AIM-152 AAAM Phoenix replacement projects

flateric

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http://www.ebay.com/itm/general-dynamics-photo-AAAM-air-to-air-missile-concept-weapon-USN-US-navy-jet-/331189766313?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d1c72c8a9
 

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FighterJock

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A pity it was cancelled due to the ending of the Cold War, I always thought the AIM-152 would have been a good missile for the F-14, what was the maximum projected range of the AIM-152?
 

Colonial-Marine

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SpudmanWP said:
The GD AAAM project had SO many possibilities
1. Each of the F-22’s AMRAAM bays could hold at least 6-8 of them (12-16 total full-size missiles).
2. Each of the F-35’s bays would hold 3-4 on each of the internal A2G stations (not counting the door station) for a total of 8-10 internal full-size missiles.
2. With a shorter booster, the F-22’s Sidewinder bays could hold 2 each
3. It would make a perfect VL SHORAD/MRAD solution for both naval and ground forces
4. Use the 5” AAM front ends as last ditch AAM defense for bombers, ISR, tanker, AWACS etc defense. They can be ejected like sonobuoys.
5. Hybrid missiles like a PAC-2 Patriot body and 3-5 AAAM front ends (the 5”section). The Pac-3 could hold 2-3 AAM 5” front ends.
6. Mate multiple AAAM front ends to cruise missiles like JSM, JASSM, etc to create our own ISR/tanker, AWACS killer missile.

5" diamter for the GD AAAM without the booster? That doesn't sound or look right to me. The images don't provide much to compare it to but I'm guessing it is 7" or 8". Still an impressively small size for such a long-range missile.
 

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Colonial-Marine said:
SpudmanWP said:
The GD AAAM project had SO many possibilities
1. Each of the F-22’s AMRAAM bays could hold at least 6-8 of them (12-16 total full-size missiles).
2. Each of the F-35’s bays would hold 3-4 on each of the internal A2G stations (not counting the door station) for a total of 8-10 internal full-size missiles.
2. With a shorter booster, the F-22’s Sidewinder bays could hold 2 each
3. It would make a perfect VL SHORAD/MRAD solution for both naval and ground forces
4. Use the 5” AAM front ends as last ditch AAM defense for bombers, ISR, tanker, AWACS etc defense. They can be ejected like sonobuoys.
5. Hybrid missiles like a PAC-2 Patriot body and 3-5 AAAM front ends (the 5”section). The Pac-3 could hold 2-3 AAM 5” front ends.
6. Mate multiple AAAM front ends to cruise missiles like JSM, JASSM, etc to create our own ISR/tanker, AWACS killer missile.

5" diamter for the GD AAAM without the booster? That doesn't sound or look right to me. The images don't provide much to compare it to but I'm guessing it is 7" or 8". Still an impressively small size for such a long-range missile.

5.5"

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1989/1989%20-%201128.html
 

TomS

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Yes, but is that for the booster or for the dart/second stage? The booster looks considerably wider, and adding the canister would make it wider still. Anyone seen a diameter for the complete round in canister?
 

F-14D

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TomS said:
Yes, but is that for the booster or for the dart/second stage? The booster looks considerably wider, and adding the canister would make it wider still. Anyone seen a diameter for the complete round in canister?

Your point about the canister/launch tube is particularly cogent. There's also the fact that the GD design was designed to launch powering out of the tube much like AIM-9, rather than ejected and then firing, like AIM-7 and AIM-120 (which actually can do both). This would be a problem with the design of F-22's internal bay. Might have worked in F-35, though

Not sure you could hold more in the F-22 than in the F-35, since the latter's bay is larger. It's been said by some that if the launcher module had been funded, F-35 could have carried at least 1/3 more AIM-120s than F-22. A moot point in any case.

'Course the Hughes design had some good features of its own.
 

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gtg947h

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F-14D said:
Your point about the canister/launch tube is particularly cogent. There's also the fact that the GD design was designed to launch powering out of the tube much like AIM-9, rather than ejected and then firing, like AIM-7 and AIM-120 (which actually can do both). This would be a problem with the design of F-22's internal bay. Might have worked in F-35, though

I suspect the launcher tube cluster would have been extended out of the bay before firing, similar to how I understand they were planning to do from the F-14 "tunnel" stations (or the F-22's side bays, for that matter).
 

