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Current US hypersonic weapons projects. (General)

TomcatViP

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The final major challenge at this point involves the infrastructure that will go with hypersonic weapons. Beyond sheer speed, a major benefit to hypersonic weapons is that they tend to fly significantly lower than ballistic missiles; in the upper atmosphere rather than a low earth orbit. The vast majority of ground-based radar stations - the core of most air defense networks - simply cannot see a hypersonic weapon at those altitudes until it is extremely close. This very same fact provides difficulties for the side launching hypersonic weapons as well. Incredibly basic operations such as communicating with the missile become a significant challenge.

Hypersonic weapons are meant to be more than ballistic missiles, they should be able to change course in flight based on input from the operator, whether to confuse the enemy as to the intended target, adjust to hit a mobile target, or to update the aim. During hypersonic flight there is very little time to adjust like that, so even a momentary lapse in communication can be the difference between a successful strike or a catastrophe. Further, the DoD has not stated any intent to equip hypersonic weapons with nuclear warheads at this time, which means that any developed by the U.S. must be more accurate and reliable than any being developed by Russia or China.

Yet at this time, the U.S. lacks the infrastructure to guarantee complete control and constant communication with a hypersonic weapon throughout its entire flight. Ground-based stations are insufficient – true control over hypersonic weapons will require an advanced network of satellites and space-based sensors able to maintain communication, seamlessly handoff communications with a hypersonic weapon in flight to the next satellite, and able to transmit information to and from the missile in real-time. Though the U.S. certainly possesses an extensive satellite network, even this is insufficient for the needs of hypersonic weapons.

Of course, this solution presents many challenges of its own. Money naturally is the primary challenge – the defense industry is well aware that building a single satellite and putting it into space can be quite expensive, much less installing a network on the scale needed here. Political considerations come very much into play here as well. The most effective method for ensuring full sensor coverage is to put each satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. This means that a satellite capable of tracking and communicating with an object moving at speeds up to Mach 25 would be permanently parked over a particular area of the earth. Many nations will fear the possible intelligence collection value such a satellite would possess, and would likely refuse to allow us to place satellites over them – general protestations regarding the existence of such a satellite network aside. As a result, the DoD would have to calculate the best places to place these satellites to maximize their coverage and communication while respecting all territorial claims, which may, in turn, affect how these satellites are developed.
From
The Road to Hypersonic Weapons
TECHNICAL CHALLENGES & EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES
 
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panzerfeist1

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Good sources

Graphic+redacted+from+James+Acton,+Silver+Bullet,+Carnegie+Endowment+for+International+Peace,.jpg

I have seen an image of an HGV on bobbymikes source so I wonder if scramjets are on that list as well? LEOs might be targets for defense units with low altitude satellite interceptions. But still I believe that these satellites will be sufficient enough to immediately warn the U.S. if their satellites are to get hit by air defense missiles or if a hypersonic missile will be launched to give them more time for a a response to come up with an action.
 

Josh_TN

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The final major challenge at this point involves the infrastructure that will go with hypersonic weapons. Beyond sheer speed, a major benefit to hypersonic weapons is that they tend to fly significantly lower than ballistic missiles; in the upper atmosphere rather than a low earth orbit. The vast majority of ground-based radar stations - the core of most air defense networks - simply cannot see a hypersonic weapon at those altitudes until it is extremely close. This very same fact provides difficulties for the side launching hypersonic weapons as well. Incredibly basic operations such as communicating with the missile become a significant challenge.

Hypersonic weapons are meant to be more than ballistic missiles, they should be able to change course in flight based on input from the operator, whether to confuse the enemy as to the intended target, adjust to hit a mobile target, or to update the aim. During hypersonic flight there is very little time to adjust like that, so even a momentary lapse in communication can be the difference between a successful strike or a catastrophe. Further, the DoD has not stated any intent to equip hypersonic weapons with nuclear warheads at this time, which means that any developed by the U.S. must be more accurate and reliable than any being developed by Russia or China.

Yet at this time, the U.S. lacks the infrastructure to guarantee complete control and constant communication with a hypersonic weapon throughout its entire flight. Ground-based stations are insufficient – true control over hypersonic weapons will require an advanced network of satellites and space-based sensors able to maintain communication, seamlessly handoff communications with a hypersonic weapon in flight to the next satellite, and able to transmit information to and from the missile in real-time. Though the U.S. certainly possesses an extensive satellite network, even this is insufficient for the needs of hypersonic weapons.

