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Army Indirect Fire Protection System and New Guided Missile Program

AN/AWW-14(V)

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The Army spent years internally developing its own multimission launcher for the Indirect Fires Protection Capability program — designed to counter threats like rockets, artillery and mortars as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems. But that grand plan is now officially off the table.

The service has purchased two Rafael-made Iron Dome systems as an interim solution to get after the cruise missile defense capability gap, but it’s taken a step back to rethink its enduring IFPC program strategy.

While much is up in the air, it’s certain that the launcher that will ultimately be part of the IFPC program won’t be the MML.

“It’ll be something different that we will develop,” Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, who is in charge of the Army’s air-and-missile defense modernization, told Defense News at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

As of 2016, the Army had spent $119 million to build MML prototypes, which included owning the technical rights. The cost of developing the system outside of the Army would have been about three times as much according to the service at the time.

Over the course of its development, the launcher was able to defeat a cruise missile target and an unmanned aircraft system using an AIM-9X missile at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and fired the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) and Tamir missiles as well.

The U.S. Army had awarded three $2.6 million contracts in the summer of 2018 for the first phase of a program to find a second interceptor — the Expanded Mission Area Missile (EMAM) — for the MML. Also already selected was the first interceptor for the launcher, the Sidewinder.

Lockheed Martin’s MHTK missile and two missiles from Raytheon were chosen to be qualified for the launcher: Sky Hunter, the U.S. version of the Iron Dome missile Tamir; and the Accelerated Improved Interceptor Initiative missile.

The effort to qualify the MHTK has been paused, Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and deputy of integrated air-and-missile defense with the company’s Missiles and Fire Control business, said at AUSA.

The company did not have an intercept test, but was able to move the MHTK missile through some testing prior to the Army’s decision to pause the program.


The Army may take technologies developed as part of the MML effort and spiral them into a future launcher, “but there were a lot of things, with all the right reasons, that launcher turned out the way it did,” Gibson said. An assessment of the launcher determined it was not sufficient for an enduring capability, he added.

“All the variables of when you define a new piece of hardware matter and, for air defense, it really comes down to angles you launch things at, whether it’s vertical or whether it’s horizontal, and the applicability of how many different interceptors potentially you can put in,” Gibson said. “Those are all lessons learned from MML and it matters on the threat set.”

The one-star added that he is confident the Army is capable of developing something appropriate on the right timeline when it comes to a launcher for the enduring IFPC plan.

And while the service doesn’t want to buy beyond the two batteries of Iron Dome already purchased, the Army is considering the feasibility of taking its launcher and missiles for the future IFPC program.

The Army has until the end of 2023 to field an initial enduring capability or, by law, will have to buy more interim Iron Dome systems.

 

jsport

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As stated before a DoD/joint primed family of Moduar multi-purpose (both diameter and length) missiles w/ max commonality and now that ramjets are back, ramjets. Contractor built, govy designed or otherwise more mess. Continuous clouds of contractor protests need to end.
 
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sferrin

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The Army spent years internally developing its own multimission launcher for the Indirect Fires Protection Capability program — designed to counter threats like rockets, artillery and mortars as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems. But that grand plan is now officially off the table.

The service has purchased two Rafael-made Iron Dome systems as an interim solution to get after the cruise missile defense capability gap, but it’s taken a step back to rethink its enduring IFPC program strategy.

While much is up in the air, it’s certain that the launcher that will ultimately be part of the IFPC program won’t be the MML.

“It’ll be something different that we will develop,” Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, who is in charge of the Army’s air-and-missile defense modernization, told Defense News at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

As of 2016, the Army had spent $119 million to build MML prototypes, which included owning the technical rights. The cost of developing the system outside of the Army would have been about three times as much according to the service at the time.

Over the course of its development, the launcher was able to defeat a cruise missile target and an unmanned aircraft system using an AIM-9X missile at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and fired the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) and Tamir missiles as well.

The U.S. Army had awarded three $2.6 million contracts in the summer of 2018 for the first phase of a program to find a second interceptor — the Expanded Mission Area Missile (EMAM) — for the MML. Also already selected was the first interceptor for the launcher, the Sidewinder.

