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Air-launched missile defence concept

flateric

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http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/ASAT040108.xml

General: AMRAAM Derivative Could Target Sats

Apr 1, 2008

David A. Fulghum/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

The F-22 could be carrying an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile, costing less than $1 million, in a few years if the military and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) decide to hone the capabilities of a new missile defense weapon from Raytheon.

A derivative of the Aim-120 AMRAAM, the Pentagon’s established long-range air-to-air missile, is once again being tailored for a new mission – this time the interception of Scud-type short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

But a senior U.S. Air Force official confides that the capability is inherently that of a cheap, rapidly-deployed, air-launched weapon for shooting down satellites in low-Earth orbit if the service or Missile Defense Agency were to order its further refinement and development.

Raytheon officials say they haven’t researched the ASAT mission and have no opinion about its feasibility. They do note that the AMRAAM derivative isn’t as large or nearly as energetic as the Raytheon Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) that shot down an errant National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite earlier this year (Aerospace DAILY, Feb. 22). However, they note that if launched at Mach 0.85 at 30,000-40,000 feet, the new, 358-pound missile becomes much more capable against objects at altitudes of 30 kilometers (19 miles) or more.

The Air Force general was much more blunt. “If you put the missile in an F-22 and launch it at Mach 2 and 60,000 feet while in a zoom and at a 45-degree angle, you’ve got an ASAT capability against spacecraft in low-Earth orbit,” he says.

Raytheon officials gave Aviation Week a look at the latest test video of the sensor capability of this new, air-launched, missile-defense weapon they’re developing. The AMRAAM-derivative is called the NCADE, for Network-Centric Airborne Defense Element. For this test, smaller Aim-9 air-to-air missiles were used.

Two F-16s, each carrying an Aim-9 equipped with the NCADE’s highly specialized infrared seeker, attacked a 14-inch diameter target missile over the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The first missile grazed the target missile’s body and took off two fins. The second came within about a yard of the target missile, which is good enough to validate the system, according to Mike Booen, Raytheon’s vice president of advanced missile defense. Future testing will involve the missile’s divert and attitude control system.

For the present, NCADE is being developed as a boost-phase interceptor with seekers that can distinguish between the rocket plume and hard body from launch. That avoids inaccuracies or last-minute course changes caused by seekers having to shift from the plume’s heat as an aiming point to the much cooler target missile’s body.

Raytheon planners originally looked at unmanned platforms to carry the NCADE for long-endurance missions. Candidates include the Predator B and perhaps an even higher-performance UAV that could offer added speed and altitude. It might even bring the long-envisioned Predator C back to life, a program that was put on the back burner as Predator A production and development of the Predator B accelerated. Another option could be the 2018 future bomber.

However, Booen says Air Force planners are adamant that the missile be on forward deployed, manned fighters like the F-22. They bring up the frustration in the 1991 Gulf War when pilots could see Scuds ascending but had no way to attack them.

“NCADE could make almost any platform multimission,” Booen says. He also contends that 20 missiles could be on the ramp, ready for operations in as little as four years at a cost of less than $1 million each in four years from a given start date. More demonstrations are proposed for 2009 that could lead to a program start in 2010.
 

flateric

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From one of 2007 AFA presentations
 

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KJ_Lesnick

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flateric,

The AMRAAM's a two-staged missile? I thought it was a single stager
 

flateric

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KJ, who was talking that there's an AMRAAM on the picture? This is AMRAAM derivative ASAT missile.
 

sferrin

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To be more accurate it's designed for boost phase intercept of SRBMs (though I imagine it would work against ANY ballistic missile in boost phase) with ONE general claiming it would have ASAT capability if launched from high speed and altitude from an F-22. He could be uninformed however. There's no reason the SM-3 sans booster couldn't do so if modified for air-carriage/launch HOWEVER it has a much more capable upper stage/KKV. I tend to think the general is over stating things in this case.
 

flateric

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Sferrin, you are absolutely correct.
 

