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DARPA's Flying Missile Rail

bobbymike

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http://alert5.com/2017/09/07/darpas-flying-missile-rail/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Alert5-MilitaryAviationNews+%28Alert+5+-+Military+Aviation+News%29
 

sferrin

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Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
 

GeorgeA

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Manufacturing responsiveness, not vehicle performance. Compressing the supply chain, as the MBAs would say.
 

sferrin

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George Allegrezza said:
Manufacturing responsiveness, not vehicle performance. Compressing the supply chain, as the MBAs would say.
So making a bunch of items of dubious value quickly is good...why?
 

CiTrus90

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sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
 

sferrin

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CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
So why not just attach a booster to it, or make SLAMRAAM-ER air-launchable, instead of adding an airplane to the missile that slashes your loadout to a fraction of what it was before?
 

CiTrus90

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sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
So why not just attach a booster to it, or make SLAMRAAM-ER air-launchable, instead of adding an airplane to the missile that slashes your loadout to a fraction of what it was before?
I suppose the point is using the stock of missiles they already have, rather than getting new ones or upgrading the ones they have for the time being.
 

sferrin

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CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
So why not just attach a booster to it, or make SLAMRAAM-ER air-launchable, instead of adding an airplane to the missile that slashes your loadout to a fraction of what it was before?
I suppose to point is using the stock of missiles they already have, rather than getting new ones or upgrading the ones they have for the time being.
Seems like an expensive solution that would do Wile E. Coyote proud.
 

GeorgeA

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sferrin said:
So making a bunch of items of dubious value quickly is good...why?
Capacity for attrition, mostly. (See "Arsenal of Democracy".)
 

CiTrus90

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sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
So why not just attach a booster to it, or make SLAMRAAM-ER air-launchable, instead of adding an airplane to the missile that slashes your loadout to a fraction of what it was before?
I suppose to point is using the stock of missiles they already have, rather than getting new ones or upgrading the ones they have for the time being.
Seems like an expensive solution that would do Wile E. Coyote proud.
As they explain in the video, the service life of an expendable system is usually greater than its capability life, so it's clear their aim is to match, as much as possible, those two parameters with each other.

If they want to extend the capability life of the AIM-120 it means they don't want a new missile (SLAMRAAM-ER) or rebuild each single one of the ones they already have (with a new booster). If they can make a common, inexpensive (the whole emphasis is here) and reusable platform that can augment its performances, to me it seems like a sensible idea.

A 20 minutes flight at mach 0.9 with a similar concept would extend the AIM-120's range by at least 300km, without applying any change to the missiles you already have, plus giving them the ability to loiter at waypoints, like sort of a stand off wingman.

Phase III of SBIR also hints at applying this approach to other systems, so it wouldn't just be limited to the AIM-120 but it may augment the capabilities of other air launched weapons too.
 

sferrin

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CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
Only 20 minutes of flight, I gotta ask, what's the point?
I think the point is extending the range of the AIM-120, in order to create a low cost interim VLRAAM without the R&D associated with making a new missile (maybe?).
So why not just attach a booster to it, or make SLAMRAAM-ER air-launchable, instead of adding an airplane to the missile that slashes your loadout to a fraction of what it was before?
I suppose to point is using the stock of missiles they already have, rather than getting new ones or upgrading the ones they have for the time being.
Seems like an expensive solution that would do Wile E. Coyote proud.
As they explain in the video, the service life of an expendable system is usually greater than its capability life, so it's clear their aim is to match, as much as possible, those two parameters with each other.

If they want to extend the capability life of the AIM-120 it means they don't want a new missile (SLAMRAAM-ER) or rebuild each single one of the ones they already have (with a new booster). If they can make a common, inexpensive (the whole emphasis is here) and reusable platform that can augment its performances, to me it seems like a sensible idea.

A 20 minutes flight at mach 0.9 with a similar concept would extend the AIM-120's range by at least 300km, without applying any change to the missiles you already have, plus giving them the ability to loiter at waypoints, like sort of a stand off wingman.