Lockheed Martin’s MHTK missile and two missiles from Raytheon were chosen to be qualified for the launcher: Sky Hunter, the U.S. version of the Iron Dome missile Tamir; and the Accelerated Improved Interceptor Initiative missile.

The effort to qualify the MHTK has been paused, Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and deputy of integrated air-and-missile defense with the company’s Missiles and Fire Control business, said at AUSA.

The company did not have an intercept test, but was able to move the MHTK missile through some testing prior to the Army’s decision to pause the program.


The Army may take technologies developed as part of the MML effort and spiral them into a future launcher, “but there were a lot of things, with all the right reasons, that launcher turned out the way it did,” Gibson said. An assessment of the launcher determined it was not sufficient for an enduring capability, he added.

“All the variables of when you define a new piece of hardware matter and, for air defense, it really comes down to angles you launch things at, whether it’s vertical or whether it’s horizontal, and the applicability of how many different interceptors potentially you can put in,” Gibson said. “Those are all lessons learned from MML and it matters on the threat set.”

The one-star added that he is confident the Army is capable of developing something appropriate on the right timeline when it comes to a launcher for the enduring IFPC plan.

And while the service doesn’t want to buy beyond the two batteries of Iron Dome already purchased, the Army is considering the feasibility of taking its launcher and missiles for the future IFPC program.

The Army has until the end of 2023 to field an initial enduring capability or, by law, will have to buy more interim Iron Dome systems.

Sounds like the Keystone Cops. In other words, business as usual.
 

Kadija_Man

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"Forward firing"? That seems to imply there is also a rearward firing rocket, correct?
 

sferrin

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They could even scale it up using the Zuni rocket as a basis.
 

jsport

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If there is to be a melding of uas and muntions/missles then modularity is key to the engineering of the possible. Ie the best design.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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Lockheed Martin Corp., Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, has been awarded a $31,938,845 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support the Operational Fires Integrated Weapon System Phase 3 program, which will enable capabilities for a mobile, ground-launched tactical weapon delivery system capable of carrying a variety of payloads to a variety of ranges.


A novel ground-launched hypersonic boost glide weapons program, called Operational Fires (OpFires) to penetrate modern enemy air defenses will soon be launched by the US Army and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The OpFires program will soon kick off with three performers awarded contracts to begin work: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

OpFires seeks to develop innovative propulsion solutions that will enable a mobile, ground-launched tactical weapons delivery system capable of carrying a variety of payloads to a variety of ranges.

Phase 1 of the program will be a 12-month effort focused on early development and demonstration of booster solutions that provide variable thrust propulsion across robust operational parameters in large tactical missiles.

“OpFires represents a critical capability development in support of the Army’s investments in long-range precision fires,” says DARPA’s OpFires program manager, Maj. Amber Walker (U.S. Army). “These awards are the first step in the process to deliver this capability in support of US overmatch.”

The OpFires program will conduct a series of subsystem tests designed to evaluate component design and system compatibility for future tactical operating environments. Phase 2 will mature designs and demonstrate performance with hot/static fire tests targeted for late 2020. Phase 3, which will focus on weapon system integration, will culminate in integrated end-to-end flight tests in 2022.

 
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fredymac

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With video

If these rounds are intended for tanks or armored vehicles, I assume they don't use proximity burst above the target. I wonder if the round has enough explosive to flip a tank if it misses by a few feet.

 

fredymac

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Looked at current Excalibur "bang" size and I'm guessing they will need a direct hit.

 

bring_it_on

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If these rounds are intended for tanks or armored vehicles, I assume they don't use proximity burst above the target. I wonder if the round has enough explosive to flip a tank if it misses by a few feet.
These were 2019 demonstrations, but there could well be additional variants that are demonstrated over the next year or so in support of the C-DAEM Increment 1 effort. Interestingly, the Army does indeed want a Hit To Kill weapon against the specific target types and Excalibur IB has already demonstrated a range of 62 km from early ERCA prototype testing so is likely a preferred solution.

Funds are required to support the demonstration of a long-range [greater than 60 kilometers] hit-to-kill (HTK) munition to address the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program's Cannon Delivered Area Effects Munition (C-DAEM) Increment I initiative.....The hit-to-kill effort: (1) upgrades the mature Excalibur airframe with an armored target seeker, (2) is the quickest solution to address four extremely high risk gaps by defeating moving and imprecisely located armored targets at long ranges, (3) is fully compatible with current Army howitzers, and (4) is low risk for compatibility with future howitzers (ERCA and M777ER)," according to the request. "Also, the effort will significantly reduce the cost per kill and improves the stowed kills of cannon artillery compared to existing non policy-compliant cluster munitions against medium and heavy armor."
 

