• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Current US hypersonic weapons projects. (General)

Lc89

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
204
Reaction score
120
 

bring_it_on

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jul 4, 2013
Messages
2,323
Reaction score
444
In March 2021, the U.S. Army began delivering the first prototype hypersonic equipment to Soldiers with the arrival of two training canisters. Hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5+), are a new capability that provide a unique combination of speed, maneuverability and altitude to defeat time-critical, heavily-defended and high value targets. Hypersonics is part of the Army’s number one modernization priority of Long Range Precision Fires, and is one of the highest priority modernization areas the Department of Defense is pursuing to ensure continued battlefield dominance. Later in 2021, the Army will deliver all additional ground equipment for the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) prototype battery. LRHW battery fielding will complete in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 with the delivery of live missile rounds. (Courtesy Photo)


 

Attachments

  • 6560167.jpg
    6560167.jpg
    3.4 MB · Views: 28
  • 6560170.jpg
    6560170.jpg
    3.3 MB · Views: 25

bobbymike

ACCESS: USAP
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
10,752
Reaction score
1,833

GAO report reveals depth, scope of U.S. hypersonic weapons projects: 70 efforts, $15 billion

Congressional auditors have identified 70 projects focused on hypersonic weapons research and development backed by $15 billion through 2024 across the U.S. government, shining light into the breadth and scope of a campaign to field a new class of maneuvering ultra-fast weapons with the potential to shape the balance of power between the U.S. military and other major powers such as China and Russia
——————————————————
 

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
2,199
A must read. Thanks for sharing.
An interesting unexpected quote, if I may:
Australia also flies the F/A-18. “That means, anything the U.S. Air Force does with Australia automatically builds in a path for connectivity to the U.S. Navy. So they can … help us with connectivity between our services.”[said Michael E. White, the assistant director for hypersonics in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.[said Michael E. White, the assistant director for hypersonics in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.]
 

Josh_TN

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
764
Reaction score
396
A much more relevant point from the article is that if range time is a bottle neck, Australia likely could provide a lot of space in that regard.
 

Bhurki

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
189
Reaction score
152
*How long is the LRHW?*

Also could we get the dimensions of the canisters themselves since images have been revealed now?
 

bobbymike

ACCESS: USAP
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
10,752
Reaction score
1,833

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,623
Reaction score
1,776
Program cancelled as "too risky" in 3...2...1
Hah.

The good news is the missile didn't fire, so they still have the test article to go back and try again once they figure out what went wrong.
 

Firefinder

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
104
Reaction score
141
Program cancelled as "too risky" in 3...2...1
Hah.

The good news is the missile didn't fire, so they still have the test article to go back and try again once they figure out what went wrong.
Five bucks says Airman Nomnuts didn't hook it up right, or the pylon it was on wasn't wired properly.

Its happens fair often apparently in training...
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,825
Reaction score
2,072
Program cancelled as "too risky" in 3...2...1
Hah.

The good news is the missile didn't fire, so they still have the test article to go back and try again once they figure out what went wrong.
Five bucks says Airman Nomnuts didn't hook it up right, or the pylon it was on wasn't wired properly.

Its happens fair often apparently in training...
So where's the checklist? Where's the two sets of eyes on this thing? It's not THAT hard to do.
 
Last edited:

TomcatViP

Hellcat
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
Messages
3,397
Reaction score
2,199
What probably failed (ground test shown):

WileECayote.jpg


And an exclusive footage of the test manager on his way to report the failure.

f14eaa35e7f715f92df3d9995eed9ad8.gif
 
Last edited:

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
211
Reaction score
194
So where's the checklist? Where's the two sets of eyes on this thing? It's not THAT hard to do.
Absolutely when it's blue suit maintenance, contract off of the street, not so much...not speaking from experience or anything like that...
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,825
Reaction score
2,072
So where's the checklist? Where's the two sets of eyes on this thing? It's not THAT hard to do.
Absolutely when it's blue suit maintenance, contract off of the street, not so much...not speaking from experience or anything like that...
Other countries seem to manage. The US seemed to manage in the past. There's nothing magic about flight testing. Is it complex? Sure. Lot's of things are. That's what check-lists and checking and re-checking are for. Not speaking from experience or anything like that. . .
 

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
211
Reaction score
194
Absolutely when it's blue suit maintenance, contract off of the street, not so much...not speaking from experience or anything like that...
Other countries seem to manage. The US seemed to manage in the past. There's nothing magic about flight testing. Is it complex? Sure. Lot's of things are. That's what check-lists and checking and re-checking are for. Not speaking from experience or anything like that. . .
If by other countries you mean China and Russia, then good on you for believing Pravda and China Daily. The US managed quite well when experienced guys in uniform did the maintenance and BB stacking. No so much when we switched to contract maintenance because guys in uniform were too expensive, I was there when that killed a pilot and severely injured the Nav. who was supposed to come to my squadron.

