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AIM-260

SpudmanWP

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I suppose it might be able to hit a tanker or AWACS. A prox fuse with a 1000lb warhead would make a mess :rolleyes:
 

Forest Green

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I don't think the number means anything. Has it ever for AIMs? AIM-7, AIM-9, AIM-120, AIM-132, AIM-154.... I don't see anything correlation.
See here:


They don't just get their numbers from a Ouija board. (Though who knows today. . .)
I see, so the numbers sort of count up across a number of weapon types. I think I missed everything between about 180 and 260 though.

They don't, "sort of count up", they're part of the official designation system. It's a coin flip whether they follow it anymore. The F-35 should have been F-24 (though it could be argued the Super Hornet should have been "F-24" with the F-35 being "F-25"). The "B-21" should be B-3. Interestingly enough the AGM-183A seems to follow it. The AIM-260 does not.
Maybe all the missing missiles and planes are hidden in a hanger somewhere.
 

marauder2048

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Surely the TVC/DACT is only useful for close range.
Probably depends on the missile. If they were trying to unify to one missile there's no reason that capability couldn't be on an AIM-120 sized missile.
TVC/DACT is potentially less draggy than using conventional control surfaces during certain phases e.g. boost.
Yes but a medium range missile spends a lot of time post boost where TVC will only add weight.
 

SpudmanWP

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The need & use of TVC depends on the physical layout.

In the AAAM (AIM-152) example, the booster had TVC mainly because it had no tailfins. It's 2nd stage also had TVC. TVS does not add that much weight as it's controlled by the same actuators as the tailfins.
 

sferrin

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The need & use of TVC depends on the physical layout.

In the AAAM (AIM-152) example, the booster had TVC mainly because it had no tailfins. It's 2nd stage also had TVC. TVS does not add that much weight as it's controlled by the same actuators as the tailfins.
 

AeroFranz

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I'm a bit surprised they are apparently not going to air-breathing propulsion. AIM-120 has been in service almost 30 years (so far), so is solid rocket propulsion going to be enough for the next thirty, when I can only assume a JATM replacement will be considered? Now, if you tell me that in fifteen years they're going to have another competition, i would say this is a good evolutionary move, but the interval between these things is starting to be measured in glacial eras...
 

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
 

marauder2048

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
VFDRs, by virtue of the gas generator carrying its own oxidizer, are better than a conventional ramjet above 50k.

The jet-vane type of TVC used on AIM-9X does result in thrust losses which you don't get with the movable nozzle
type on AIM-152.

If it's a multi-pulse missile, then it's probably worth retaining the TVC element through the first boost-coast phase
until it's time to boost again. And for a short range target, you can ignite all the of the pulses at once which gives it
an advantage over a VFDR.

We're focusing on the range aspect but I suspect the seeker stack is what's really interesting.
 

sferrin

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
 

marauder2048

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.
 

sferrin

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
 

marauder2048

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
 

sferrin

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
Why would you need a higher angle of attack for less energetic fuel? Thrust could be the same (just not for as long).
 

marauder2048

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
Why would you need a higher angle of attack for less energetic fuel? Thrust could be the same (just not for as long).
The higher angle-of-attack is required as the altitude increases; to offset the induced drag you need more thrust
which is coming from more fuel or a more energetic fuel.
 

sferrin

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
Why would you need a higher angle of attack for less energetic fuel? Thrust could be the same (just not for as long).
The higher angle-of-attack is required as the altitude increases; to offset the induced drag you need more thrust
which is coming from more fuel or a more energetic fuel.

This seems to be going 'round in circles. What, specifically, makes a solid fuel ramjet anymore altitude limited than a liquid fuel ramjet?
 

marauder2048

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
Why would you need a higher angle of attack for less energetic fuel? Thrust could be the same (just not for as long).
The higher angle-of-attack is required as the altitude increases; to offset the induced drag you need more thrust
which is coming from more fuel or a more energetic fuel.

This seems to be going 'round in circles. What, specifically, makes a solid fuel ramjet anymore altitude limited than a liquid fuel ramjet?
Fundamentally, solid-fuel ramjets can't achieve the optimal fuel-to-air ratios that liquids can because the fuel flow rates
in solids are (crudely) a function of air flow rates and air stagnation temperature both of which drop off with altitude.