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Grey Havoc

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I think the USMC was supposed to get some of the Navy variant MRASM missiles back in the day (including, possibly, the AGM-109I sub-variant).
 

Moose

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MST in a launch cannister is going to be longer than JLTV, potentially making for some awkward packaging. I wonder why they wouldn't just use the FMTV platform, as in HIMARS.
 

bobbymike

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To be honest never heard of MIRM now it’s cancelled


The service also plans to cancel an FY20 new start program in FY21 — the Mobile Intermediate Range Missile, or MIRM, which will save $90 million.

The Army had planned over the next five budget cycles in FY20 to spend nearly $1 billion on MIRM, which is essentially a land-based cruise missile eyed for operations in the Indo-Pacific region to address the medium-range (1,000-kilometer) gap in capability there.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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To be honest never heard of MIRM now it’s cancelled
land-based medium-range cruise missile

The service also plans to cancel an FY20 new start program in FY21 — the Mobile Intermediate Range Missile, or MIRM, which will save $90 million.

The Army had planned over the next five budget cycles in FY20 to spend nearly $1 billion on MIRM, which is essentially a land-based cruise missile eyed for operations in the Indo-Pacific region to address the medium-range (1,000-kilometer) gap in capability there.



Cutbacks to artillery, missiles, & munitions totaled at least $427 million. Almost three-quarters of that came from the cancellations of the Mobile Intermediate-Range Missile ($90 million) and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System ($122.2 million), a laser-guidance kit for the 2.75- inch rockets fired by military helicopters

Other precision-guided weapon cutbacks include a $35.6 million reduction in upgrades for Lockheed Martin’s Army Tactical Missile System.


my reaction to cancellation APKWS acquisition

 
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Grey Havoc

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The MIRM cancellation could end up backfiring, badly.
 

DWG

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Almost three-quarters of that came from the cancellations of the Mobile Intermediate-Range Missile ($90 million) and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System ($122.2 million), a laser-guidance kit for the 2.75- inch rockets fired by military helicopters
Though the article does note there was a $2.9bn order for APKWS last year, so that $122m is about a 3% cut over the two years.
 

bring_it_on

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my reaction to cancellation APKWS acquisition
It is clear that the budget is a non-starter for Congress. We are probably going to see a re-negotiated budget deal and a double digit plus up across DOD procurement accounts. One drawback is that there is likely to be a CR at least through the election.
 

jsport

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To be honest never heard of MIRM now it’s cancelled
land-based medium-range cruise missile

The service also plans to cancel an FY20 new start program in FY21 — the Mobile Intermediate Range Missile, or MIRM, which will save $90 million.

The Army had planned over the next five budget cycles in FY20 to spend nearly $1 billion on MIRM, which is essentially a land-based cruise missile eyed for operations in the Indo-Pacific region to address the medium-range (1,000-kilometer) gap in capability there.



Cutbacks to artillery, missiles, & munitions totaled at least $427 million. Almost three-quarters of that came from the cancellations of the Mobile Intermediate-Range Missile ($90 million) and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System ($122.2 million), a laser-guidance kit for the 2.75- inch rockets fired by military helicopters

Other precision-guided weapon cutbacks include a $35.6 million reduction in upgrades for Lockheed Martin’s Army Tactical Missile System.


my reaction to cancellation APKWS acquisition

22k a piece w no anti-tank, how is one feellin the APKWS as worth it? Expensive version only as anti-large drone maybe..
 

jsport

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Likely no country will let the US deploy. This issue has been an ongoing acknowledgment sense the Russians started cheating. The Russians knew this when they started cheating. It was part of the plan.
 

DWG

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22k a piece w no anti-tank, how is one feellin the APKWS as worth it?
The overwhelming majority of targets aren't tanks, so why waste money using a Hellfire. In addition to which APKWS gives Apaches much greater combat persistence vs Hellfire (4 Hellfire vs 19 APKWS per pylon)
 
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