AIM-174 Very Long Range AAM (SM-6)

bring_it_on

I really should change my personal text
Joined
4 July 2013
Messages
3,165
Reaction score
2,364

Attachments

  • AW&ST_ALM.jpg
    AW&ST_ALM.jpg
    187.2 KB · Views: 148
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
ABM?
 
Does longer and longer ranges point to space based targeting radar capabilities?
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?

One can probably ballpark this. Can the AGM-78 serve as a proxy? Not sure but we also don't know the intended purpose of this test flight or this missile. Depending on the mission they may look to reduce the warhead, or add other capabilities though it would be difficult to keep the weight at or below the AIM-54 levels. I don't subscribe to AWIN but I wonder how they got a hold of this and why now (the image was taken in 2018).
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
About 2,600lb's...its a big boy...
 
thing is slightly less than 5 meters in lenght
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
About 2,600lb's...its a big boy...
Not even close. Without the booster it's almost certainly in the ballpark of a typical RIM-66: 1370 - 1450-ish pounds.
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.

This won't be under LREW specifically, if it is related at all. LREW was completed and its results transferred to the Air Force in FY17. This *very likely* fed into AIM-260, which was reportedly contracted the same year.

I don't think there is anything to connect this to the F-15EX. A boosterless Standard is only slightly longer and actually lighter than a GBU-10. Conversations around oversized weapons carriage on the EX have focused on the AGM-183.
 
LREW was Raytheon and a study as far as I recall. What exactly was "transferred over to the Air Force"? A report? Hardware? A production plan? Since we don't know what the deliverables were exactly, my reasoning was that perhaps these could be related (or not). It would certainly seem logical, that if the follow on to that effort did away with IWB compliance, then something like this could work. But that's just guesswork and speculation on my end so I could be totally wrong. On the F-15EX, having watched the rollout, Lt. General Loh made it a point to mention "outsized" weapons for the current missions (F-15C/defense of the homeland), and for future stand-off roles (like SO strike). I certainly implied the latter to be concerned with some sort of hypersonic/Long-range strike weapon carriage which has been brought up in the past. But he did seem to draw a distinction between current roles and possible future roles for the F-15C replacement.
 
thing is slightly less than 5 meters in lenght

Which would be just about pushing the upper limits of the length the Navy weapon elevators could handle. Would make a decent interim capability while the Navy figures out how to trim the HAWC design by 20% (length).
 
My pacific concept of air operations.

F-35s and 22s in close in full stealth mode passing target information to F-15EXs and Super Hornets loaded to the max with the longest range AIM-120s, AIM-260s, etc.

Lobbing hundreds of air to air missiles at the “invasion Taiwan” Chinese air armada. And then sitting stealthily loitering on the flanks a few B-21 Arsenal Ships firing a second salvo at any survivors.
 
Didn’t the Air Force also award Raytheon some funding to study a long range AL missile (LREW?). I wonder if these efforts are related. Interestingly the ANG boss did mention “oversized weapons carriage” for existing (homeland defense) missions during the F-15 EX unveiling a few weeks ago.
LREW is intended for internal carriage if we to believe only known rendering of it (not talking that it looks totally different) - just to start with.
 
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
About 2,600lb's...its a big boy...

I'm not buying that number, at all.

The SM6 all-up weight is around 3,300 pounds (official USN number). Of that, the Mk 72 is around 1,500 pounds (see attached brochure), leaving 1,800 pounds for the main stage. That's just about plausible; the maximum weight of an SM2 MR Block IIIB is usually quoted around 1725 pounds [Correction: 1558 pounds]. I can't see any way to get to 2600 pounds without a radical stretch that clearly has not happened here.
 

Attachments

  • MK 72 Booster brochure.jpg
    MK 72 Booster brochure.jpg
    265.5 KB · Views: 212
Last edited:
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
About 2,600lb's...its a big boy...

I'm not buying that number, at all.

The SM6 all-up weight is around 3,300 pounds (official USN number). Of that, the Mk 72 is around 1,500 pounds (see attached brochure), leaving 1,800 pounds for the main stage. That's just about plausible; the maximum weight of an SM2 MR Block IIIB is usually quoted around 1725 pounds. I can't see any way to get to 2600 pounds without a radical stretch that clearly has not happened here.
Where do you get 1725? It's usually around 1370.
 
How heavy is SM-6 without booster though?
could air launched version reach hypersonic?
About 2,600lb's...its a big boy...

I'm not buying that number, at all.

The SM6 all-up weight is around 3,300 pounds (official USN number). Of that, the Mk 72 is around 1,500 pounds (see attached brochure), leaving 1,800 pounds for the main stage. That's just about plausible; the maximum weight of an SM2 MR Block IIIB is usually quoted around 1725 pounds. I can't see any way to get to 2600 pounds without a radical stretch that clearly has not happened here.
That booster is as heavy as the missile? I'm suprised
 
That booster is as heavy as the missile? I'm suprised

As a rough approximation, the Mk 72 booster (21-inch diameter, 68 inches long) has only slightly less volume than the Standard Missile upper stage (13.5-inch diameter, 186 inches long). Not surprising that they are similar in mass.
 
That booster is as heavy as the missile? I'm suprised
Primarily a result of corner cutting, I believe.

The Mk 72 weighs 712 kg, of which 468 kg is propellant. In fact, the fuel weight of the booster is almost as much as the entire Mk 104 motor, which weighs 488 kg carrying 360 kg of fuel.
 