F-14D

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gtg947h said:
F-14D said:
Your point about the canister/launch tube is particularly cogent. There's also the fact that the GD design was designed to launch powering out of the tube much like AIM-9, rather than ejected and then firing, like AIM-7 and AIM-120 (which actually can do both). This would be a problem with the design of F-22's internal bay. Might have worked in F-35, though

I suspect the launcher tube cluster would have been extended out of the bay before firing, similar to how I understand they were planning to do from the F-14 "tunnel" stations (or the F-22's side bays, for that matter).

On the F-14, the tube would only angle down slightly, if at all, at launch to insure separation from the fuselage. Given that the GD missile tubes would be mounted on the Phoenix/bombs pallet, this is a minor thing. The drawing I've reproduced from elsewhere illustrates this. However in the Raptor, this would be a major undertaking, given the nature of the bay and the launch mechanism. There'd probably have to be a substantial reworking to do that.

It's doubly moot since and AF said they wouldn't use AIM-152 on any of their aircraft and the missile was canceled.
 

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RadicalDisconnect

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I'm not sure if USAF really was opposed to the AIM-152 due to its long-ranged role. I think the USAF had its own AIM-120 replacement program in the Have Dash.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_Dash
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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sferrin said:
Looking for something else in my collection I stumbled across this. Don't recall where I found it.

Here's a better copy

Source: Air Power 2000, Michael J Gething
 

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Oli

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Hi guys, I don't come here much (mainly because A) I forget and B) I get overwhelmed at how much of the stuff I don't know), but, about 6 years ago I did some (Solidworks) CAD drawings with a view to having some missiles done on a 3D printer.
Two of the missiles I did were the Hughes-Raytheon and General Dynamics Westinghouse AAM-152s.
HR_zpsb6379a83.jpg


GDW_zps83c4bc26.jpg


CAD models here:
GDW
Hughes
You don't need Solidworks to look at them, just download a free app called eDrawings from here (minimal installation cost) and you can view the things as rotatable models.

Dunno if these help at all, but... if they do then you're welcome.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Well done Oli.

Now if you don't mind there are another 8,400 topics here at SecretProjects that could do with a 3D CAD drawing! ;)
 

Oli

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Thanks for that Abraham! ;)
(I actually DO want to get a lot of stuff like this done, but, among other things, a serious lack of motivation prevents it).
 

sferrin

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Hmmm. For some reason all I'm seeing are empty Solidworks assemblies. ???
 

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http://archive.aviationweek.com/issue/19880404/#!&pid=18
 

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flateric

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http://archive.aviationweek.com/issue/19880208/#!&pid=22
 

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flateric

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...
 

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flateric

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http://archive.aviationweek.com/issue/19870309/#!&pid=236

One of the most stupid staged photography I've ever seen.
 

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SpudmanWP

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GD's AAAM = opportunity lost.

Imagine how many you could pack in a F-22/35, VL replacement for SeaSparrow, Aim-9 replacement, self defense for Predator class drones, etc.
 

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There's not a huge amount on non-built aircraft, but there is an awful lot of info to let you put design work in the context of the requirements and functions they were supposed to meet. For example there are big sections on early Cold War CAP requirements and the complications of trying to meet fairly onerous targets about not letting a mirror-imaged bombing threat get within launch range. CAP on deck couldn't reach intercept distance in the time from first detection, airborne CAP didn't have the endurance, and the carriers couldn't cycle them fast enough to keep them airborne. That kind of thing. Aircraft highlight for me was the description of the Outer Air Battle and what the A-6Fs were supposed to be doing during it (extra AIM-152 shooters) which I'd not seen clearly defined before, including the minor detail that a CVBG would need to put other ops on hold for a day to prep for a regimental strength Backfire raid. Of course it helps that Friedman was working for SecNav on precisely that at the time.

As an aside, I picked up my ebook copy ridiculously cheap (couple of pounds) in a recent Amazon sale, along with several other Friedmans. So worth keeping an eye open.
 

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?
 

marauder2048

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.
 

SSgtC

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.
You and me both. I read that and immediately went, "WTF?" That just screamed bad idea to me. That and the other whole idea of SARH at the time just seemed dated. Which is odd when the rest of the system was supposed to be so damn advanced.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.