Basic blue suit maintenance is more than checklists, it's a system. Those highly experience guys went through 8 weeks of basic, then 6-12 months of tech school depending on their specialty and at that point they were three levels. They show up to their given airframe with a blank 623, and can't touch an aircraft unsupervised. Over the next 18 months they must attend local training, demonstrate proficiency on all of their tasks in the 623 and may not do any task unsupervised that wasn't signed off in their 623. After all tasks are signed off, then they have to pass their end of course exam at a 90-95% bar to receive their five level. Now they are trusted to do their job unsupervised, but any safety of flight task is inspected and signed off by a seven level. After several years when the five level makes SSgt they begin a similar, but more rigorous upgrade to get their seven level. That's just the normal day to day maintenance at any operational base.

Before ED went contract, all of those five and seven levels were experienced folks, not brand new and no three levels. The difference with flight test was in the best case they had a draft TO for whatever new was put on the aircraft. It wasn't uncommon that they would be the ones developing a TO. So yes it is a bit different than normal and there's a whole level of training and discipline from someone just off the street usually doesn't have.

Now from a test conduct and aircrew perspective it's way more than just checklists and re-checking, there's a system that took 50-60 years to build when I was there that consisted of training, organization, and many barriers set up to keep the swiss cheese from lining up. When I was there a seemingly insignificant lapse in judgement/discipline killed a test pilot. I'm alive today because of my test pilot's special training. While I was at ED it was easy to dismiss the robustness of the system as this stuff is not that hard, until I started working in another industry with supposedly robust barriers to see that it was. Now this could be something particular to where our general culture is here in the US today, because I've gotten to work with a lot of Canadians and Europeans who seem to be able to take people off the street and instill that level of discipline.

Excellence requires vigilance, a willingness to work hard to sustain it and doesn't need much to lose it.
 
Last edited:

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,825
Reaction score
2,072
Absolutely when it's blue suit maintenance, contract off of the street, not so much...not speaking from experience or anything like that...
Other countries seem to manage. The US seemed to manage in the past. There's nothing magic about flight testing. Is it complex? Sure. Lot's of things are. That's what check-lists and checking and re-checking are for. Not speaking from experience or anything like that. . .
If by other countries you mean China and Russia, then good on you for believing Pravda and China Daily. The US managed quite well when experienced guys in uniform did the maintenance and BB stacking. No so much when we switched to contract maintenance because guys in uniform were too expensive, I was there when that killed a pilot and severely injured the Nav. who was supposed to come to my squadron.

Basic blue suit maintenance is more than checklists, it's a system. Those highly experience guys went through 8 weeks of basic, then 6-12 months of tech school depending on their specialty and at that point they were three levels. They show up to their given airframe with a blank 623, and can't touch an aircraft unsupervised. Over the next 18 months they must attend local training, demonstrate proficiency on all of their tasks in the 623 and may not do any task unsupervised that wasn't signed off in their 623. After all tasks are signed off, then they have to pass their end of course exam at a 90-95% bar to receive their five level. Now they are trusted to do their job unsupervised, but any safety of flight task is inspected and signed off by a seven level. After several years when the five level makes SSgt they begin a similar, but more rigorous upgrade to get their seven level. That's just the normal day to day maintenance at any operational base.

Before ED went contract, all of those five and seven levels were experienced folks, not brand new and no three levels. The difference with flight test was in the best case they had a draft TO for whatever new was put on the aircraft. It wasn't uncommon that they would be the ones developing a TO. So yes it is a bit different than normal and there's a whole level of training and discipline from someone just off the street usually doesn't have.

Now from a test conduct and aircrew perspective it's way more than just checklists and re-checking, there's a system that took 50-60 years to build when I was there that consisted of training, organization, and many barriers set up to keep the swiss cheese from lining up. When I was there a seemingly insignificant lapse in judgement/discipline killed a test pilot. I'm alive today because of my test pilot's special training. While I was at ED it was easy to dismiss the robustness of the system as this stuff is not that hard, until I started working in another industry with supposedly robust barriers to see that is was. Now this could be something particular to where our general culture is here in the US today, because I've gotten to work with a lot of Canadians and Europeans who seem to be able to take people off the street and instill that level of discipline.

Excellence requires vigilance, a willingness to work hard to sustain it and doesn't much to lose it.

And after all that they still use check-lists. BTW, I never said check-lists were the ONLY factor. If they're not followed, or incomplete, or inadequate, they're useless. And that's why they're reviewed, ideally by all the players involved. But if after reviews, trial runs, check-list reviews, etc. and you STILL have a, "whoops, forgot to pull a "Remove Before Flight" flag that flushes millions of dollars down the toilet, yeah, somebody needs to be sh-t-canned. Probably multiple somebodies. Not defended.
 

mkellytx

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Messages
211
Reaction score
194
And after all that they still use check-lists. BTW, I never said check-lists were the ONLY factor. If they're not followed, or incomplete, or inadequate, they're useless. And that's why they're reviewed, ideally by all the players involved. But if after reviews, trial runs, check-list reviews, etc. and you STILL have a, "whoops, forgot to pull a "Remove Before Flight" flag that flushes millions of dollars down the toilet, yeah, somebody needs to be sh-t-canned. Probably multiple somebodies. Not defended.
Let's drop the fixation with checklists, it's only 5-10% of the test part, the test part is usually only a small part of the maintenance part. Now SOP, is SOP for line operations, but test flight for the most part involves flying outside of SOP, either because it isn't yet written or the safety margins are being confirmed so you fly to the margin past the limit.

