AIM-120 AMRAAM projects

bring_it_on

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I believe the LREW was an engineering (technology) contract awarded to Raytheon to study the feasibility of a multi role long range missile. Engineering and wind tunnel testing was part of the funded activity but it was not a weapons program going forward. It concluded last year IIRC.

I don't know where CUDA+Booster or even SACM+Booster came in because I don't remember seeing anything official to that end (though happy to be corrected). The placeholder graphic showed a two stage missile but they never really declared the specifics so it could have just been some artwork. There was literally no design information shared by the AF that can be used to model performance. T3 prototype performance may be easier to model if one went with a VFDR motor on an AMRAAM sized missile with perhaps a more optimized warhead..With the USAF looking at loaded grain dual/multi pulse motors for the next gen. missile it would be highly difficult to model their performance by extrapolating data from previous gen motor performance.

Also to clarify SACM, as i use the acronym, was/is a USAF funded program (Raytheon). CUDA is purely an internal Lockheed funded missile. CUDA, to the best of my understanding, does not carry a warhead. I don't think that it has ever been revealed whether this was a SACM approach though some information released shows that the AF was looking at a "High Lethality, smaller form factor ordinance package".
 

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Colonial-Marine

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So LREW is yet another technology demonstrator program? As with the T3 program the results may be impressive but I'm left wondering when we will see actual new missiles? I feel that by now we should have at least had AMRAAMs with dual/multi-pulse motors in service.
 

bring_it_on

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Colonial-Marine said:
So LREW is yet another technology demonstrator program? As with the T3 program the results may be impressive but I'm left wondering when we will see actual new missiles? I feel that by now we should have at least had AMRAAMs with dual/multi-pulse motors in service.

LREW was always designed as such and the contract was till 2018. There does not appear to be a follow on though it could have well informed the current SACM transition or something in the classified realm. The USAF is experimenting when it comes to a next generation weapon for the 2030 time-frame and it appears the SACM effort has now morphed into a larger weapon still looking at some of the same performance parameters listed in the ppt posted above. I think they will continue to develop and experiment into the early 2020s and we'll probably something being put into a concrete program towards the middile of next decade. With the 5th gen fleet growing the AF probably thinks that an AMRAAM range extension is not a pressing concern but the legacy fleet, particularly the Navy's Hornets and Super Hornets can use this so they may have to take a look at one more AMRAAM iteration if they think the technology required to get to a 2030 weapon is going to take a bit of work still.

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,17332.msg347941.html#msg347941
 

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LREW might have been the wrong term for me to use, but basically what I'm talking about (and what I'm assuming Jaesan is talking about) is whatever a next-gen AIM-120D replacement program is; as far as I'm aware LREW is just the latest R&D program to what will (at least I assume) inevitably come about one day; a bit like the half dozen different fighter / attack programs that eventually merged or transitioned into JSF, or the various adaptive cycle engine programs that are working towards an eventual procurement program (though fortunately ADVENT/AETD/AETP has progressed fairly linearly and consistently).

As for LREW being a 2-stage SACM, I was partially basing that off that graphic (which may indeed by uninformed by actual design work), but also http://pacanm.org/wp2015/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/10-AFRL_RW_BFI-PACA-2015-RW-Briefing-Final-Col-Smith.pdf where on slide 15 it mentions for the "far term" they're looking at "multiple variants of basic SACM concept" to handle "med range A/A threats", "long range airborne targets" and BMD; the fact that they suggest multiple variants, and also separately describe medium and long range air targets suggests to me that it's something they're possibly looking at. They could of course just be talking about something completely different, like different diameter models, or different burn profile motors, versions with and without warheads, etc.

Personally I just like the idea of a 2-stage system as it potentially permits cheaper production, greater operational flexibility and potentially easier upgrade paths (you could upgrade SACM with new sensors for example, but not procure any additional "LREW" boosters, as the older SACM models in inventory can be flown in a single-stage configuration on lower-risk missions, or in lower-threat theatres, possibly sold to smaller allies, etc). There's certainly engineering challenges and trade-offs with load transfer between the 1st and 2nd stages, as well as mounting and staging mechanisms, but I would envision that they'd be manageable.