And the sort of metal fuel additives you typically add to solids to increase their combustion efficiency don't want to burn
at high altitudes either.
 

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How well do ramjets do at higher altitudes, ie > 50k?

Is there a way of making it's fixed inlets perform at all altitudes?
Many have operated at well above 50k. Bomarc, Talos, Typhon, X-7, ASALM, and D-21 all flew at high altitude. ASALM apparently did well at multiple altitudes. Was designed to cruise at 80,000 feet at Mach 4 but hit Mach 5.4 at 40,000 ft.
Might also be a function of those ramjets being liquid fueled; the solid fuels are much less energetic which limits altitude.

Would it limit altitude or ISP? One would think that if both missiles were flying at the same speed, producing the same amount of thrust, that they'd have the same altitude capability. (Even if you had to burn more solid to get there.)
I think it's the range argument; you need to offset the higher induced drag (due to a higher required angle of attack) with either more fuel
or a more energetic fuel.
Why would you need a higher angle of attack for less energetic fuel? Thrust could be the same (just not for as long).
The higher angle-of-attack is required as the altitude increases; to offset the induced drag you need more thrust
which is coming from more fuel or a more energetic fuel.

This seems to be going 'round in circles. What, specifically, makes a solid fuel ramjet anymore altitude limited than a liquid fuel ramjet?
Fundamentally, solid-fuel ramjets can't achieve the optimal fuel-to-air ratios that liquids can because the fuel flow rates
in solids are (crudely) a function of air flow rates and air stagnation temperature both of which drop off with altitude.

And the sort of metal fuel additives you typically add to solids to increase their combustion efficiency don't want to burn
at high altitudes either.
VFDRs have a gas generator that can adjust the flow of the incompletely combusted gas into the intakes.


The Meteor includes an electronics and propulsion control unit (EPCU). The EPCU adjusts the rocket’s air intake and duct covers based on the cruise speed and the target’s altitude.
The EPCU observes the distance and fuel level in the rocket and adjusts the throttle of the rocket. This feature of the EPCU helps the missile to manage its fuel system.

It also claims, in supporting the choice of a solid ramjet, that there have been concerns over the combustion stability of small-diameter liquid ramjets at high-altitude flight profiles, suggesting that the BAe Sea Dart missile's Rolls- Royce Odin ramjet suffers from such a problem. Another concern it raises is with the choice of JP10 for the FMRAAM sustainer, suggesting that the corrosive properties of this fuel cause doubts about suitability for long-term storage.
 

marauder2048

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Also I should make it clear that I'm comparing solid fuel ramjets relative to liquid fuel ramjets (rows 1 and 2).
rather than liquid or solid ducted rockets.

In variable flow ducted rockets, you have far better control of fuel flow rates and can typically use whatever
additives you want in the solid fuel like boron since the gas generator
heats it up before it's combusted. That's much harder to do in a SFRJ.
 

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sferrin

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Also I should make it clear that I'm comparing solid fuel ramjets relative to liquid fuel ramjets (rows 1 and 2).
rather than liquid or solid ducted rockets.

In variable flow ducted rockets, you have far better control of fuel flow rates and can typically use whatever
additives you want in the solid fuel like boron since the gas generator
heats it up before it's combusted. That's much harder to do in a SRFJ.
Very useful picture. Always wondered what the difference between solid-fuel ramjet and a ducted rocket was.
 

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Hmm... If I had to lay down a wager as to how the AIM-260 will work, I'd say dual pulse solid motor, as that's something that's already well understood by most of the defense contractors in the US, who have either tinkered with them in house or have bought out a company that has done so. Boost pulse kicks it up high and fast, definitely north of Mach 3 and 50,000 feet, probably into the low hypersonic range, and glides along towards the engagement area above 85,000 feet on inertial guidance. Second pulse is either a slow-burning sustainer mode or a separate charge for terminal attack, but put money on the former. Use a datalink to update midflight, ranging from corrections for the inertial cruise guidance to put it into a position to track the enemy itself, to retasking the missile to a new, more threatening target, to possibly even commanding the missile to dump itself into the surface at high speed if the engagement needs to be called off. I'd also put money on a dual-mode seeker head, both active radar and IR, as that's the best way to counter both 4th and 5th gen fighters. Probably both working in tandem to maximize the chances for successful engagement.
As for guidance, possibly jet vane TVC if it's using a terminal boost pulse to improve the turning performance and increase the chance of a hit. If it's a boost-sustain motor, then... I dunno. Possibly a solid-fuel RCS like the Orion LES tower uses?
 