To be fair, the GD design's guidance was Ku and X band semi-active plus terminal IR homing. Phased-array radars like APG-77 would have illuminated for it using their main radar array, the Ku band radar pod was for retrofit to existing aircraft.
 

SSgtC

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.

To be fair, the GD design's guidance was Ku and X band semi-active plus terminal IR homing. Phased-array radars like APG-77 would have illuminated for it using their main radar array, the Ku band radar pod was for retrofit to existing aircraft.
That does make it easier to swallow. And I've read that there were multiple proposals to fit an AESA radar to the Tomcat, so they wouldn't have needed the pod for long. But I'm still struggling to see the Navy being happy with a missile that wasn't fire-and-forget. The only way I can see the Navy willingly accepting SARH for the AAAM design is if the Hughes missile ran into massive issues and/or the GD missile just so clearly outperformed it in every other aspect that they couldn't justify not awarding them the contract. Does that make sense or is that thinking way off from what the Navy was thinking?
 

isayyo2

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.
Does the ramjet section have to use liquid JP-10? The Meteor missile is a "ducted-rocket" with solid fuel, which I'm guessing is a bit more shelf stable; though the carrier environment could be totally different. My best case idea is: The Quick-Strike survives and to go along with it is an "AIM-54D" with the best bites from Hughes' design bolted on, i.e. seekers and data link. In theory with cooperative engagement capability the Hornet could sling a Phoenix or two and have it guided by an E-2 or Aegis ship?
 

SSgtC

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In theory with cooperative engagement capability the Hornet could sling a Phoenix or two and have it guided by an E-2 or Aegis ship?
No, the Hornet didn't even have the hardware to talk to the missile. It's FCS wouldn't even know there's a weapon on the pylon
 

marauder2048

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So, I've just read through this thread and I'm curious: had Dick Cheney not had a hate boner for Naval Aviation in general and the F-14 in particular, which variant of the AIM-152 do you think was likely to be chosen? My gut feeling is that, given the "peace dividend," and subsequent lower budgets, the Hughes/Raytheon design would have been selected as being less risky and probably cheaper. And the ram jet probably gave it a slightly bigger no escape zone than the GD/Westinghouse design. Thoughts?

I threw up a little bit in my mouth just thinking about podded, time-shared ku-band illuminators hanging off of fast-jets in the 90's.

Cheney may have been less queasy, but even if the dual-mode seeker on the liquid ramjet hadn't panned out
a descoped single-mode would have worked just fine. And the missile was more readily adaptable to more platforms.

The general concerns about JP-10 storability, corrosiveness, ramjet suitability etc were
subsequently shown to be non-issues.

To be fair, the GD design's guidance was Ku and X band semi-active plus terminal IR homing. Phased-array radars like APG-77 would have illuminated for it using their main radar array, the Ku band radar pod was for retrofit to existing aircraft.

Except the pod had forward and aft hemispheres to permit illumination while the aircraft was reversing or disengaging!

Unless the APG-77 was distributed or IFDL was supposed to be Ku-band how could it illuminate the target in a similar fashion?
Even the cheek AESAs wouldn't have worked.

So add the two hemisphere pod to:

a dual Ku/X-band receiver that was going to be using what sounds like some form of ICWI per LO's vague description
and
a dual-color IIR FPA on the same gimbal

Which is four different and in some cases widely separated wavelengths sharing the same dome material.

All of which need to fit in 5.5 inch diameter airframe propelled by a two-stage, restartable SRM with TVC.
And at a target weight of 400 lbs (no greater than 660 lbs).

Estimated FRP unit cost in the mid-90s: ludicrous
 
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marauder2048

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Does the ramjet section have to use liquid JP-10? The Meteor missile is a "ducted-rocket" with solid fuel, which I'm guessing is a bit more shelf stable; though the carrier environment could be totally different.

