requirements for the Typhoon? Otherwise it would seem odd to deliberately design the missile with different maneuverability in different body planes. The issue seems less pronounced on the VFDR AMRAAM with the chin-mounted inlet.

Speaking of which, is the F-22's bay capable of accommodating the AIM-120A/B without the clipped tail surfaces? It's difficult to tell because the packing of the clipped fin AIM-120C already looks very tight inside the bays.
 

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If the thesis that I posted in the T3 thread is accurate, the difference in the wingspan accounting for the inlet and the control fins is quite significant. 20 inches for the meteor configuration compared to 12.5 for Aim-120C on the F-22.

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

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

Thanks Flateric for the colored shots :)...
 

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I accidentally misspoke, I meant that the inlet configuration on the VFDR AMRAAM seems less limiting on carriage compared to the Meteor. The inlets on the Meteor extend the span of the tail surfaces substantially.
 

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Yes considerably so even if you were to clip the Meteor's fins as they are doing for the F-35 integration. You still have to account for intakes on the sides that run the length of the propulsion section. Its not the most optimized configuration from a tight packing point of view when it comes to internal bay configurations, unless one designs a larger bay specifically with it as the baseline weapon.
 

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

I believe a VFDR, by nature of the longer burning motor, would also likely be more detectable by infrared missile launch detectors like the system the F-22 and F-35 is equipped with, and it can allow for longer response time for countermeasures, though the higher average speed of such a missile may negate that.
 

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Raytheon to leverage hypersonic R&D for next-generation AAM solution


Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) is expected to leverage its expanded research in hypersonic weapons technologies to inform the development of its next-generation air-to-air missile solution as a follow-on to the current AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) capability....

Bussing said that the company expects to fly a demonstrator from one/or both of the TBG or HAWC programmes in "the near-to-mid-term".

In the interim, Bussing said, Raytheon is party to the trade studies that will inform the weapons development and selection for the US Air Force's prospective next-generation air dominance platform. "Raytheon, by definition, is the biggest missile house, certainly in the free world, and the Air Force flies AIM-9Xs, AMRAAMS, which are the type of things you'd expect to see on these advanced aircraft, so we are actively involved in those future trade studies. Everything from low speed sub-sonic weapons to hypersonic weapons will be considered within that trade space. At this point, these are all studies, but in all likelihood the government will be looking at the full gambit of possible options."

In terms of the AIM-120 AMRAAM/AIM-9X product line, we are looking at the follow-on generation for these and other weapon systems. Part of the interest in investing as we have across the hypersonic weapons space is that you can leverage that suite of game-changing technologies to deliver, we believe, some very unique capabilities - not just game-changing, but asymmetric enablers and differentiators. And a future hypersonic air-to-air application is certainly part of that trade space.
 

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Anyone hear about the development of an 4 stack amraam launcher for each of the the f-35 weapons bays?
 

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Never.

Only ever seen a 2-per A2G station for the F-35.
 

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There are concepts for three AMRAAM in each bay. Never heard of four. It's probably volumetrically impossible.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2017/March%202017/March%2028%202017/Let’s-Do-More-Shots.aspx
 

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Your link is broken, here it is.

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2017/March%202017/March%2028%202017/Let%E2%80%99s-Do-More-Shots.aspx

This is from an LM vid.

 

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An interesting concept, I think that it is strange how Lockheed Martin never designed the F-35 with bigger internal weapons bays to begin with.
 

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They designed to the requirements. Anything bigger would have cost and weighed more, in an aircraft that had weight and cost issues.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
I like to be a giver more than a taker so enjoy:
This is probably an uneducated question, but is the "rear control with strakes" design becoming so common due to convergent evolution? I keep wondering what's so advantageous about it, and why AMRAAM doesn't use it. Is it due to the space strakes take?

Some examples: RIM-162 ESSM, MICA, IRIS-T, and (Nearly?) every version of Standard Missile.
 

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GWrecks said:
Abraham Gubler said:
I like to be a giver more than a taker so enjoy:
This is probably an uneducated question, but is the "rear control with strakes" design becoming so common due to convergent evolution? I keep wondering what's so advantageous about it, and why AMRAAM doesn't use it. Is it due to the space strakes take?

Some examples: RIM-162 ESSM, MICA, IRIS-T, and (Nearly?) every version of Standard Missile.
that kind of fins take place of the internal weapon bay, and F/A-18 fuselage pylon cannot adopt that kind of configuration.

start of AIM-120 is replacement of AIM-7, so these two missile should have similar layout for flexible change.
 

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bring_it_on said:
Raytheon to leverage hypersonic R&D for next-generation AAM solution


Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) is expected to leverage its expanded research in hypersonic weapons technologies to inform the development of its next-generation air-to-air missile solution as a follow-on to the current AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) capability....

Bussing said that the company expects to fly a demonstrator from one/or both of the TBG or HAWC programmes in "the near-to-mid-term".

In the interim, Bussing said, Raytheon is party to the trade studies that will inform the weapons development and selection for the US Air Force's prospective next-generation air dominance platform. "Raytheon, by definition, is the biggest missile house, certainly in the free world, and the Air Force flies AIM-9Xs, AMRAAMS, which are the type of things you'd expect to see on these advanced aircraft, so we are actively involved in those future trade studies. Everything from low speed sub-sonic weapons to hypersonic weapons will be considered within that trade space. At this point, these are all studies, but in all likelihood the government will be looking at the full gambit of possible options."