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Cool picture of Lockheed Martin's concept for an air-launched boost-phase ballictic missile interceptor based on the improved MSE version of the PAC-3 missile developed for the Patriot air-defence system.

It was on the cover of the latest Aviation Week. You can read Amy Butler's story on the MSE here:

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/aw091508p1.xml&headline=New%20PAC-3%20Missile%20Faces%20First%20Intercept%20Test%20in%202009

The relevant bit of the story says:

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin is designing MSE variants for an air-launch boost-phase interceptor and a sea-based hit-to-kill terminal defense system. The air-launched MSE would be pitted against Raytheon's modified advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (Amraam), the Network-Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE). The MDA is considering a competition for the capability. Funding is expected in the Fiscal 2010 budget request.

The air-launched MSE would be housed inside a pod under the wing of an aircraft. Upon launch, a clamshell door on the pod would open, the weapon would drop and ignite, engaging the target. The mission set includes homeland defense against a boosting target; in one scenario, a cruise or ballistic missile would be launched from a ship offshore.

Intercepting a boosting ballistic missile is generally easier because the target is traveling in a straighter trajectory and is slower than in the terminal phase. Lockheed Martin is working with Boeing in its design lab to begin integrating the air-launched MSE onto the F-15C, which is used for combat air patrols in North America. The company is also beginning to explore integration onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22.


You can watch a video (no sound) of the "Air-Launched Hit-to-Kill" concept at:

http://www.aviationweek.com/media/video/ALHTK.MPG
 

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bobbymike

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Air-Launched BMD Enjoys Renewed Popularity

Sep 3, 2010

By David A. Fulghum

An air-launched, missile defense system is being advocated by two veterans of the Pentagon’s Star Wars era and a 1990s program to mate unmanned aircraft and long-range air-to-air weapons.

Len Caveny, former director of science and technology, and Dale Tietz, a retired U.S. Air Force officer who focused on unmanned aircraft, were part of the Pentagon’s ballistic missile defense organization. They are offering a new concept — backed up with a couple of decades of research — to kill ballistic missiles soon after launch when they are slow, bright targets.

Its basic idea is to use Global Hawk (with its 60,000 ft. operational altitude) as a dedicated sensor aircraft and the turbo-prop powered Predator B/Reaper or jet-powered Predator C (flying at 40,000 ft. and capable of carrying more interceptor missiles) as the flying components of a restructured boost-phase intercept (BPI) system.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is already looking for an unmanned aircraft that can detect boosting missiles and has focused on a sensor pod that can fly on a number of existing platforms (Aerospace DAILY, Aug. 20). A Reaper carrying a Raytheon MTS-B electro-optical/IR/full-motion video sensor was able to detect and track a boosting missile from greater than 1,000 km. (621 mi.), says MDA’s director, Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly. One of the mods has been a part of each major MDA flight test since December.

They also are pushing rocket-motor firms and missile designers to come up with more powerful boosters and repackage them as missiles that are small and light enough to be carried internally. They have to be fast enough — 2.5-5 km./sec. (6,000-11,000 mph.) or faster — to catch heavy ballistic missiles during boost and ascent at ranges of 300 km. or greater. The longer the range, the faster and more heavy the interceptor becomes.

“In the 1990s, under the Raptor/Talon program, the [plan] was to use a custom-designed, high-altitude [more than 20 km.], long-endurance [more than 24-hr.] unmanned aerial system carrying ultra-lightweight sensors and weapons based on Brilliant Pebbles technology,” Tietz says. “The UASs would fly very close or sometimes over enemy territory hunting for Scuds as a networked wolf pack. The concept was designed to push the enemy back and destroy his [theater ballistic missiles] within two minutes.”

From 65,000 ft., sensors can see a missile launch plume at a range of about 480 km. That would make the defense of South Korea and Japan relatively easy. Iran is far more complicated because of the country’s size, which demands a technology penalty.