Winter's 2012 Air Armaments preso has range improvement options for A2G but it's useful to
bound performance: a ducted rocket would slot in between the solid rocket and the solid IRR.

srm-solid-irr-liquid-irr.png
 

apparition13

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That does make it easier to swallow. And I've read that there were multiple proposals to fit an AESA radar to the Tomcat, so they wouldn't have needed the pod for long. But I'm still struggling to see the Navy being happy with a missile that wasn't fire-and-forget. The only way I can see the Navy willingly accepting SARH for the AAAM design is if the Hughes missile ran into massive issues and/or the GD missile just so clearly outperformed it in every other aspect that they couldn't justify not awarding them the contract. Does that make sense or is that thinking way off from what the Navy was thinking?
Three GD/W could be carried at each Phoenix station, 18 total, -3 for the guidance pod, for 15 per F-14D. Presumably 18 for Supertomcat21/AST21/ASF14. It would also have been easier to pack more into weapon bays on the A-12 (secondary missileer role), F-23 NATF, and A/FX, since they were tube launched and had no wings taking up space and making fitting them in complicated*. Since they were tube launched, they were also protected from the environment, making storing and flying with them less likely to result in environmental damage.

Max for H/R was 8, 4 semi-conformal in the Sparrow wells and 2 on each wing root pylon, losing the sidewinders, which G/W F-14s retained. Since it could be carried semi-conformally on the F-14s it should be less draggy, so on a deck launched intercept it should provide more range and speed for an F-14 type, and on a CAP more time on station, but I have no idea how significant those numbers would be. Drag issues wouldn't have applied to stealth aircraft, of course.

For the G/W vs. the H/R, you'd be looking at double the G/W loadout for F-14s, and maybe more than that for internal carriage, since the H/R's wings were bigger than AMRAAM's.

My guess is that, on a per missile basis H/R might have been superior given true fire and forget, but with three times the missiles per station, the firepower advantage for the G/W leads me to prefer the G/W design.


* This was never proposed, but the G/W design was small enough in diameter to be able to be quad packed in a Mk41 cell. Add a booster to get them up to speed and you might be able to do away with SM2 and ESSM (or not, given the nose is quite a bit smaller), given the range it had. SARH would also be much easier to deal with from a ship. In addition, since they were packaged in a tube, a MIM version would also be attractive, since they would be protected from the environment even if they were rolling around on an armored vehicle in mud and dust.
 
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marauder2048

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Then I'm curious why one of the above articles states:

The Navy's F-14 will be able to carry seven GD AAAMs, as well as a radar pod that would be mounted on a weapons station.

The articles are also vague about the number of concurrent (presumably) interrupted continuous wave illuminations the
pod can perform which is unfortunate since that will be the limit on realizable firepower.

I'll SWAG it and say: four. That's what some of the contemporary ICWI systems were looking it for a single face.

The typical argument goes that since the semi-active missile isn't carrying the weight of the transmitter, the
missile is faster and therefore then engagement times are shorter so you can get away with not being
able to support true simultaneous terminal engagements.

IIRC, the AIM-54 engagement ranges were not constrained by the F-14's radar which means that
the number of active missiles the F-14 could have in handover was six.
 

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That does make it easier to swallow. And I've read that there were multiple proposals to fit an AESA radar to the Tomcat, so they wouldn't have needed the pod for long. But I'm still struggling to see the Navy being happy with a missile that wasn't fire-and-forget. The only way I can see the Navy willingly accepting SARH for the AAAM design is if the Hughes missile ran into massive issues and/or the GD missile just so clearly outperformed it in every other aspect that they couldn't justify not awarding them the contract. Does that make sense or is that thinking way off from what the Navy was thinking?
Three GD/W could be carried at each Phoenix station, 18 total, -3 for the guidance pod, for 15 per F-14D. Presumably 18 for Supertomcat21/AST21/ASF14. It would also have been easier to pack more into weapon bays on the A-12 (secondary missileer role), F-23 NATF, and A/FX, since they were tube launched and had no wings taking up space and making fitting them in complicated*. Since they were tube launched, they were also protected from the environment, making storing and flying with them less likely to result in environmental damage.

Max for H/R was 8, 4 semi-conformal in the Sparrow wells and 2 on each wing root pylon, losing the sidewinders, which G/W F-14s retained. Since it could be carried semi-conformally on the F-14s it should be less draggy, so on a deck launched intercept it should provide more range and speed for an F-14 type, and on a CAP more time on station, but I don't have no idea how significant those numbers would be. Drag issues wouldn't have applied to stealth aircraft, of course.

