Current US hypersonic weapons projects. (General)

bring_it_on

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And also subsequent replies? Folks can scroll down and read it as has been pointed out. The funding being re-programmed is to make up for shortfalls due to test delays and retest requirements. That doesn't mean that the procurement account is being done away with alltogether.

To put it more simply, the AF anticipated program completion and end of the five year OTA R&D phase and created a "home" for the ARRW in its procurement budget. This is the first time its done it as previous test rounds were being bought via the existing RDT&E budget. The entire program is in turmoil because they are stuck at the booster testing and integration phase and as such can't really go into AUR testing until that is completed. This required the AF to divert procurement money from FY-22 and FY-23 to fix these issues. However since there is now a home for it in the procurement budget, Congress can be asked, and can also unilaterally add funding there if the program does well enough in testing, and quick enough that they end up in a situation that leads to a gap in funding because they've completed testing but have to wait for FY-24 funding to produce more (a production gap).

The final chapter on this will likely be written early-mid next year once AUR testing gets going (assuming it does). If they don't show success none of it will matter because they'll have to wait for additinoal R&D to make up for delays by either seeking additional FY-23 R&D funding or waiting for FY-24. But this doesn't mean an end to the program. Only that the RDT&E program is ending in FY-23 when it is expected to complete all its work (or fail) and transition to production.

When the program started this was to happen with an operational fielding by September 2022 (FY-22) and right now EOC is not going to be possible till at least September 2023 or later.

"FY 2023 funding decreased compared to FY 2022 by $203.706 million due to program ramping down to MTA completion"
This is the standard ramp down on a five year MTA program.

Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) is a rapid acquisition interim approach that focuses on delivering capability in a period of 2-5 years with rapid prototypes and rapid fielding with proven technology.
 
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sferrin

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I think HALO is probably something like air launched SM-6 block IB :)

The Navy has for several years looked at and invested in figuring out how to take the scramjet tech from DARPA/AFRL HAWC and put it on a carrier.
A shame they let this die. It's pretty much exactly what they're looking for:

asalm-top.jpg
 

bring_it_on

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The Navy has clarified in its Screaming arrow program that it is willing to accept a non scramjet air breather if it can demonstrate Mach 5 or better sustained powered cruise. This will be inefficient compared to scramjets especially now given we have demonstrated two working scramjet engines but I suppose someone can always bid with a non scramjet configuration.
 

sferrin

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The Navy has clarified in its Screaming arrow program that it is willing to accept a non scramjet air breather if it can demonstrate Mach 5 or better sustained powered cruise. This will be inefficient compared to scramjets especially now given we have demonstrated two working scramjet engines but I suppose someone can always bid with a non scramjet configuration.
I guess it just depends on how much boost they need to get to speed. ASALM was designed for the rotary launchers in bombers, so it was short enough, but IIRC the booster only got it up to about Mach 2.
 
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Ronny

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I think HALO is probably something like air launched SM-6 block IB :)

The Navy has for several years looked at and invested in figuring out how to take the scramjet tech from DARPA/AFRL HAWC and put it on a carrier.
A shame they let this die. It's pretty much exactly what they're looking for:

View attachment 677290
Agree, if they actually pursuit it, they would have something that can out range and probably out speed any air defense
 

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If they have issue with the fancy glider RV that would be a huge improvement with what currently happening, they can't even get the booster to start 3 differenr times
I think that can only be described as technological regress. To me that sounds like the easiest part, but what do I know?
 

bring_it_on

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The booster issue has been root caused on the ARRW and isn't a problem with the booster from what I understand (the booster has completed static testing). Anyhow, if one is going to beat up on them on this then might as well cancel HAWC, HACM, HALO and all other programs that need a booster. Let's get serious here, the real problem with ARRW long term is going to be its $10 Million a shot price tag due to the glider and the very high speed. That's what is going to eventually determine its fate and whether the air force decides to buy much or any of it compared to slower (top and cruise speed), smaller, and shorter ranged scramjet powered cruise missiles which could cost less than half of what the ARRW AUR is expected to cost.