“Korea can be defended with a 3-3.5 kilometer per second interceptor,” Caveny says. “For Iran you would need about 5 kilometers per second. The kill vehicle technology is pretty advanced. What we don’t have is the low-mass, two-stage solid rocket that is more aggressive than Raytheon’s Network-Centric Air Defense Element. We need NCADE on steroids. It also is going to require a very agile missile because you need short time-to-target at standoff ranges up to 300 miles.”

Even with that kind of missile performance, in times of heightened tension, the missile-carrying UASs would have to move into Iranian air space, which in turn would require it to carry additional weapons to protect itself against surface-to-air missiles.

“The show-stopper right now is the size of rocket motors,” Caveny says. He sees three key methods to compensate: using small kill vehicles, taking inert mass out of the system or using higher-energy propellants.
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Interesting story. What I am intrigued with is the high energy propellants able to accelerate a missile to 5 km/sec. sferrin what were some of the fly out speeds of Spartan and Sprint and some of the other early BMD interceptor iterations?
 

bobbymike

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If my calculations are correct the Aerojet Super Roadrunner (current sled rocket speed record holder) traveled at around 9500 ft/sec or 3km/sec. So 5 km/sec is 15,800 ft/sec. Does anyone know of any system that has traveled this fast (obviously boosting not a re-entry system) ???

It is curious in the article that it doesn't include any caveats that this speed is a problem just what sized booster/warhead you would need. Doesn't "detcord" travel at around 15,000 ft/sec?
 

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Missile-Killing Interceptors Eyed By Israel, U.S.
Sep 23, 2010

By David A. Fulghum
Tel Aviv and Washington

Killing tactical ballistic missiles so that explosive, biological or radioactive debris fall near a foe’s launch sites is a key problem for those mapping out defenses in an era of proliferating, short-range missiles and long-range rockets.

New concepts are taking two forms—striking enemy missiles while they are still in space, or destroying them in the first minute or two after launch. And it is becoming glaringly apparent that the solutions are different if the foe is nearby or far away.

Israel, for example, does not have a weapon that can be launched from an aircraft to catch enemy missiles when they are most vulnerable as slow and very bright targets during the first few minutes of flight.

The Israelis flirted with air-launched boost-phase intercept (BPI) in their MOAB UAV/missile program of the 1990s, and the U.S. had a parallel Raptor/Talon project. But both projects were shelved to await technology advances, including more energetic rocket motors, satellite-based battle management and smaller, lighter missile designs.

However, operational introduction into the Israeli arsenal of the advanced Arrow 3 interceptor missile and the Stunner interceptor for the David’s Sling system may open the door to a period of rapid development for air-launched weapons that can be carried by unmanned aircraft.

The Stunner interceptor, designed and built by Rafael in a cooperative program with Raytheon, is a low-cost design that targets threats such as cruise missiles, medium- and long-range artillery rockets and short-range ballistic missiles. It has two stages: The first is a solid-fuel, rocket motor booster; the second is a curious asymmetrical kill vehicle with advanced steering for increased agility. A three-pulse motor provides additional thrust at critical moments of flight. A multi-mode sensor package—electro-optical and millimeter wave, electronically scanned array radar—provides all-weather performance against small, maneuvering targets. The Stunner is larger than Raytheon’s AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missile but smaller than the Arrow 3 interceptor.

As for Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Arrow 3, it now forms the longest-range, highest-altitude (exoatmos­pheric) layer of Israel’s ballistic missile defenses. It is “half the size of Arrow 2 and 21 in. in diameter, [and] no other interceptor has the same kinetic capability or agility,” says a senior Israeli official with insight into the Arrow program. While Arrow 3 is a big step toward developing BPI, Israeli planners say they still need better unmanned aerial systems and much smaller, longer-range interceptor missiles.

“It could be used from aircraft, ships and submarines, but the obstacles are not small,” he says. “The main challenge is time-of-flight [from the orbiting aircraft to the boosting missile],” the official says. “It has to be faster and more agile so that it can divert to another target or change the interception point. Iran is 2,000 km. away. How fast can you predict its path? BPI is not that realistic right now.”