Of course, this solution presents many challenges of its own. Money naturally is the primary challenge – the defense industry is well aware that building a single satellite and putting it into space can be quite expensive, much less installing a network on the scale needed here. Political considerations come very much into play here as well. The most effective method for ensuring full sensor coverage is to put each satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. This means that a satellite capable of tracking and communicating with an object moving at speeds up to Mach 25 would be permanently parked over a particular area of the earth. Many nations will fear the possible intelligence collection value such a satellite would possess, and would likely refuse to allow us to place satellites over them – general protestations regarding the existence of such a satellite network aside. As a result, the DoD would have to calculate the best places to place these satellites to maximize their coverage and communication while respecting all territorial claims, which may, in turn, affect how these satellites are developed.
From
The Road to Hypersonic Weapons
TECHNICAL CHALLENGES & EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES
It seems to me the best place to put hypersonic communications and sensor equipment is in LEO along with the detection systems that will be needed to counter opponent hypersonic systems. The Starlink series of satellites is an indicator that comms, and likely observation as well, could easily be deployed in very large numbers cost effectively with current technology and delivery systems. We know that DARPA is persuing a low altitude IR detection satellite constellation that will have to seamless cross link with itself as satellites come in and out of the line of sight; at that point there's no reason it can't also function as the communications system for offensive hypersonics as well. A large constellation makes for more robust coms and lower altitude and numerous fast moving transmitters makes jamming more difficult.
 

bobbymike

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From Inside Defense paysite

Spending bill launches Joint Hypersonics Transition Office with $100 million
The compromise fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill includes $100 million for the Pentagon to establish a Joint Hypersonics Transition Office, marking a win for Indiana lawmakers who have pushed for the office to oversee a university consortium tasked with accelerating the development of hypersonic technologies and systems
 

Desertfox

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Lets just say Lockheed is working on more than a few hypersonic projects... But it sounds like its either ARRW or HCSW.
 

TomcatViP

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University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, is awarded a $10,000,000 cost contract for development of a Mach 10 Quiet Wind Tunnel. This project will ultimately result in crucial advancements in hypersonics fluid mechanics technologies. This acquisition is in support of Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane’s Hypersonics Program. Work will be performed in Notre Dame, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by June 2022. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Defense) funding in the amount of $8,568,231 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(3), necessary to award the contract to a particular source in order to establish or maintain an essential engineering, research, or development capability to be provided by an educational institution. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-20-C-GT10).
 

Lc89

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
 

Josh_TN

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Is it Hacksaw or another missile?
Mach 5 probably is the scramjet project HAWC. Hypersonic boost/glide use solid rocket boosters, so the fact that they have a contract for a hypersonic motor suggests to me that it is an air breathing engine not a rocket booster.
 

Josh_TN

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
Technically yes, practically probably not. It would most likely violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spirit if not letter (non binding however) and none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
 

edwest

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All those micro-sats going up suggests a fine screen door approach. The "dimness" of hypersonic weapons? What about the dimness of Soviet MARVs approaching their targets? I think this one is already in the bag. And potential enemies protesting satellites over where they are at this late date? What about during the '80s and '90s? No. This is all set. The shell game is designed to confuse the enemy, which also fools the American, and allied, public.
 

Ronny

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none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
HCSW is light enough to be carried by current fighter fleet.
The objective of the HCSW program, informally called “Hacksaw,” is to develop long-range hypersonic missile prototypes that can be integrated on the service's current bomber and fighter aircraft fleets and be supported in all operations, mission-planning and sustainment efforts, according to the Air Force
 

trose213

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
Technically yes, practically probably not. It would most likely violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spirit if not letter (non binding however) and none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
MTCR is by payload weight and voluntary. The UK bought Tomahawks, which aren't MTCR compliant.
 

TomS

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
Technically yes, practically probably not. It would most likely violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spirit if not letter (non binding however) and none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
MTCR is by payload weight and voluntary. The UK bought Tomahawks, which aren't MTCR compliant.
MTCR also counts range, and trades between payload and range, so a nominally under-range missile with a heavy warhead could be prohibited if it would exceed the range limit with a lighter payload.

But NATO members have decided that MTCR does not apply to transfers between members because the treaty's defense cooperation clauses predate the MTCR and the MTCR exempts pre-existing agreements.
 

trose213

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
Technically yes, practically probably not. It would most likely violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spirit if not letter (non binding however) and none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
MTCR is by payload weight and voluntary. The UK bought Tomahawks, which aren't MTCR compliant.
MTCR also counts range, and trades between payload and range, so a nominally under-range missile with a heavy warhead could be prohibited if it would exceed the range limit with a lighter payload.