In terms of the AIM-120 AMRAAM/AIM-9X product line, we are looking at the follow-on generation for these and other weapon systems. Part of the interest in investing as we have across the hypersonic weapons space is that you can leverage that suite of game-changing technologies to deliver, we believe, some very unique capabilities - not just game-changing, but asymmetric enablers and differentiators. And a future hypersonic air-to-air application is certainly part of that trade space.
this is trade space for a genuine gun vs missile analysis could take place if a major doesn't rig the political game.

BTW dont know how many time one has to say no EMRG, only ETC.
 

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How about we contain the aircraft gun speculation to the designated thread?
 

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jsport said:
bring_it_on said:
Raytheon to leverage hypersonic R&D for next-generation AAM solution


Raytheon Missile Systems (RMS) is expected to leverage its expanded research in hypersonic weapons technologies to inform the development of its next-generation air-to-air missile solution as a follow-on to the current AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) capability....

Bussing said that the company expects to fly a demonstrator from one/or both of the TBG or HAWC programmes in "the near-to-mid-term".

In the interim, Bussing said, Raytheon is party to the trade studies that will inform the weapons development and selection for the US Air Force's prospective next-generation air dominance platform. "Raytheon, by definition, is the biggest missile house, certainly in the free world, and the Air Force flies AIM-9Xs, AMRAAMS, which are the type of things you'd expect to see on these advanced aircraft, so we are actively involved in those future trade studies. Everything from low speed sub-sonic weapons to hypersonic weapons will be considered within that trade space. At this point, these are all studies, but in all likelihood the government will be looking at the full gambit of possible options."

In terms of the AIM-120 AMRAAM/AIM-9X product line, we are looking at the follow-on generation for these and other weapon systems. Part of the interest in investing as we have across the hypersonic weapons space is that you can leverage that suite of game-changing technologies to deliver, we believe, some very unique capabilities - not just game-changing, but asymmetric enablers and differentiators. And a future hypersonic air-to-air application is certainly part of that trade space.
this is trade space for a genuine gun vs missile analysis could take place if a major doesn't rig the political game.

BTW dont know how many time one has to say no EMRG, only ETC.
Please Jsport can you please not descend to out right trolling.
 

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TomS said:
How about we contain the aircraft gun speculation to the designated thread?
Hypersonic vs hypersonic systems need to compete for cost performance etc . A call such a analysis is pretty straight forward.

The smaller the projectile the less drag especially in hypersonics.
 

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jsport said:
TomS said:
How about we contain the aircraft gun speculation to the designated thread?
Hypersonic vs hypersonic systems need to compete for cost performance etc . A call such a analysis is pretty straight forward.

The smaller the projectile the less drag especially in hypersonics.
So keep it in the gun thread.
 

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litzj said:
https://jaesan-aero.blogspot.com/2019/03/aim-120c-study-using-missile-sim-part-3.html

I have modeled CUDA / AIM-120C / CUDA+Booster / Meteor generic model

With some assumption, I could compare the performance of them.

A few questions:

AIM-120C? What about AIM-120D?


Is CUDA + Booster pretty much the same as the LREW (which uses an "up & over" trajectory to enhance range)?:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/15692/the-pentagon-is-quietly-developing-an-next-generation-long-range-air-to-air-missile


How would an air-launched version of AMRAAM-ER, or SM-6 compare?

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/ausa/2016/10/04/raytheons-extended-range-amraam-missile-destroys-target-in-first-flight-test/

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/03/01/giving_the_super_hornet_more_punch_think_sm-6_113137.html


Just curious.
 

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dumpster4 said:
litzj said:
https://jaesan-aero.blogspot.com/2019/03/aim-120c-study-using-missile-sim-part-3.html

I have modeled CUDA / AIM-120C / CUDA+Booster / Meteor generic model

With some assumption, I could compare the performance of them.

A few questions:

AIM-120C? What about AIM-120D?


Is CUDA + Booster pretty much the same as the LREW (which uses an "up & over" trajectory to enhance range)?:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/15692/the-pentagon-is-quietly-developing-an-next-generation-long-range-air-to-air-missile


How would an air-launched version of AMRAAM-ER, or SM-6 compare?

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/ausa/2016/10/04/raytheons-extended-range-amraam-missile-destroys-target-in-first-flight-test/

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/03/01/giving_the_super_hornet_more_punch_think_sm-6_113137.html


Just curious.
1) Ya, CUDA+Booster ~ LREW, my case showed that LREW is not impressive as Meteor in range performance
(Further improvement attempt will be conducted)

2) AIM-120D...... There is only a rumor, trajectory optimization and enhanced long-burn motor, to extend its range, however there is no certain way to model it

3) Other massive AAM or high speed missiles will be modeled and tested
 

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How do you know anything to even ballpark estimated characteristics of the LREW? and what does it have to do with the CUDA? (CUDA = Lockheed internal project, and LREW study was contracted to Raytheon). Same thing with any future offshoot of SACM which is now likely to feature an AMRAAM length (dia?) highly loaded grain dual pulse motor with advantages in both range, speed and agility. Not to mention the " AMRAAM sized" Boeing T3 interceptor that flew "faster" and "farther" than any AMRAAM has ever flown based on publicly released information from its developer. Again, there is so much ambiguity that any analysis at this point wouldn't pass the GIGO test.
 

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It's my understanding that these are purely just notional LREW concepts, following the idea that LREW *could* be a 2-stage SACM (AFRL presentations mention the idea of variants / a long range version of SACM for air superiority) and the fact that CUDA is the only SACM design that's been publicly shown so far.
 
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