For the G/W vs. the H/R, you'd be looking at double the G/W loadout for F-14s, and maybe more than that for internal carriage, since the H/R's wings were bigger than AMRAAM's.

My guess is that, on a per missile basis H/R might have been superior given true fire and forget, but with three times the missiles per station, the firepower advantage for the G/W leads me to prefer the G/W design.


* This was never proposed, but the G/W design was small enough in diameter to be able to be quad packed in a Mk41 cell. Add a booster to get them up to speed and you might be able to do away with SM2 and ESSM (or not, given the nose is quite a bit smaller), given the range it had. SARH would also be much easier to deal with from a ship. In addition, since they were packaged in a tube, a MIM version would also be attractive, since they would be protected from the environment even if they were rolling around on an armored vehicle in mud and dust.
Out of curiosity, where are you getting 18 of the GD missiles per Tomcat from? Because that seems really high. I'd also think that, being tube launched, that would be a mark against them for use in an internal weapons bay. Particularly given post Cold War budgets and the need to reduce costs as much as possible. Developing a launch system for internal carriage just adds more expense to an already expensive program.

Also, but from what I read, the Navy preferred the YF-22 over the -23, believing it more readily lent itself to naval use. So the tube launched is kind of a moot point, since neither missile would fit in the F-22's weapon bay.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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First page of 3-page 1989 Flight International Article:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1989/1989 - 1128.html

The Hughes Phoenix long-range, air-to-air fleet-defence missile system is the most complex and capable in service. Hughes has teamed up with Raytheon to bid for its successor. These companies are pre-eminent in the air-toair missile business, but a "dark horse" team of General Dynamics and Westinghouse could give them a good run for their money, with an innovative design which owes much to GD's surface-to-air experience. Doug Richardson reports.

In the mid to late 1990s, the Soviet Air Force is likely to deploy stealthy strike aircraft and bombers equipped with long-range air-to-surface weapons, including cruise missiles. Defence against such advanced threats will be difficult, but the US Navy already has a weapon on the drawing board for use in what it terms the "Outer Air
Battle". This is a missile with about twice the range of the AIM-54 Phoenix, better high altitude capability, and dual-mode radar/ electro-optical (EO) guidance. If the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) could be defined as an attempt to pack Phoenix performance into a missile of Sparrow size, the Advanced Air to Air Missile (AAAM or "A cubed M") can be considered as a plan to cram Phoenix-plus performance into a missile even lighter than Sparrow. That reduction in size and weight is important, because it will allow US Navy F-14 Tomcats to land on a carrier while carrying eight long-range missiles, rather than the Phoenix.

In October 1988 the US Navy's Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded contracts to two industrial teams for a four year technology-validation phase of the AAAM. One team was a combination of Hughes and Raytheon, two rival companies which have come to dominate the US market for medium/long-range air-to-air missiles. The other links General Dynamics with Westinghouse.

Under a programme known as the Advanced Missile System (AMS), GD has studied technology for long range air-to-air missiles for more than a decade. The first practical results to emerge, in the late 1970s, were a new five-cavity klystron microwave tube, the construction of a demonstration integrated-guidance section and integrated missile receiver, and the testing of an experimental Interrupted Continuous Wave (ICW) transmitter. The latter was strictly lab-test hardware - it filled a two-bay electronics rack - but provided the experience needed to propose ICW technology for the AAAM semi-active radar seeker. Using ICW technology, the launch aircraft can "time manage" its radar, switching the beam from one target to another in rapid succession so that this single illuminator can handle a multiple engagement.

By the end of the decade a full-scale airframe had been built. Looking rather like a stretched Standard surface-to-air missile (SAM), this featured long-chord cruciform wings and narrow-chord cruciform tail fins, plus a short tandem-rocket booster. The missile is 12ft long (3.65m), 5.5in (140mm) in diameter, and weighs 386lb (175kg). A first-generation seeker gimbal and a second-generation control section were tested in the early 1980s, while 1983 saw trials on a ground test stand of a heavy-walled prototype of the proposed rocket motor and thrust-vector control (TVC) system. Other tests checked the performance of the proposed warhead against what were described as "RA-5-size targets". A second series of windtunnel tests on the missile airframe began in 1983. The EO guidance mode was tested in 1984/5 during a series of flyover tests carried out by day and night.