The rest of the story http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/awst/2010/09/20/AW_09_20_2010_p71-253575.xml&headline=Missile-Killing%20Interceptors%20Eyed%20By%20Israel,%20U.S.
 

RanulfC

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bobbymike said:
If my calculations are correct the Aerojet Super Roadrunner (current sled rocket speed record holder) traveled at around 9500 ft/sec or 3km/sec. So 5 km/sec is 15,800 ft/sec. Does anyone know of any system that has traveled this fast (obviously boosting not a re-entry system) ???

It is curious in the article that it doesn't include any caveats that this speed is a problem just what sized booster/warhead you would need. Doesn't "detcord" travel at around 15,000 ft/sec?
Sprint?

Randy
 

Sea Skimmer

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Sprint burned out at about 3.1km/s but it was also at a very low altitude as its burn time was only four seconds. THAAD has a similar burnout speed but at a much higher altitude, which is why it leaves the launcher so much slower in comparison. Burnout isn’t everything. A bigger 21in booster THAAD is entering production as of Block 2010, I don’t know how much that will increase performance but it’s going to be very considerable.

GBI burn’s out somewhere around 8km/s, though I’ve heard people claim that on paper you could have a lightweight kill vehicle release from a GBI size booster and get it going as fast as 15km/s. At that point you could engage a target outside of earth’s gravitation pull. More realistically you could turn some of that velocity into divert velocity to hit a maneuvering target like a hypersonic glider.

KEI was aiming for 7km/s before it got canceled. SM-3 Block II+ seems to be estimated at anywhere from 4.5-6km/s depending on how heavy its new kill vehicle will be. SM-3 Block IIB is now being bid on as an all new missile so its performance is an unknown but certain the be superior to any previous variant.

Air launching THAAD or SM-3 would work very well for boost phased defense; the military just doesn’t want to take the easy road like that because those missiles cost over 10 million USD each.
 

bobbymike

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Thanks Sea Skimmer good information.
 

Colonial-Marine

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Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the PAC-3 MSE still contain a blast-fragmentation warhead unlike the NCADE? I wonder if this would allow a PAC-3 MSE based missile to have more of a dual-role capability.
 

Sea Skimmer

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Yes the PAC-3 missile still has an explosive warhead, and apparently one which is gimbaled to actually aim at the target should the missile not achieve a direct hit, a feature also reported on some of the missiles used by S-300/400 and possibly earlier Patriot missiles. THAAD also has a small cluster of rods it ejects just before impact, as a means of making its ‘hit to kill’ footprint slightly wider. But unlike PAC-3 it was never intended to kill targets it misses to the sides.

However PAC-3 also costs about 3.8 million dollars with the launch canister. Air launch would not require the launch canister (course you need a storage canister instead, the missile has to live somewhere when not in use), but it would require other changes and new hardware on the launch platform all of which costs money. PAC-3 is also unlikely to be as effective at very high ceilings because it just was never designed to operate up high or take advantage of being launched from 500-600mph. It has a very short burn time for rapid reaction and a relatively big heavy missile frame. It’s in the same vein as Sprint, just not quite as absurdly aggressive.

AMRAAM meanwhile is around 350,000 USD, and NCADE is estimated at about 1 million dollars. It would have a liquid fuel upper stage so it’d have a considerable effective range and work well at high ceilings to the point that the USAF has said it could do ASAT from an F-22. Just as importantly AMRAAM and NCADE are about half the weight of PAC-3 at roughly 350lb vs. 700lb.

So for 1.3 million dollars and the same weight you could have 1 AMRAAM and 1 NCADE vs. spending 2 million dollars extra to have a single PAC-3 to fire. Sometimes duel role capability isn’t the best value!

The main reason to consider PAC-3 for air launch ABM is simply that PAC-3 already exists and is proven. NCADE is mostly new, though it would recycle certain key AMRAAM technology like the two way datalink from AIM-120D.
 

sferrin

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Liquid upper stage for NCADE was already cancelled.
 