The ARRW’s delays so far haven’t revealed a fundamental problem but rather difficulty with how the weapon works with the B-52H bombers that would launch it. After it’s dropped by the bomber, the ARRW is supposed to be accelerated by its booster motor before a solid glide body separates and flies at hypersonic speeds to its target. The December failure, for example, was caused by a design interface issue resulting in a “voltage instability during transfer from aircraft power to missile batteries” that led to a mission abort, according to the Air Force.

 

sferrin

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The booster issue has been root caused on the ARRW and isn't a problem with the booster from what I understand (the booster has completed static testing). Anyhow, if one is going to beat up on them on this then might as well cancel HAWC, HACM, HALO and all other programs that need a booster. Let's get serious here, the real problem with ARRW long term is going to be its $10 Million a shot price tag due to the glider and the very high speed. That's what is going to eventually determine its fate and whether the air force decides to buy much or any of it compared to slower (top and cruise speed), smaller, and shorter ranged scramjet powered cruise missiles which could cost less than half of what the ARRW AUR is expected to cost.

The ARRW’s delays so far haven’t revealed a fundamental problem but rather difficulty with how the weapon works with the B-52H bombers that would launch it. After it’s dropped by the bomber, the ARRW is supposed to be accelerated by its booster motor before a solid glide body separates and flies at hypersonic speeds to its target. The December failure, for example, was caused by a design interface issue resulting in a “voltage instability during transfer from aircraft power to missile batteries” that led to a mission abort, according to the Air Force.

Any word on it's range and payload? $10 million might sound expensive but not if it's taking out a billion dollar carrier or an ICBM silo.
 

bring_it_on

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Range is claimed to be in excess of 500 nautical miles. I think the price tag is a barrier because its acquisition would have to coincide with a huge increase in USAF's munition buy-rates across the board looking at JASSM, Air to Air inventory, SDB-II, and other smart munitions. So its very much going to be a case of trades involved and depending on how supportive Congress is this could be a barrier. Remember, the ARRW was to be the very first fielded hypersonic weapon among the three services and given this it had a lot of support when the program was initiated. Now it appears that it will the very last fielded so Congressional support to buy a lot of these rapidly might not be forthcoming unless they absolutely knock it out of the park in the next year as far as testing is concerned.
 

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The Army LRHW, Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, a boost-glide hypersonic missile (as opposed to the less costly type scramjet powered hypersonic missiles) Bloomberg reported last November that the Pentagon cost office estimated LRHW cost as $4.4 Bn in development plus $2.5 Bn production, for total 66 missiles, 48 development and only 18 production models by 2025, $6.9 Bn (averages out at near $400 million per production missile as so few by 2025). InsideDefense now reporting Army wanting to add the ability to strike moving targets, so assuming costs will increase.

PS The same boost-glide hypersonic missile for the Navy, CPS, development and production funded separately.

https://insidedefense.com/daily-new...pon-new-feature-ability-strike-moving-targets
 

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Prices will come down as the technology is perfected, though I suspect /LRHW/CPS is going to always exist in very small numbers for very high priority targets. I doubt the DF-17 is significantly less expensive. The HACM program is IMO where the US will will make a big break through in cost effective hypersonics.
 