Phase III of SBIR also hints at applying this approach to other systems, so it wouldn't just be limited to the AIM-120 but it may augment the capabilities of other air launched weapons too.
It also significantly cuts down how many you can carry.
 

CiTrus90

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sferrin said:
It also significantly cuts down how many you can carry.
Which brings us to the question: do we need more missiles or do we need missiles with more range?

If the idea is to keep older platforms (like F-16s and F/A-18s) out of range of the adversary, I think the latter is the answer.

Mind you, this is not a definitive solution, but wars are fought with what you have, and this seems meant to improve what is already here at disposition.
 

sferrin

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CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
It also significantly cuts down how many you can carry.
Which brings us to the question: do we need more missiles or do we need missiles with more range?

If the idea is to keep older platforms (like F-16s and F/A-18s) out of range of the adversary, I think the latter is the answer.

Mind you, this is not a definitive solution, but wars are fought with what you have, and this seems meant to improve what is already here at disposition.
Except that in war games it's the number of missile lacking, which led to looking at bumping up the number of missiles on F-15s for example (looking, not doing unfortunately).
 

CiTrus90

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sferrin said:
CiTrus90 said:
sferrin said:
It also significantly cuts down how many you can carry.
Which brings us to the question: do we need more missiles or do we need missiles with more range?

If the idea is to keep older platforms (like F-16s and F/A-18s) out of range of the adversary, I think the latter is the answer.

Mind you, this is not a definitive solution, but wars are fought with what you have, and this seems meant to improve what is already here at disposition.
Except that in war games it's the number of missile lacking, which led to looking at bumping up the number of missiles on F-15s for example (looking, not doing unfortunately).
There is so much an F-15, F-16, F/A-18 can do. Their best chance at surviving in BVR is for F-22s and F-35s to scout ahead of them and pick their targets, while outranging the enemy.

Moreover, as far as I know, it's only Boeing that is touting to increase the number of missiles on their F-15s as an answer to the decreased number of BVR missiles on stealth fighters, while SBIR, instead, comes from DARPA.

Care to share what war games data are you referring to? I'd like to know under which conditions the number of missile has been found lacking, and if there's an issue with kill probability or detection range.
 

sferrin

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CiTrus90 said:
Care to share what war games data are you referring to? I'd like to know under which conditions the number of missile has been found lacking, and if there's an issue with kill probability or detection range.
It was a Rand South China Sea study done years ago.
 

TomcatViP

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George Allegrezza said:
Capacity for attrition, mostly. (See "Arsenal of Democracy".)
Yes, a clustered arsenal plane.


Anyone that has a direct link to the corresponding Darpa RFI?
 

TomS

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TomcatViP said:
George Allegrezza said:
Capacity for attrition, mostly. (See "Arsenal of Democracy".)
Yes, a clustered arsenal plane.


Anyone that has a direct link to the corresponding Darpa RFI?
https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/topics?topicId=28896

I can think of so many interesting tactical options that a remote missile launcher would give you. Offensive counter-air sweeps in denied airspace, radar-silent ambush tactics, etc.
 

sferrin

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TomS said:
Offensive counter-air sweeps in denied airspace, radar-silent ambush tactics, etc.
With only 20 minutes flight time? ??? And the two AIM-120s and their launch rails would be pretty obvious on radar I'd think.
 

Colonial-Marine

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I think we'd be better off simply concentrating on an AMRAAM successor of roughly the same size before concepts like this. New seeker, propulsion section (maybe VFDR), that sort of thing.
 

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sferrin said:
TomS said:
Offensive counter-air sweeps in denied airspace, radar-silent ambush tactics, etc.
With only 20 minutes flight time? ??? And the two AIM-120s and their launch rails would be pretty obvious on radar I'd think.
Sure. More as a way to get at enemy aircraft lurking inside defended airspace. Non-stealth fighters could work along the edges of the defended space, toss a couple of FMRs in and then use those missiles to engage from unexpected angles (since the FMR is small and non-emitting by design if not actually stealthy).
 

GTX

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Now modify this to be able to be carried and recovered by something like a C-17 or other platform and you could have something...
 

stealthflanker

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why i'm thinking longer range missile would be better. Maybe like adding booster in AMRAAM.