As for CUDA, I could've sworn that it was not just an internally-developed Lockheed project, but also specifically Lockheed's proposal for the SACM program (while their KICM design was their proposal for the MSDM program); in any case, CUDA's described attributes do align with what we know that the USAF wants in SACM (medium/long range, a smaller form factor, high end-game agility, a high single-shot pK, etc) and there have been pieces of USAF artwork that show missiles with the same "half-raam" form factor, and sometimes a very similar shape.
 

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bring_it_on

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The HALFRAAM idea seems to have transitioned to something larger and closer to AMRAAM size but with twice its range and much higher levels of agility. Again, I wouldn't characterize the LREW effort as something related to a SACM+Booster because we just don't know and because we have no basis for any performance modeling any analysis done on a notional LREW will essentially be an exercise in guess work (my original point that started this discussion).

As far as CUDA, my point was simply that the SACM effort (the USAF program) was looking into LE like warhead concepts and if CUDA doesn't include one (??) then it may not be indicative of what the USAF actually intends on fielding so using rough CUDA parameters to model SACM performance is also problematic. Similarly, the USAF has not been shy in stating that they are looking at dual/multi pulse motors with highly loaded grain designs so again their performance will be quite a bit different from legacy motors of similar size/dimensions so that has to also be built into a model (what reference to use?)..

sferrin said:
A portion of the classified NGAD program has been devoted to developing new weapons to augment the capabilities of existing air interceptor missiles such as the AIM-120C/D and AIM-9X. In fiscal 2020, the Air Force wants to launch the first “scaled flight demonstrations” for a new generation of air-launched weapons, including miniature self-defense munitions and “multishot” air-to-air weapons.

The latter was formerly known as the Small Advanced Counter-air Missile (SACM), but has been renamed within the Air Force Research Laboratory as the Counter-Air Science and Technology (CAST) program. While SACM was focused on developing a missile half the size of the AIM-120 but with similar range, CAST takes a broader approach. Under CAST, the same technology that enables AIM-120-like range in a vehicle half the size can produce a weapon with double the range in a similar form factor."
[/i]

https://aviationweek.com/defense/us-defense-budget-proposal-favors-next-gen-over-current-production

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,17332.msg347941.html#msg347941
 

sferrin

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bring_it_on said:
I believe the LREW was an engineering (technology) contract awarded to Raytheon to study the feasibility of a multi role long range missile. Engineering and wind tunnel testing was part of the funded activity but it was not a weapons program going forward. It concluded last year IIRC.

I don't know where CUDA+Booster or even SACM+Booster came in

(NOTE: This is from 2013. So it's almost certainly changed since then.)

https://aviationweek.com/awin/lockheed-reveals-new-air-launched-missile-concepts

"The Supersonic Testbed Risk Reduction (SSTRR) represents work on a future weapon in the same size class as the AIM-120 Amraam. The company is carrying out trade studies involving air-breathing and rocket propulsion, including multi-pulse motors, hit-to-kill technology and different guidance technologies. “Everyone wants everything,” a Lockheed Martin engineer explains. “If everyone in the room is crying, we’ve got it about right.”

On show for the first time at AFA is a model of Lockheed Martin’s Cuda, a so-called “Halfraam” weapon about half as long as an Amraam and compact enough to fit six missiles into each bay of the F-35 or F-22. Cuda draws on the hit-to-kill technology used on the PAC-3 missile, is designed to have a radar seeker and has both movable tails and forward attitude control motors for high agility. The company is not disclosing Cuda’s design range, but one variation of the concept is a two-stage missile with a similar total length to Amraam, presumably with the goal of covering a wide range envelope with a single missile design."
 

bring_it_on

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^ I remember that from back then but that was just what Lockheed was proposing. There is no direct connection of that to the LREW or any other performance parameters for the latter. Let's assume for a second that LREW is a two staged CUDA. Now why would the USAF embark on experimentation for a "Long Range Engagement Weapon" if the range of that weapon is not significantly greater than the Meteor, when at a time (circa 2010-2014) they had just finished up flight testing the T3 missiles which even under the worst case scenario would have been at least as long ranged as the meteor (AMRAAM sized, VFDR equipped variants at least)? That does not make sense at all. Why reinvent the wheel and go for a more complicated two stage set up only to end up with a shorter ranged "LREW" compared to the T3 or the VFDR AMRAAM concepts from prior years? [ If that analysis is to be believed].