Sea Skimmer

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Do you have a link for that? Last I heard the upper stage and the guidance system had been split into separate developmental efforts in 2009, but with a mighty 3.5 million split between them for FY2010 its hard to see how any real work could be done.

If the upper stage is dead then that probably means the death of the program sooner then later, since it will certainly loose its ASAT and space launch capability as a result, which was a major attraction of the system. Its not like it ever got any real money anyway, about 10 million in total and it actually got less this year then last after asking for a major increase. I can't find anything on FY2011 funding at the moment, not enough spare time to scan the budget documents.
 

sferrin

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Sea Skimmer said:
Do you have a link for that? Last I heard the upper stage and the guidance system had been split into separate developmental efforts in 2009, but with a mighty 3.5 million split between them for FY2010 its hard to see how any real work could be done.

If the upper stage is dead then that probably means the death of the program sooner then later, since it will certainly loose its ASAT and space launch capability as a result, which was a major attraction of the system. Its not like it ever got any real money anyway, about 10 million in total and it actually got less this year then last after asking for a major increase. I can't find anything on FY2011 funding at the moment, not enough spare time to scan the budget documents.
It was in AvWeek months ago. I don't recall the specific issue. They switched to a solid propellant upper stage.

Raytheon's data NCADE data sheet confirms it.

http://www.raytheon.com/newsroom/rtnwcm/groups/rms/documents/content/rtn_rms_ncade_07-09_datasheet.pdf
 

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I notice they also now show a navy UAV as a launch platform, so maybe liquid propellent died out to try to suck the navy into the project. Course that doesn't much sense when the Navy is going to get SM-3 Block IIB as a long range ascent phase interceptor anyhow and has a more pressing requirement for terminal ABM coverage, but far dumber things have been funded.
 

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Interceptor Concepts for the US UAV BPI Program:

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?&verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA319965
 

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sferrin

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Imagine that as an AAM against a plane. Not much time to evade.
 

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Uploaded on Sep 19, 2008

Lockheed Martin 2008 video animation showing its Air-Launched Hit-to-Kill (ALHTK) concept. A Patriot PAC-3 MSE missile would be launched from inside a fuel-tank-shaped pod under the wing of an F-15 to intercept a ballistic missile in its vulnerable boost stage.

http://youtu.be/zpFkYmwh0SQ
 

donnage99

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The f-23 if built would have been perfect for this system. A deeper long range missile bay that is adjacent to the short range missile bay can be modified to carry this internally. The superior rear end of the airframe and higher speed would allow the f-23 to go deep into enemy airspace to take down ascending ballistic missiles. This could have been a much much much cheaper alternative to sea based or land based missile defense system.
 

sferrin

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donnage99 said:
The f-23 if built would have been perfect for this system. A deeper long range missile bay that is adjacent to the short range missile bay can be modified to carry this internally. The superior rear end of the airframe and higher speed would allow the f-23 to go deep into enemy airspace to take down ascending ballistic missiles. This could have been a much much much cheaper alternative to sea based or land based missile defense system.
PAC-3 is 17 feet long. (5 more than AIM-120.) Was the YF-23's bay that long?
 

donnage99

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sferrin said:
PAC-3 is 17 feet long. (5 more than AIM-120.) Was the YF-23's bay that long?
The air launched version that we are talking about here is a shortened version (makes sense given that being air launched within enemy's air space, it doesn't need the range). Don't know exactly length, but doesn't look more than twice the length of aim-9
 

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While I think I either saw this or posted it myself I cannot find it searching the applicable terms so;

American Physical Society Boost Phase Intercept Report from 2003 downloadable at the link

http://www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/boosts2.cfm

Sorry if the report has been previously posted.
 

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They bring up the frustration in the 1991 Gulf War when pilots could see Scuds ascending but had no way to attack them.
.