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As far as I know boost-sustain rocket motors have been fairly typical in air-to-air missiles since the later model AIM-7 Sparrows but aren't really considered dual-pulse in the sense these newer missiles apparently will be.

I admit that after everything I've read about Meteor I am very surprised they aren't going with a VFDR design like that. I think more important than the increase in absolute range is the much greater no-escape zone.
 

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With the onset of 5th gen aircraft, ultra long range is not only not required, but counter-productive.

The range at which a 5th gen fighter will detect another 5th gen fighter is relatively short compared to the detection of a 4th gen fighter. Time to target, seeker performance, and the ECCM capabilities are more important than having a longer range than today's AAMs (ie AIM-120D).

On top of that, VFDR missiles are more complex & expensive and cannot be packed in as tight as traditional AAMs in the internal bays of 5th gen fighters.
 

sferrin

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A 2-stage CUDA would allow you to fill both needs. 2-stage for long range, single-stage for packing them in. One missile for both missions for cost effectiveness. (I'd want them to use a finless booster 8"-10" dia. if they could fit them in without taking more than a single AIM-120 equivalent spot.)
 

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With the onset of 5th gen aircraft, ultra long range is not only not required, but counter-productive.

The range at which a 5th gen fighter will detect another 5th gen fighter is relatively short compared to the detection of a 4th gen fighter. Time to target, seeker performance, and the ECCM capabilities are more important than having a longer range than today's AAMs (ie AIM-120D).

On top of that, VFDR missiles are more complex & expensive and cannot be packed in as tight as traditional AAMs in the internal bays of 5th gen fighters.
We don't really know what 5th gen detection technologies will provide in terms of detection ranges, especially the AEW kind. There is also the case that it will be a long time before all fighters are 5th gen, so 5th gen fighters up front could be used to target enemy 5th gen and 4th gen at the rear with VFDR missiles could then launch on them, without being in their range, giving greater missile strike power. Enemy AEWs could also be targeted with these VFDR missiles and there is the potential for a dual-role AAM/ARM VFDR-based missile.

The expense is questionable. Right now Meteor is a completely newly developed missile being sold to foreign customers at profit for a little over $2m/unit plus some ancillaries. AIM-120D, which is merely an update using an existing air frame and propulsion is selling at $1.8m bare bones to the US DoD. The difference isn't that large.

What I don't like about CUDA is that if it misses it misses. It has no warhead and therefore no proximity kill capability. When the missile still has an abundance of energy against a-manned jet that's not a problem, but near the limits of range, or against a super-manoeuvrable drone, it could lead to misses. Equally, I don't see that missile quantity is a major issue even where there is numerical parity. Most aircraft can carry 6 full-sized AAMs. If half of them hit, you're golden, if one third hit, you're golden. The key will be achieving launch parameters before the enemy and allowing 4th gen jets to target via 5th gen jets from greater ranges achieves those parameters with more missiles.
 

SpudmanWP

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AEW is not likely going to get you a weapon's quality lock on a 5th gen jet and neither will radar or IRST at ranges where a VFDR missile gives you an advantage over the current AIM-120D let alone what the AIM-260 ends up being. IMHO, The only place a VFDR missile has in future 5th gen warfare is as a long range AAM from guys further back, assuming that your spotters live long enough to give them updates.

As far as CUDA-type HtK AAMs go, since they do it for TBMs they should not have a problem for AAMs. The lack of engame motor thrust is more than offset by the Attitude Control Motors that supplement the fin-based maneuverability. The PAC-3 HtK missile also contains a "Lethality Enhancer" and the CUDA or other HtK AAM should be the same. Think point blank shotgun vs single penetrating bullet.