That is why I think viewing the LREW as a two staged CUDA is a bit misleading especially in the light of litzj work which shows basically shorter range and kinematic performance compared to the Meteor. I think the LREW concept looked at more of an AIM-54 like role so would require a much faster interceptor that could climb a lot higher - A modern but multi-role Phoenix with better performance. So either he is grossly wrong with his modeling for the CUDA motor and its performance or the USAF, Raytheon and Lockheed simply don't not know what they are doing.

On the SACM side of things, the most recent article you linked describes the new focus at producing an AMRAAM sized missile with about twice the AMRAAM's range. SACM and advanced missile R&D/S&T work funded in USAF budgets over the last few years paint a pretty good picture of what areas of improvement the USAF is looking at. They just don't want 2x range but probably also want a lot more on the performance side. This is completely different from the Meteor or practically anything that currently exists on the AIM side of things in the US or abroad.
 

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There's also recent artwork of an F-15 with a 2-stage CUDA-like missile.

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

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bring_it_on

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But that's just a notional drawing showing a two stage missile. I don't see how that connects the LREW to a 2-stage CUDA for the purpose the analysis.
 

sferrin

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bring_it_on said:
But that's just a notional drawing showing a two stage missile. I don't see how that connects the LREW to a 2-stage CUDA for the purpose the analysis.

Not claiming it does. Just showing where the idea of a 2-stage CUDA may have come from.
 

bring_it_on

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I know you didn't but the analysis up the page seems to do :)
 

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I am the person who do not involve such a project, so this analysis cannot represent 'real-values' of the missiles.
- Probably, Non-US citizen like me will have no-chance to involve in my life.

These result are best guess based on my common sense, however, as you described, it can be GIGO. :)
And this is why I described missile model as "GENERIC"
(even some of them do not have real design yet)

I do not want insist which one is definitely better than the others based on this analysis.
I just want to compare generic types of those missiles with "ASSUMPTION"

Is there any better estimation of those missiles? If it is, I will accept these guesses.
 

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attachment.php



it reminded me

Design-of-and-Rapid-Manufacturing-Technology-for-a-Flying-Missile-Rail_thumb42.jpg


 
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Ronny

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attachment.php



it reminded me
This bring up many memory of a previous discussion when I was discussing a method to attack the YAL-1
FLying missile rail.png
 

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The U.S. government has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of 32 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) with support for an estimated cost of $63 million.


currently AIM-120C-8 it's AIM-120D or F3R renew ver of AIM-120C-7?

The AIM-120C-8 is a form, fit, function refresh of the AIM-120C-7 and is the next generation to be produced


 

AeroFranz

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Is it fair to say then that this model of -120 costs $500K a pop?
I'm asking because i know trying to put a figure on cost comes with all sorts of caveats...
 

timmymagic

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Is it fair to say then that this model of -120 costs $500K a pop?
I'm asking because i know trying to put a figure on cost comes with all sorts of caveats...

C-5's were around that 15 years ago. I don't think any current production AMRAAM is less than $1m a missile, whether its a C-7, C-8 or D now. As ever it depends on what is in the contract. But a conservative price from more recent contracts would be at least $1m per copy with 50% of the contract value being training, support, documentation etc.
 

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Raytheon has been awarded a $9,703,375 to contract for production AMRAAM baseline rocket motors. This contract modification provides for the production of Air Force baseline rocket motors for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) countries Norway and Chile. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed May 14, 2023.

baseline rocket motor is WPU-6/B, applied in the AIM-120A, B, С-3, С-4

 

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Could it be made for something bigger? Solid fuel rockets used by NASA, for example.
 

