• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

AIM-120 AMRAAM projects

bring_it_on

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
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".
 

Attachments

Colonial-Marine

Fighting the UAV mafia.
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
626
Reaction score
6
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

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
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
 

Dragon029

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
668
Reaction score
25
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.
 

Attachments

bring_it_on

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
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

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,811
Reaction score
216
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

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
^ 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.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,811
Reaction score
216
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
 

Attachments

bring_it_on

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
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

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
11,811
Reaction score
216
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

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
6
I know you didn't but the analysis up the page seems to do :)
 

litzj

BLOG : http://jaesan-aero.blogspot.com/
Joined
Feb 4, 2012
Messages
207
Reaction score
2
Website
jaesan-aero.blogspot.com
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.
 
Top