The GD/Westinghouse missile has folding wing and tail surfaces, and is delivered from the depot packed in a circular storage/launch tube. The team has released
artwork showing how 12 of these tubes could be carried in two lateral rows of six under the fuselage of an F-14D.

Tomcat will also need to carry a multifunction airborne track illuminator (ATI) pod, either on one of its fuselage stations or an underwing pylon. This unit is 11ft 10in
(3.6m) long, 16in (406mm) in diameter, and weighs 750lb (341kg). It is self-powered by a ram-air turbine whose vanes are located about a quarter of the way from the forward
end. On the US Navy's next-generation fighter, currently expected to be a derivative of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter, the functions of the ATI will be handled by the aircraft's Westinghouse-developed radar.

Finding and tracking

Targets would be detected initially either by the F-14D's APG-71 radar or by its infrared search and track system (IRST), then handed over to the ATI pod. This uses its frontfacing antenna to track the targets and compute the engagement envelope for each one. It also has a limited degree of search capability. The aircrew selects the target to be
engaged, then fires the missile. The round will leave the launch tube under the power of its tandem-mounted rocket booster. At burnoutthis will be jettisoned, and the main
solid-propellant rocket motor (sustainer) ignited to power the round for the first stage of its flight out to the target. After launch, the crew is free to manoeuvre its aircraft to
reduce the closure rate. There is no need to keep the aircraft pointed towards the target - a drawback to conventional semi-active radar-homing-missile attacks. The ATI pod
even has a second rearward-facing antenna.

Like the Hughes AIM-120 AMRAAM, AAAM will fly an optimised trajectory under the control of an inertial midcourse guidance system. Uplink facilities are provided, so that
the parent aircraft can transmit targeting updates should these be needed. In the later stages of flight, the missile activates its terminal guidance seeker. Still later, the radome is jettisoned, allowing the missile's infrared seeker to begin operation.

Home-on-jam attacks are also possible. While the sustainer is burning, its jet-tab thrust vectoring control (TVC) system will supplement the missile's aerodynamic control
surfaces. This will probably be of greatest importance when engaging targets flying at high altitude. In such cases, the sustainer is re-ignited for a second burn. This extra power, plus the use of TVC, is expected to allow the missile to have the same manoeuvrability at 100,000ft (30,500m) as today's Sparrow has at 20,000ft (6,000m). "

The rival Hughes/Raytheon team has proposed a more radical design which combines active radar and EO guidance for full "fire-and-forget" capability, and is powered by an integral rocket /ramjet rather than a solid-propellant rocket. This missile would be mounted on an aircraft in the normal manner, and a Hughes/Raytheon drawing shows eight on an F-14D - two under each wing, one on either side of the lower fuselage just below the inlets, and two in tandem on the centreline.

Although this team has released less written information of its proposed weapon, it has issued a detailed drawing of the missile's internal arrangement, including the integral rocket/ramjet propulsion system. On the Hughes/Raytheon AAAM design, the inlet is mounted beneath the fuselage and just ahead of the low-set wings. Directly above is a large tank which houses the liquid fuel which is injected into the ramjet combustion chamber. Air-breathing powerplants are more complex than solid rockets, but are more efficient as a result of using air rather than an oxygen-bearing compound in the propellant charge, to support combustion.

Tit for tat

One published report has suggested that, although the Hughes/Raytheon missile will have a lower acceleration than that of the rival GD / Westinghouse design, the airbreathing
missile will be faster at ranges beyond about two-thirds of maximum. The GD/Westinghouse team claims that its rocket sustainer "expands the high-altitude envelope, where air-breathing missiles cannot operate". Given that the ramjet powered Talos SAM used by the US Navy in the 1960s and early 1970s was credited with a ceiling of more than 85,000ft (26,000m), the question remains of just how high a ceiling this team has in mind.