After some research, I think I figure out roughly the speed and range of air launched SM-6
RIM-66A (SM-1MR block I) with MK-27 dual thrust rocket motor has a top speed of Mach 1.8 and max range of 32 km
RIM-66B (SM-1MR Block V) with MK-56 dual thrust rocket motor has a top speed is Mach 3.5 and max range of 46 km
RIM-66C (SM-2MR Block I) with the same MK-56 rocket motor but with new INS guidance logic increased its range to 74 km but keep same top speed.
RIM-66G (SM-2MR Block II) with the new Thiokol MK-104 rocket motor has a top speed of Mach 3.5 and max range of 166 km.
RIM-156A (SM-2ER Block IV) still use the same MK-104 rocket motor but with the additional MK-72 booster, range got extended to 370 km
RIM-174 (SM-6) same MK-104 rocket motor and MK-72 booster as RIM-156A but use an active radar seeker instead

AGM-78 which is an air launched derivative of RIM-66A (SM-1MR block I) with the same airframe and the same MK-27 MoD 4 dual thrust rocket motor. The only thing changed is the AGM-45A-3Aa seeker. That missile has a top speed of Mach 2.5 and max range of 90 km. In short, compared to ground launched version, the air launched version of standard missile can increase top speed by 1.38 times and max range by 2.8 times.
Air launched SM-6 doesn't have the MK-72 booster but it still got the MK-104 motor section, so the kinematic when launched from ground will be similar to RIM-66G (SM-2MR block II), when launched from air, we can expect it to reach top speed of Mach 4.83 and max range of 465 km.
 
@Ronny
Impressive calculations! Sounds like the Block IIIC/SM-6 derivative would make an excellent interim supersonic asm
 
Something bugging me, can the terminal radar seeker of SM-6 acquire a ship in anti surface mode?. Or will it fly purely based on datalink in that case?
The current model rely on S band datalink only?
 
F/A-18 spotted carrying a SM-6 for the 2nd time earlier today.
GPLQqdJasAcpe6U.jpeg
GPLQqdJakAEvTuQ.jpeg
GPLQqdJasAE_N_3.jpeg
GPLQqdKaMAAM8pm.jpeg
View: https://x.com/StinkJet/status/1797728633639108651
Posted by this user, just uploaded so if their tweet is deleted we still have these :)

First spotting was back in April: (already posted here but linked again for convenience)
 
Was their two classified AAM projects? AIM-260 and something else?

How would we know if there were?

AIM-260 is at least out in the open enough we know about it.

I would be surprised if there was not some kind of very long range missile program for the USAF. It appears SM-6 might fill that role for the USN.
 
How would we know if there were?

AIM-260 is at least out in the open enough we know about it.

I would be surprised if there was not some kind of very long range missile program for the USAF. It appears SM-6 might fill that role for the USN.

We do know that there is (or was) a separate Air Force program for a Long-Range Engagement Weapon, a long-range SAM that seems to be big enough to require external carriage on existing aircraft with internal weapon bays (F-22 and F-35) or the F-15. LREW was a Raytheon contract, so it's not impossible that it could be as mundane as an air-launched Active Standard, but the impression is that it's probably a new design.
 
We do know that there is (or was) a separate Air Force program for a Long-Range Engagement Weapon, a long-range SAM that seems to be big enough to require external carriage on existing aircraft with internal weapon bays (F-22 and F-35) or the F-15. LREW was a Raytheon contract, so it's not impossible that it could be as mundane as an air-launched Active Standard, but the impression is that it's probably a new design.
Yes, that's what I was thinking of:

Air-to-Air Missiles
AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (JATM)
. This radar-guided dogfight missile will be about the same size as the 30-year-old AIM-120 AMRAAM, but with considerably longer range. Built by Lockheed Martin it was first revealed in 2019. Little has been revealed since, but USAF has acknowledged that live tests were conducted in 2020 and 2021. The JATM’s enhanced range is greater than China’s PL-15—in many ways, an AMRAAM clone, restoring the “first shot, first kill” advantage to U.S. aircraft. The Navy and Army are said to be collaborating with USAF on JATM.
Long-Range Engagement Weapon (LREW). Another potential AMRAAM successor or JATM complement. Built by Raytheon, the LREW is reportedly a larger missile that can only be carried externally on fighters, and may be intended to shoot down adversary airborne warning systems, tankers, or bombers at great distances.
 
I had thought LREW was more of an experiment/study and that funding was closed out? But in any case I think it extremely likely that there is some kind of program for a very long range missile optimized for multi engined targets.
 
Last edited:
I had thought LREWxwas more of an experiment/study and that funding was closed out? But in any case I think it extremely likely that is some kind of program for a very long range missile optimized for multi engined targets.
Could be a game changer against any high value airborne assets (multi engine AEW&C, tankers, etc). I would assume it could reach pretty far if launched from the air :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Could be a game changer against any high value airborne assets (multi engine AEW&C, tankers, etc). I would assume it could reach pretty far if launched from the air :)
It could also be a game changer against high value surface targets now that SM-6 does anti-surface warfare too. Possibly even as a hypersonic missile interceptor or a SEAD weapon. It seems to be an everything missile, or a JGTHA (Joint Go The Hell Away) missile.
 

Similar threads

Please donate to support the forum.

Back
Top Bottom