Kat Tsun

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I don't see why anyone would want that. Demand for commercial launches is going up, not down.

"Production on demand" isn't really something that can be easily translated to large scale orders or objects, since it's the opposite of that. You probably can't additively manufacture a massive object like a AIM-120 motor in anything less than a week I'd assume. A decent sized factory can produce a good several dozen AIM-120s in the same time.

It's a regression from large, mass production efficient Fordist-era factories to more responsive, but low throughput, early-industrial ateliers. More a return to form, since historically militaries were provisioned by a combination of private, local suppliers for bulk goods (food, salt) and artisan ateliers (swords, bows, armor) producing relatively tiny amounts of materiel. The arsenal system was exactly this, after all, even if it really provisioned more a seed corn of industrial expertise and prototyped patterns to be built at factories.

AMRAAM's probably getting picked because it's a reaction to the fact that air to air missiles are not in particularly high demand or necessary for the combat that the USAF fights than anything. It may also be an attempt to reduce the vulnerability of USAF in the Far East to being clapped if a MC-130 gets shot down when it's carrying like 30 AMRAAMs to rearm 6 F-22s on the side of a highway somewhere in Japan or Taiwan, really. Notice that they're not talking about something they actually expend a lot of, like JDAMs or SDBs, which will both likely still be produced for decades to come in huge quantities. I doubt the JDAM factories, or ESSM factories, are going to be eyeballed for this.

So either the USAF is dumb and doesn't understand how manufacturing works, so it's bought into "additive manufacturing" as a means to "flexibly" "produce" weapons "just-in-time" or whatever Forbes writers think these days, or it's deliberately looking to downsize its AMRAAM production capacity without seriously impacting theaters' abilities to maintain their war reserve stockpiles, because it knows exactly what its doing. Either could be the actual reason, but I'd imagine it's the latter. The last time the USAF actually fired an AMRAAM in anger was probably over Kosovo, so it's not a common occurrence that a theater is forced to expend any significant portions of its AAM stockpiles.

Having three or four tiny ateliers in a hangar that can produce maybe 200-250 missiles a year, altogether, would about equal what the Air Force buys currently, except it wouldn't need to ship them from some dumb factory in Alabama or whatever it just puts them on a truck drives them to an ammo bunker on the other side of Ramstein or Yokota. It would also be nice to be able to rapidly churn out prototypes of a Super AMRAAM, or a Sparrow...VI? VII?, or whatever, to replace AIM-120 without needing to go through the whole rigamarole circus of "procurement".
 
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Grey Havoc

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So either the USAF is dumb and doesn't understand how manufacturing works, so it's bought into "additive manufacturing" as a means to "flexibly" "produce" weapons "just-in-time" or whatever Forbes writers think these days, or it's deliberately looking to downsize its AMRAAM production capacity without seriously impacting theaters' abilities to maintain their war reserve stockpiles, because it knows exactly what its doing. Either could be the actual reason, but I'd imagine it's the latter. The last time the USAF actually fired an AMRAAM in anger was probably over Kosovo, so it's not a common occurrence that a theater is forced to expend any significant portions of its AAM stockpiles.
That could end up being a rather major miscalculation by the USAF if a major conflict does break out.
 

Kat Tsun

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I don't see how.

There isn't a fighter force on Earth that could sustain anything close to the number of losses that would be inflicted on it by a regionally deployed USAF air wing of F-22s and F-35s (maybe ~100 aircraft total, 40/60 split between the two types?) or something that will be common in a few short years. The only "real" issue (and a minor one at that, considering the USN exists) is if the USAF gets involved in fighting the PLAAF and RuAF at the same time I guess, but that's not going to be solved by having more missiles.

It would be a major issue if either the RuAF or PLAAF had decent training and large quantities of flyable airframes, but they lack both for now. The RuAF for essentially the foreseeable future, and the PLAAF will be a continuously growing threat, but the USAF can probably order additional overhead for the Far East Air Force from the AMRAAM factory, which isn't going to be closed down because they lost 200 missile sales a year. Plenty of people will continue buying AMRAAMs that aren't the USAF.