But NATO members have decided that MTCR does not apply to transfers between members because the treaty's defense cooperation clauses predate the MTCR and the MTCR exempts pre-existing agreements.
Was just pointing out that determining factor wasn't system weight, but payload weight. And a transfer can be made as long as the delivering party can guarantee it won't be used or modified for WMD or nuclear use.
 

TomS

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Can the United States sell its hypersonic weapons to allied countries such as the UK, Australia and Japan? I am referring mainly to air missiles launched as agm 183a and Hacksaw.
Technically yes, practically probably not. It would most likely violate the Missile Technology Control Regime in spirit if not letter (non binding however) and none of those countries have any platform that could carry the ARROW/HCSW (probably in the 3-5 ton range weight wise). The HAWC program looks to be building something lighter that is more of a tactical aircraft missile in terms of weight.
MTCR is by payload weight and voluntary. The UK bought Tomahawks, which aren't MTCR compliant.
MTCR also counts range, and trades between payload and range, so a nominally under-range missile with a heavy warhead could be prohibited if it would exceed the range limit with a lighter payload.

But NATO members have decided that MTCR does not apply to transfers between members because the treaty's defense cooperation clauses predate the MTCR and the MTCR exempts pre-existing agreements.
Was just pointing out that determining factor wasn't system weight, but payload weight. And a transfer can be made as long as the delivering party can guarantee it won't be used or modified for WMD or nuclear use.
Fair enough. I did some papers on MTCR back in college so I get carried away talking about it sometimes.
 

bobbymike

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Spending bill launches Joint Hypersonics Transition Office with $100 million
December 17, 2019 | Daily News
The compromise fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill includes $100 million for the Pentagon to establish a Joint Hypersonics Transition Office, marking a win for Indiana lawmakers who have pushed for the office to oversee a university consortium tasked with accelerating the development of hypersonic technologies and systems
 

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Lc89

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What I can't understand is whether the term "relocatable target" refers to targets that have been moving or that have been moved from their original positions.
Move from position to position rather than constantly moving. For example a TEL.
And what does it mean that it will be able to transport a variety of payloads to several different ranges? What payloads are we talking about? I thought it was just a hypersonic glide body.
 

Josh_TN

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Slightly OT, but has the USAF considered using an air launch version of army’s precision strike missile as a hypersonic weapon for tactical aircraft? It seems to me you could put a hard back and lugs on the weapon with an appropriate interface rather easily and have a low end hypersonic along the lines of the Israeli EXTRA/Rampage system. Not sure what the weight or speed will be, but we know it is faster than ATACMs and lighter/more narrow. Assuming a Mach 3-4 burn out speed from ground launch, it should be in the low hypersonic range when launching from aircraft cruise speed at altitude. I can’t imagine it will weigh more than 3000lbs, given that ATACMs is under 4000. It would be a pretty easy effort that would allow tacair to carry something hypersonic and it would benefit from later army spirals like terminal guidance and range upgrades.
 

Lc89

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Slightly OT, but has the USAF considered using an air launch version of army’s precision strike missile as a hypersonic weapon for tactical aircraft? It seems to me you could put a hard back and lugs on the weapon with an appropriate interface rather easily and have a low end hypersonic along the lines of the Israeli EXTRA/Rampage system. Not sure what the weight or speed will be, but we know it is faster than ATACMs and lighter/more narrow. Assuming a Mach 3-4 burn out speed from ground launch, it should be in the low hypersonic range when launching from aircraft cruise speed at altitude. I can’t imagine it will weigh more than 3000lbs, given that ATACMs is under 4000. It would be a pretty easy effort that would allow tacair to carry something hypersonic and it would benefit from later army spirals like terminal guidance and range upgrades.
We'll also have to see the NGLAW program.
 

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Josh_TN

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NGLAW doesn’t seem well suited to tactical aircraft. It wasn’t clear to me that air launch was even a requirement.
 

Lc89

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[QUOTE = "Josh_TN, post: 374844, membro: 15394"]
NGLAW non sembra adatto agli aerei tattici. Non mi era chiaro che il lancio aereo fosse addirittura un requisito.
[/CITAZIONE]
 

bobbymike

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Lockheed wins sole contract to design, package, demonstrate tactical hypersonic weapon for Army
Lockheed Martin has nabbed a lead role in another hypersonic weapons program, winning the sole contract for the third phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Operational Fires program -- a project launched in 2018 to develop and demonstrate a new surface-to-surface precision fires weapon that ground forces can use to penetrate sophisticated enemy air defenses.
 
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