Cordy

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Prices will come down as the technology is perfected, though I suspect /LRHW/CPS is going to always exist in very small numbers for very high priority targets. I doubt the DF-17 is significantly less expensive. The HACM program is IMO where the US will will make a big break through in cost effective hypersonics.
Would expect the DF-17 to be an order of magnitude less expensive as its Chinese :)

Possible affordable options

1) Based on cost of the the Army PrSM ballistic missile, >500 km, in FY2023 budget 120 for $213.2 million, ~ $1.8 million each
(PrSM Spiral 1 will add new seeker to track moving targets; PrSM Spiral 2 will add enhanced lethality; PrSM Spiral 3 will add extended range, 700/800 km)
2) Hypersonic SRAM missile

The LRHW production cost estimate excluding development $2.5 Bn for 18, assuming post 2025 manage to bring cost down to $100 million each missile including new seeker for movable targets, consider that unaffordable for targeting such a small number of high priority targets in such a big country as China and would expect to have little effect. Based on PrSM the costs of ballistic missile with similar range ~$5 million?, SRAM hypersonic similar? Think 1 or 2 much the better choice than the LRHW boost glide as “Quantity has a quality all its own"

PS Has the LRHW glide vehicle been successfully tested as yet?, at moment currently remain skeptical after the failures of the other boost glide missile, the Air Force ARRW, but remain anti LRHW and CPS due to their massive costs.
 

Josh_TN

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Prices will come down as the technology is perfected, though I suspect /LRHW/CPS is going to always exist in very small numbers for very high priority targets. I doubt the DF-17 is significantly less expensive. The HACM program is IMO where the US will will make a big break through in cost effective hypersonics.
Would expect the DF-17 to be an order of magnitude less expensive as its Chinese :)

Possible affordable options

1) Based on cost of the the Army PrSM ballistic missile, >500 km, in FY2023 budget 120 for $213.2 million, ~ $1.8 million each
(PrSM Spiral 1 will add new seeker to track moving targets; PrSM Spiral 2 will add enhanced lethality; PrSM Spiral 3 will add extended range, 700/800 km)
2) Hypersonic SRAM missile

The LRHW production cost estimate excluding development $2.5 Bn for 18, assuming post 2025 manage to bring cost down to $100 million each missile including new seeker for movable targets, consider that unaffordable for targeting such a small number of high priority targets in such a big country as China and would expect to have little effect. Based on PrSM the costs of ballistic missile with similar range ~$5 million?, SRAM hypersonic similar? Think 1 or 2 much the better choice than the LRHW boost glide as “Quantity has a quality all its own"

PS Has the LRHW glide vehicle been successfully tested as yet?, at moment currently remain skeptical after the failures of the other boost glide missile, the Air Force ARRW, but remain anti LRHW and CPS due to their massive costs.

Are the 48 development missiles part of the 4.4 billion figure and the 2.5 only buying 18 weapons? In any case, a production run of 18 weapons is clearly going to be inherently cost ineffective. There would need to be a much larger buy for the program to get any economies of scale, and I suspect ultimately we will see buys in the hundreds (Army and Navy combined) as Virginia Block Vs start hitting the water and more multi domain TFs are built out. As for hitting high priority targets, I think just effect of being able to hold a small number of targets at risk still forces changes to PLA movements and plans. AFAIK China would have no ability to intercept those missiles at all; outside of mechanical failures each one should be able to engage a target a couple thousand miles with a flight time of < 30 minutes. I could easily see that being a huge problem for the PLAN in a Taiwan invasion scenario - anybody with binoculars and a sat phone could record the position of a major container or Ro/Ro ship making port, and even singular hits to such would penetrate multiple decks of very flammable cargo. Ships in port in China probably also would be in range, if the political decision was made to engage targets on the mainland.

The LRHW glide vehicle has been successfully tested several times, albeit on surrogate boosters (I think old Polaris motors) and not on the booster intended for deployment.
 

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CRS report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress Updated May 5, 2022

"The Pentagon’s FY2023 budget request for hypersonic research is $4.7 billion—up from $3.8 billion in the FY2022 request. The Missile Defense Agency additionally requested $225.5 million for hypersonic defense. At present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not established any programs of record for hypersonic weapons, suggesting that it may not have approved either mission requirements for the systems or long-term funding plans. Indeed, as Principal Director for Hypersonics (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering) Mike White has stated, DOD has not yet made a decision to acquire hypersonic weapons and is instead developing prototypes to assist in the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts and mission sets."