This mostly seems to be a way to cut cost on annual procurement budgets by making a small quantity of missiles in-house, possibly for training use or just topping off stockpiles or whatever, in addition to periodic bulk orders from the factory. And of course additive manufacturing is great and highly flexible for tiny, artisanal orders like those.
 
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Kat Tsun

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It's far more likely that China or Russia will be able to force the US into a fait accompli without firing a shot in the first place.

OTOH if America shoots down 100-200 J-11s or Su-27s or something without losing more than a couple jets then the PLAAF or RuAF would probably surrender out of embarrassment rather than continue launching strikes until the USAF literally runs out of ammo. The RANDesque idea of "swarming kamikaze pilots" or whatever, which for some reason is a popular hot topic of RAND despite not having much basis in reality, would just result in a repeat of the Marianas Turkey Shoot.

Seems very unlikely that theater stockpiles of air to air missiles are the problem in either case. The actual problem is closer to something where the USAF either shows up after a kerfluffle starts, destroys the enemy, and forces a status quo ante, or the USAF never fights at all. And in both cases the US might still lose a tiny island or three small villages in Estonia altogether about the size of Rhode Island! There's not much AIM-120 can do to help that America's enemies from being so weak that they cannot seriously threaten its status as a military (and cultural, economic, technological, blah blah) hegemon.

By the time that actually happens, AIM-120 will qualify for the early bird special and probably be well on its way out, if not completely replaced, of Air Force use.

It's not really a big deal. The PLAAF is too weak to fight everyone in Asia and by the time it's big the USAF will have newer and stronger airplanes and rockets, and the Russian Air Force is only going to get worse. Which means the USAF can focus entirely on fighting China and not having to split itself between Europe and Asia, which will balance out whatever strength the PLAAF will have grown.

The real bugbear in the long term plan is going to be the USN. The Navy might bungle NGAD like they bungled ATA, which will mean the USAF will have less basing flexibility, because they'd need to be pushed forward to keep the USN from getting sunk, and potentially becoming the fait accompli themselves. Now I need to go wash my mouth out so I can stop tasting Jim Wirtz's favorite buzzword.
 
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bring_it_on

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AMRAAM-ER has a decent chance of blowing Meteor out of the water for range.
Would it really though?
Meteor with adjustable throttle ability will have very good end game kinematic

Its a double edged sword. Because it has to adjust to get that range and prolong burn, it will also be slower to get there compared to a physically larger missile with more propellant. But anyhow, the Meteor and the AIM-260 will both be integrated so I doubt anyone would want the AMRAAM-ER given its impact on the magazine. Better to give the F-15's something like the AMRAAM-ER.
 
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Dragon029

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AMRAAM-ER has a decent chance of blowing Meteor out of the water for range.
Would it really though?
Meteor with adjustable throttle ability will have very good end game kinematic
Aside from the almost certainly low-balled "in excess of 100km" range figures for Meteor, I've generally only seen range estimates that give it in the ballpark of 1.5x the range of an AIM-120D - ie something like 250km-300km for example, assuming the usual ideal conditions. By my estimates, AMRAAM-ER has something like 2.5x the propellant mass of a regular AMRAAM; given ballistic / lofted trajectories, this has the potential to hurl it >2x further than an AIM-120D with the same lofting logic (but not the same lofting altitudes). At that point we're talking distances in the high 300km's, or even potentially exceeding 400km under fairly optimistic launch conditions.

Those sorts of distances require the missile reaching most of the way to the Karman line though, so it wouldn't be very useful against fighters or anything with an unpredictable flight path at that distance, but still for the typical tanker and AWACS targets it could a handy tool. Probably better flown on an F-15EX for those purposes, but at more typical BVR distances you might nevertheless get some decent pK figures via the missile arriving with a bunch of potential and kinetic energy to expend for interception. I agree with bring_it_on though; an F-35's ideal future air-to-air payload would probably be a mix of JATMs and SACMs, with any AMRAAM-ERs (if it's integrated and procured) being in a more limited role for the F-35.
 

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