How many of this FMR can be carried ?
 

TomcatViP

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Booster imparts a structural beefing-up of the missile structure. At 40g loading and high buffeting range, the modifications are not marginal.

It also involves risk in separation. A missile flies hundred of hours in a captive position. This is not space sciences. You need reliability out of the statistical lottery.

With 20min of flight time (even in a boost-glide configuration) at Mach 0.9, this is roughly a range of 300km. Just imagine a volley of this launched from a bunch of F15/16 and you can have a pair of Raptor covering a large zone and designating everything that flies-in without even taking the risk to compromise their position.

Range can be also converted with persistance. FMR acting as an ambush weapon either for A2A or A2G targets (Think 262 and P51s).

 

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stealthflanker said:
why i'm thinking longer range missile would be better. Maybe like adding booster in AMRAAM.
A conventional long range missile isn't very aerodynamically efficient and will conduct most of its (effective) flight at fairly high speeds. So the target has to pretty much be be fully acquired before launch. The FMR would give the missiles some ability to loiter (allowing their deployment before acquisition is complete, and potentially allowing them to be deployed at long range and the missiles fired at medium ranges where their PK is higher).
 

Triton

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"DARPA's 'Flying Missile Rail' Seems To Be More About Manufacturing Than Combat"
by Tyler Rogoway
September 7, 2017

Source:
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/14161/darpas-flying-missile-rail-seems-to-be-more-about-manufacturing-than-combat
 

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stealthflanker

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Avimimus said:
A conventional long range missile isn't very aerodynamically efficient and will conduct most of its (effective) flight at fairly high speeds. So the target has to pretty much be be fully acquired before launch. The FMR would give the missiles some ability to loiter (allowing their deployment before acquisition is complete, and potentially allowing them to be deployed at long range and the missiles fired at medium ranges where their PK is higher).
and when the target is not acquired or false alarm or the FMR is not in the right position to engage.. Can the flying FMR be retrieved by carrying aircraft ?

I don't see any difference between FMR or conventional missiles in terms of acquisition.
 

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I'm wondering if there might not be some potential for something akin to an ALARM-like role for this, but counter-air rather than counter-air defences. The last thing a fighter sweep wants to do is hang around in double-digit defended airspace if they're supposed to suppress enemy airbases while a strike package ingresses/egresses past them, but this potentially lets them do that while remaining outside of the defensive missile envelope. Knowing there's an AMRAAM waiting at the end of the runway has to be somewhat discouraging to even the most gung-ho interceptor pilot.

And if you hang something like T3, or DRADM, off it, rather than AMRAAM, then the ALARM similarities become even more striking.
 

stealthflanker

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DWG said:
And if you hang something like T3, or DRADM, off it, rather than AMRAAM, then the ALARM similarities become even more striking.
Then, what prevent the enemy from shooting down the FMR and do his thing as usual ?
 

DWG

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The whole point of ALARM was to challenge the enemy to do just that. While the missile loiters overhead you have the options of going radar silent, or radiating and immediately taking an ARM down your throat. That's just as applicable with any-dual role AAM/ARM concept such as T3 or DRADM, or a plain old-fashioned HARM, hanging off an FMR as it was with ALARM's parachute. And a dual role missile also opens up potential suppression of enemy aircraft.

In effect this converts any weapon into a loitering one, and DEAD is in some forms a simpler targetting solution than Air-Air - if it radiates and it's in the threat library, shoot it, where Air-Air might prefer man in the loop control.
 

_Del_

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I guess this would get even more interesting if it was a "triple threat" missile. Lobbing some towards airfields and taking advantage of enemies with low energy potential as mentioned above might be promising, too.
Still seems questionable to me as something other than "niche" use.
 

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Then, what prevent the enemy from shooting down the FMR and do his thing as usual ?
FMR is smaller than conventional airplane so the rcs and Ir signature will be lower, so it is harder to detect and shot them down. And when missile is launched, there is great IR signature at launch point that can lead to detection of the platform by thermal system, FMR will deal with that.
 
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