You'd think SOMEONE would have given it a go with AIM-7, surely? What is it about a slowly-rising, non-stealthy, non-manoeuvring target that's acquired visually which isn't fish-in-a-barrel territory for even a 90's-vintage AAM? Granted, terminal phase is a b*****d with the missile heading downwards and towards you, but boost phase should give you a far less challenging shot.

I guess range at acquisition does come into it - those things could probably be seen a long way off - but I still have to wonder.
 

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Probably being in the right place at the right time to take a shot.
 

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pathology_doc said:
They bring up the frustration in the 1991 Gulf War when pilots could see Scuds ascending but had no way to attack them.
.


You'd think SOMEONE would have given it a go with AIM-7, surely? What is it about a slowly-rising, non-stealthy, non-manoeuvring target that's acquired visually which isn't fish-in-a-barrel territory for even a 90's-vintage AAM? Granted, terminal phase is a b*****d with the missile heading downwards and towards you, but boost phase should give you a far less challenging shot.

I guess range at acquisition does come into it - those things could probably be seen a long way off - but I still have to wonder.
It wouldn't be able to catch it.

A scud may look "slow" but it is continuously accelerating in a vertical climb. That takes a LOT more energy than the shallow boast-coast trajectory of an AAM. With a normal proportional navigation guidance law the Sparrow would end up trying to chase the scud vertically to keep a continuous lead angle - almost guaranteed to fail.

A modified guidance law that can anticipate the future acceleration of the Scud and give the interceptor a much larger lead at the beginning of the engagement would help a lot - but that wasn't a feature of AAMs during ODS.
 

pathology_doc

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Sferrin and Void, I think in combination you've got it right. Void in particular, the parameters are duly noted, with thanks.
 

marauder2048

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Void is dead on with his discussion of guidance issues. More below:

The lead author was the guy behind ALHTK/NCADE while at MDA; he was recently interviewed in that LA Times article on MDA.
 

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marauder2048

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Congressman says F-35s could take down North Korea’s missiles in boost phase
November 02, 2017 |Justin Doubleday


A congressman on the House Armed Services Committee claimed today F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could shoot down North Korea’s ballistic missiles in their boost phase
and faulted the Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon for failing to come up with a timely solution to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear warhead program. Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-CA) said he has seen analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratories and other research outfits to support his claim that an F-35 could take out a ballistic...

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/congressman-says-f-35s-could-take-down-north-korea%E2%80%99s-missiles-boost-phase
 

sferrin

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marauder2048 said:
Congressman says F-35s could take down North Korea’s missiles in boost phase
November 02, 2017 |Justin Doubleday


A congressman on the House Armed Services Committee claimed today F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could shoot down North Korea’s ballistic missiles in their boost phase
and faulted the Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon for failing to come up with a timely solution to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear warhead program. Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-CA) said he has seen analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratories and other research outfits to support his claim that an F-35 could take out a ballistic...

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/congressman-says-f-35s-could-take-down-north-korea%E2%80%99s-missiles-boost-phase
 

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DrRansom

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marauder2048 said:
Congressman says F-35s could take down North Korea’s missiles in boost phase
November 02, 2017 |Justin Doubleday


A congressman on the House Armed Services Committee claimed today F-35 Joint Strike Fighters could shoot down North Korea’s ballistic missiles in their boost phase
and faulted the Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon for failing to come up with a timely solution to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear warhead program. Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-CA) said he has seen analysis from Los Alamos National Laboratories and other research outfits to support his claim that an F-35 could take out a ballistic...

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/congressman-says-f-35s-could-take-down-north-korea%E2%80%99s-missiles-boost-phase
This article sounds like a Representative looking for a cheap technical fix to a long-term strategic problem.
 

marauder2048

"I should really just relax"
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DrRansom said:
This article sounds like a Representative looking for a cheap technical fix to a long-term strategic problem.
Which is funny given the previous administration's view that boost phase interceptors carried by stealthy
aircraft were strategically destabilizing.

I was hoping that since MKV was cancelled and then resurrected as MOKV
that the AWL would be resurrected as AOWL..but alas it's still AWOL.
 
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