Another surprise in the Hughes/Raytheon design is the use of a single pair of wings, rather than the cruciform configuration which is a feature of most other present-day designs. Like a manned aircraft, the missile will have to bank as it turns, a technique known in the missile industry as "twist and steer". First used in the early 1940s on the world's first air-to-air guided missiles—the Henschel Hs 298 and the Ruhrstahl X-4 - the technique saw little post-war service other than on a few early air-to-air missiles built in the 1950s, such as the Sispre C-7 and Matra's R510 and 511, and on the Bristol/Ferranti Bloodhound SAM. The feature which has made "twist and steer" attractive for AAAM is its efficiency. Less energy is wasted by banked turns than by the skidding turns which result from the use of conventional cruciform surfaces.

The guidance system is based around a reprogrammable computer. An imaging seeker (probably an IR device) is mounted at the tip of a radome covering the antenna of the active-radar seeker. A short section of the fuselage just forward of the fuel tank is occupied by the warhead. This is teamed with adaptive fuzing to ensure optimum triggering distance against targets of all types.

Under present plans, full-scale development of the winning design should begin in 1992. This is expected to run for four years, ending in 1996. The US Navy intends to buy 4,000 rounds to arm the F-14D, F/A-18, and the new A-12 Advanced Tactical Aircraft. The USAF has its own plan to develop a new air-to-air missile, an improved version of the AIM-120A AMRAAM, and currently claims to have no requirement for a missile in the class of AAAM. Congress is sceptical, however, and would like to see AAAM made a joint USAF/USN programme.
 

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SSgtC

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Drawings by GD Pomona show 12 underfuselage (2 rows of 6) and 3 per wing glove pylon, that's total 18 but one wing pylon is occupied by the ATI pod, so 15 is the practical limit.
Thank you. I was honestly curious where that number came from as it seemed almost unbelievably high. Do you think the Tomcat would actually have carried that many though? Because I've seen a lot of marketing proposals where in the initial pitch, the manufacturer will promise all sorts of things, only to drop back to more reasonable numbers the closer to reality the system gets.
 

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6 Phoenix + the special launch rails are around 8000 pounds. 18 GD-W at 380 (that's what designation systems puts it at, with the H-R at 660) is 6840. Weight wise there isn't an issue. I presume 15 + the pod would be about the same.

Phoenix takes up at least 24 inches of width in the "tunnel" between the engines, so as long as the tube is around 8 inches in diameter you could fit 6 across.

Aerodynamic effects - no clue.
 

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Also, but from what I read, the Navy preferred the YF-22 over the -23, believing it more readily lent itself to naval use. So the tube launched is kind of a moot point, since neither missile would fit in the F-22's weapon bay.

The GD AAAM wouldn't have needed to be in a tube if it was in an internal weapons bay.
 

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Do you think the Tomcat would actually have carried that many though?
According to Friedman (and in this case he was part of the team working on it, not simply the author recording it later), for the Outer Air Battle against a Soviet regimental strength attack they were talking about hanging missiles on anything that would fly, so even the A-6s would be working as missile shooters. So there's definitely a case for assuming they would have flown more if they had the hardpoints available to take them.
 

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Do you think the Tomcat would actually have carried that many though?
According to Friedman (and in this case he was part of the team working on it, not simply the author recording it later), for the Outer Air Battle against a Soviet regimental strength attack they were talking about hanging missiles on anything that would fly, so even the A-6s would be working as missile shooters. So there's definitely a case for assuming they would have flown more if they had the hardpoints available to take them.
I don't doubt that they planned to hang them on anything that flew in that scenario. What I mean is, how realistic was the GD/W proposal to hang 15 of them on a single Tomcat? That just strikes me as kind of "pie in the sky/if you also develop this seperate launch rail," type thinking. In other words, how serious was the proposal to hang 15 missiles on a single plane? Was it a, "you can 100%, no doubt do this?" Or was it a, "we think you can fit this many?"
 

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Do you think the Tomcat would actually have carried that many though?
According to Friedman (and in this case he was part of the team working on it, not simply the author recording it later), for the Outer Air Battle against a Soviet regimental strength attack they were talking about hanging missiles on anything that would fly, so even the A-6s would be working as missile shooters. So there's definitely a case for assuming they would have flown more if they had the hardpoints available to take them.

Wow. Seems like somebody at the highest ranks of USN, was thoroughly traumatized by Tom Clancy all time masterpiece - Red Storm rising, Dance of vampires. o_O o_O o_O
 

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