First you select highly experienced pilots, navs, WSO's and engineers to go to Test Pilot School. Engineering/hard science degrees are required for pilots and navs, if you're an engineer a masters degree is an unofficial requirement. At TPS all receive a masters degree in flight test over one very intense year of training. There are a handful non-TPS aircrew spots, pilot/nav/FTE in the test squadrons, but this is primarily talent identification. FWIW, I jumped directly into one of these slots on the strength of my graduate degree in engineering with a focus on flight test and three years experience in bomber maintenance, otherwise this was usually a reward for high potential operations engineer LT's who could be good TPS students in the future. The civilian work force is heavily weighted towards retired military with prior flight test experience, the one exception I remember was Doc, who had a PhD and worked a NASA console for ISS. Incidentally, he was also the first civilian admitted to USAF TPS. The leadership of course are exclusively patch wearers. That's the personnel pool, in the flying squadron. There's also the army of discipline engineers matrixed to the CTF, but typically those are just normal engineers.

The job starts at program inception, the flight testers are part of the IPT from the beginning. Early input usually focuses on the development of MOE's, MOP's and TIS's. There's also a heavy bit of feedback/interaction with the contractor's engineers in the SIL around features, functionality and a bunch of other stuff to help develop the requirements for a particular software block update or weapons integration. Once the design is frozen and scope is known, the focus shifts to developing test and safety plans, FTE's tend to do a lot of the heavy lifting in this space. There's a well established process and multiple organizations dedicated towards challenging and assuring these plans. A key deliverable of these plans are the technical data that's required to be captured and the barriers necessary to do this safely, and yes the FTE is typically writing and staffing this, the test pilots and test navs join the FTE for the test and safety reviews.

Now there's an approved test and safety plan, the FTE starts writing test cards, scheduling assets and non rated aircrew to support the flights. Now the qualified FTE's can be test conductors or FTE's, there are separate qualifications for each. All, TPS grads are tracked for both from day one, brand new LT's start with qualifying as operations engineers, work their way towards becoming test conductors. If the LT is sharp they get selected to qualify as FTE's, goes back to the talent development stuff. If you have the right background, educations and timing you can bypass steps, which I happened to win that lottery and jumped straight into Test Conductor and FTE quals from the get go, but that was the exception, no the rule, unless of course if you were a patch wearer, which of course made you more equal...

Let's see, personnel, programmatic stuff, squadron level quals, now there's enough of a foundation to start talking about individual missions. Test cards off course must meet a review and approval cycle. The TC puts together the test readiness briefing which makes sure everything is in place to do the mission the next day. The particular GMC's and THA's to that mission are reviewed here. The broader cast of characters are dismissed and the TC/TD and aircrew redline the test cards, when this is done the aircrew brief, if you're in the FTE or flying FTE/TC you stay for this.

Day of test, if you're FTE you come in and do normal aircrew stuff, going to life support and getting your gear. Everyone, aircrew and TC/TD come together for the T-0 and make sure the weather and assets are good for the test. Once that's complete the aircrew do their own brief and the TC/TD and control room crew go to the control room and set it up for the test. If you're aircrew you step to the jet, do the walk around, review the forms and brief with the maintenance guys at the jet.

Now it's show time, and the test cards and checklist come out of the pubs bags and helmet bags and once power is on the jet the control room and crew start working together when the radios are powered up. Usually, at this point it is a usually start with the caveat of starting the special instrumentation if you're the FTE. Now you're finally into checklist type of activity.

Once you finish flying, there's all of the good stuff about the different debriefs, reports and what not. If you do something particularly cool there's of course the technical papers and submitting/presenting to the relevant bodies. On top of all of this of course basic proficiencies have to be maintained and upgrades to instructor status must be pursued. But again not a whole lot special here, since it's really pretty easy stuff to get right, since it's just normally complex stuff.
 

sferrin

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
13,825
Reaction score
2,072
And after all that they still use check-lists. BTW, I never said check-lists were the ONLY factor. If they're not followed, or incomplete, or inadequate, they're useless. And that's why they're reviewed, ideally by all the players involved. But if after reviews, trial runs, check-list reviews, etc. and you STILL have a, "whoops, forgot to pull a "Remove Before Flight" flag that flushes millions of dollars down the toilet, yeah, somebody needs to be sh-t-canned. Probably multiple somebodies. Not defended.
Let's drop the fixation with checklists,
It's literally in the second sentence: "I never said check-lists were the ONLY factor." And really, you only proved my point: all that time and money only to fail due to a bone-headed mistake should cost some people their jobs. Not everybody feels that way of course. That's how we continue to get these kinds of mistakes.
 

Similar threads

Top