Your AAM prices are also off. The difference between the two is actually $850k+ and not the $200k you state. That gap grows to over twice the price in only two years.
The latest Brazil Meteor contract put it at $2.27 mil each.
The latest DoD budget puts the AIM-120D at $1.4 mil each (Weapons System Cost, not "bare bones").

However, the key thing to remember is that the Meteor keeps getting more expensive and the AMRAAM less. The projection for next year's batch is only $1.13 mil and $1.06 the year after.

2019-06-27 07_57_42-Book1 - Excel.png

 

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AEW is not likely going to get you a weapon's quality lock on a 5th gen jet and neither will radar or IRST at ranges where a VFDR missile gives you an advantage over the current AIM-120D let alone what the AIM-260 ends up being. IMHO, The only place a VFDR missile has in future 5th gen warfare is as a long range AAM from guys further back, assuming that your spotters live long enough to give them updates.

As far as CUDA-type HtK AAMs go, since they do it for TBMs they should not have a problem for AAMs. The lack of engame motor thrust is more than offset by the Attitude Control Motors that supplement the fin-based maneuverability. The PAC-3 HtK missile also contains a "Lethality Enhancer" and the CUDA or other HtK AAM should be the same. Think point blank shotgun vs single penetrating bullet.


Your AAM prices are also off. The difference between the two is actually $850k+ and not the $200k you state. That gap grows to over twice the price in only two years.
The latest Brazil Meteor contract put it at $2.27 mil each.
The latest DoD budget puts the AIM-120D at $1.4 mil each (Weapons System Cost, not "bare bones").

However, the key thing to remember is that the Meteor keeps getting more expensive and the AMRAAM less. The projection for next year's batch is only $1.13 mil and $1.06 the year after.

View attachment 615860

You might want to take out the enemy AEW from long range though, without having to go through enemy 5th gen jets first.

Most ballistic missile intercepts don't involve a manoeuvring target though. It's a calculated ballistic path intercept. Interceptors for HGV warheads are still in development. For Aster 15/30 interceptor section, the missile can aerodynamically manoeuvre at 55g and gets an extra 12g from the pif-paf. So the bulk of the manoeuvrability is still energy-based aero-manoeuvring.

Meteor was forecast at £2m domestic in 2008, now it's 2m Euros for foreign sales, all-up price plus extras. I can see a similar reduction in price as time goes by.
 

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You might be better off firing a MALD-J at the AEW (I am assuming you meant AWACS) as it has a massive range advantage over a Meteor, it can do it's own jamming, and it runs cool enough to not trigger MAWS on the way in. Put a IIR seeker & a 20lb warhead in it and you are golden as a way to take out ISR, IFR, AEW, AWACS, etc.
 

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A shame they cancelled MALI. (Supersonic interceptor version of MALD.)
 

SpudmanWP

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Who knows, maybe it can make a comeback. Take a MALD, swap some fuels space for a bigger engine & inlet and reshape the wing a bit.
 

sferrin

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Who knows, maybe it can make a comeback. Take a MALD, swap some fuels space for a bigger engine & inlet and reshape the wing a bit.
Who knows, maybe it can make a comeback. Take a MALD, swap some fuels space for a bigger engine & inlet and reshape the wing a bit.
From Designation Systems:

"The MALI (Maniature Air-Launched Interceptor) was an armed derivative of MALD, for possible use against cruise missiles. MALI had a sharper nose profile, increased wing swep, and a more powerful (0.53 kN (120 lb) thrust) TJ-50M engine for short supersonic performance. An IIR (Imaging Infrared) seeker was used for terminal homing on the target, and mid-course guidance was via a command link to air surveillance platforms like the E-3 AWACS. The MALI has undergone a test and development program, which ended in December 2002, when the first supersonic flight was made."
 

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Isn't it more logical now to up the speeds than the range?

As is the issues of duration of flight impact the final phase of engagement.

So instead of trying for more range shouldn't they try for shorter flight time instead?
 

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That is what the AMRAAM did when it went with an all-boost motor.

A two-stage design like the GD version of the AAAM would be a continuation of this trend.
 
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