Figures show the joint Army LRHW/Navy CPS R&D FY2023 budget request $2 billion up from $1.8 billion in FY2022

 

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CRS report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress Updated May 5, 2022

"The Pentagon’s FY2023 budget request for hypersonic research is $4.7 billion—up from $3.8 billion in the FY2022 request. The Missile Defense Agency additionally requested $225.5 million for hypersonic defense. At present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not established any programs of record for hypersonic weapons, suggesting that it may not have approved either mission requirements for the systems or long-term funding plans. Indeed, as Principal Director for Hypersonics (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering) Mike White has stated, DOD has not yet made a decision to acquire hypersonic weapons and is instead developing prototypes to assist in the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts and mission sets."

Figures show the joint Army LRHW/Navy CPS R&D FY2023 budget request $2 billion up from $1.8 billion in FY2022

Why do I feel like they will cancel LRHW/ CPS and instead buy something like TLAM block IV
 

sferrin

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CRS report, Hypersonic Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress Updated May 5, 2022

"The Pentagon’s FY2023 budget request for hypersonic research is $4.7 billion—up from $3.8 billion in the FY2022 request. The Missile Defense Agency additionally requested $225.5 million for hypersonic defense. At present, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not established any programs of record for hypersonic weapons, suggesting that it may not have approved either mission requirements for the systems or long-term funding plans. Indeed, as Principal Director for Hypersonics (Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering) Mike White has stated, DOD has not yet made a decision to acquire hypersonic weapons and is instead developing prototypes to assist in the evaluation of potential weapon system concepts and mission sets."

Figures show the joint Army LRHW/Navy CPS R&D FY2023 budget request $2 billion up from $1.8 billion in FY2022

Why do I feel like they will cancel LRHW/ CPS and instead buy something like TLAM block IV
Because that would be par for the course. Right there with ya.
 

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Why they have to make so many different program between HAWC and HACM?. First Screaming arrow, then SCiFiRE, then now MoHAWC?.
 

sferrin

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Why they have to make so many different program between HAWC and HACM?. First Screaming arrow, then SCiFiRE, then now MoHAWC?.
Throwing everything at the wall. Also different missions have different requirements.
 

Josh_TN

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Why they have to make so many different program between HAWC and HACM?. First Screaming arrow, then SCiFiRE, then now MoHAWC?.
HACM is the USAF weapons project that postdates the DARPA/USAF HAWC weapons demonstrator. These were explicitly scramjets. Screaming Arrow was a USN weapons project which had different constraints - it has to be compatible with carrier storage and hypersonic, but not explicitly scramjet. I believe it has been cancelled at this point and is replaced with HALO, which I don't think we have any details for but at a minimum it presumably also needs to be carrier compatible. SciFIRE seems to primarily an Australian project with US involvement and US contractors as an exchange of technology (I haven't been able find budget documents indicating who the major source of funding is for the project). I think this has to do with the AUKUS treaty and I suspect this allows for US use of the Woomera test range. I would expect a lot of HAWC tech to move in that direction and I'd assume part of the HACM program would be tests at Woomera range.

So primarily the various projects seem to be different services tailoring HAWC like scramjets to their differing requirements (HALO isn't explicitly stated to have scramjet as a requirement but I'd be shocked if it were anything else). I would expect the Australian and USN projects to have a lot of similarities given they both would use the F-18 as the primary carrier, but without knowing more about the requirements of the programs it's impossible to say for certainty.

MoHAWC seems to just be a continuation of the HAWC research program (which is to be completed this year) and not a weapon system. It appears they are looking for efficiency improvements on the basic HAWC platforms now that the basic engineering has been validated. Presumably any lessons learned would feed back into the other actual weapons programs, or at least future spirals of such. The fact that all of these projects seem to employ 3D printing for the combustor will probably allow for quick design iterations in the various programs as the technology is developed.
 

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