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Defense against Hypersonic Glide Vehicles

sferrin

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Just starting a generic thread here to discuss possibilities and programs. Saw the following in an AvWeek article:

"These include a new family of interceptor missiles called SkyFire proposed by Raytheon; hypervelocity projectiles designed by General Atomics, Boeing and BAE Systems; a laser gun offered by Boeing; and electronic attack systems conceptualized by Northrop Grumman, L3 Technologies and Lockheed. Lockheed also has proposed a full range of new interceptors, including a space-based system, an air-launched missile and the “Valkyrie” for terminal hypersonic defense. "

http://aviationweek.com/defense/top-us-hypersonic-weapon-program-facing-new-schedule-pressure#comment-1090641


Anybody know anything about these?
 

Orionblamblam

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sferrin said:
a laser gun offered by Boeing;
I have doubts about the utility of lasers against hypersonic weapons. Not only do they have to punch through a potentially incandescent leading edge shockwave they also have to damage structures that are *designed* for high thermal and structural loading.
 

Trident

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Said structures are operating in a thermal environment which is already challenging to begin with though, so there might not be a lot of margin to bear additional heat load. The straw which breaks the camel's back...

I do agree about the optical challenges imposed by hypersonic flow past the target - lasers currently seem to have quite enough problems dealing with normal atmospheric distortion and turbulence.
 

sublight is back

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Trident said:
.....seem to have quite enough problems dealing with normal atmospheric distortion and turbulence.
Only if they are coming from the terrestrial side.... ;)
 

sferrin

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Even radar has problems getting through the plasma layer. With Sprint they needed quite a bit of power to communicate through it. I would think it would be even more difficult for a much shorter wavelength laser.
 

Orionblamblam

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Trident said:
Said structures are operating in a thermal environment which is already challenging to begin with though, so there might not be a lot of margin to bear additional heat load. The straw which breaks the camel's back...
*IF* the thing is flying fast enough to create an incandescent gas layer, then it has a pretty good shield against lasers. A gas that is transparent to visible or IR becomes very, VERY opaque to visible or IR if it's glowing. So a laser would strike that and heat up the outer layer of the gas, but little to none of that energy would likely punch through to the vehicle.

Of course it's a safe bet that the incandescent "shield" will only cover leading edges, not the whole thing. So a strike at the side might work. But head-on, the laser has a challenge.
 

jeffb

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Would there be any benefit to disturbing the air ahead of the object? Aim to create a series of detonations ahead of or beside the vehicle timed to disrupt the plasma or induce a tumble.
 

starviking

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Orionblamblam said:
*IF* the thing is flying fast enough to create an incandescent gas layer, then it has a pretty good shield against lasers. A gas that is transparent to visible or IR becomes very, VERY opaque to visible or IR if it's glowing. So a laser would strike that and heat up the outer layer of the gas, but little to none of that energy would likely punch through to the vehicle.

Of course it's a safe bet that the incandescent "shield" will only cover leading edges, not the whole thing. So a strike at the side might work. But head-on, the laser has a challenge.
Heating the outer layer should have some effect on the pressure & volume of the outer layer - which could have some effect on the aerodynamics of the HGV.
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
Even radar has problems getting through the plasma layer. With Sprint they needed quite a bit of power to communicate through it. I would think it would be even more difficult for a much shorter wavelength laser.
I thought that plasma sheaths were actually more permeable to shorter wavelengths...
 

Trident

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Orionblamblam said:
*IF* the thing is flying fast enough to create an incandescent gas layer, then it has a pretty good shield against lasers. A gas that is transparent to visible or IR becomes very, VERY opaque to visible or IR if it's glowing. So a laser would strike that and heat up the outer layer of the gas, but little to none of that energy would likely punch through to the vehicle.
Concur, as I said. A laser-based HGV defence faces a big hurdle, but (in my view) it's the hypersonic flow, not the vehicle structure.

starviking said:
Heating the outer layer should have some effect on the pressure & volume of the outer layer - which could have some effect on the aerodynamics of the HGV.
The 21st century equivalent of toppling V1s? Certainly an interesting idea.
 

TomcatViP

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We wrote about this idea some time ago.

You have to keep in mind that the boundary layer of an HGV is predominantly driven by the surface temperature and the Reynolds number.*
By playing randomly with the temperature of the body surface you can probably destabilize the vehicle, overloading its ctrl computer.

As I wrote much earlier, its then light speed Vs signal speed


*There are some certainly other trick to play like like coupling a laser and a pulsed HPMW to have a burst effect turning the smooth ride to something like navigating on a sea of popping popcorn ;)
 

marauder2048

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Given that the control system has to be able to respond to destabilizations due to random/un-even
ablation anyway I tend to think the dwell times are going to be close to what RAND
was suggesting is the typical timeline for burn through against HGVs (several tens of seconds).
 

Orionblamblam

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marauder2048 said:
Given that the control system has to be able to respond to destabilizations due to random/un-even
ablation anyway
Birds, bugs, rain, hail, clouds, smoke, dust. Never mind various forms of "wind."
 

fredymac

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I always associated plasma sheaths with deliberate deceleration. How much range can you maintain while simultaneously generating a shock wave strong enough to ionize air? What is the flight profile of an HGV? For any significant range will it be mainly above the atmosphere and only come down to skip/maneuver during course changes?
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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Meet the new keywords: SM3-HAWK, HYVINT, Dart, Valkyrie Interceptor

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded a competitive firm-fixed-price contract. The total value of this contract is $4,445,140. Under this new contract, the contractor will further develop and refine their Hypersonic Defense Weapon Systems Concept Definition White Paper titled "SM3-HAWK". The work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona with an estimated completion date of May 2, 2020. The performance period is from Sept 3, 2019 through May 2, 2020.

https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opp...126a2f6d488e39366bef6&tab=core&tabmode=list&=
Lockheed Martin Systems, Sunnyvale, California, is being awarded a competitive firm-fixed-price contract. The total value of this contract is $4.512,136. Under this new contract, the contractor will further develop and refine their Hypersonic Defense Weapon Systems Concept Definition White Paper titled "Hypersonic Defense Weapon System Concept - Dart". The work will be performed in Sunnyvale, California with an estimated completion date of May 2, 2020. The performance period is from of Sept 3, 2019 through May 2, 2020.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=8a5141b00a4bd990d317a59b5d48f13a
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Grand Prairie, Texas, is being awarded a competitive firm-fixed-price contract. The total value of this contract is $4.441,998. Under this new contract, the contractor will further develop and refine their Hypersonic Defense Weapon Systems Concept Definition White Paper titled "Valkyrie Interceptor Terminal Hypersonic Defense". The work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas with an estimated completion date of May 2, 2020. The performance period is from Sept 3, 2019 through May 2, 2020.

https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opp...71ca0680c90ae98cea477df4e45&tab=core&_cview=0
The Boeing Company, Huntsville, Alabama, is being awarded a competitive firm-fixed-price contract. The total value of this contract is $4,356,864. Under this new contract, the contractor will further develop and refine their Hypersonic Defense Weapon Systems Concept Definition White Paper titled "Hypervelocity Interceptor (HYVINT) Concept for Hypersonic Weapons". The work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama with an estimated completion date of May 2, 2020. The performance period is from Sept 3, 2019 through May 2, 2020.

https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opp...a9b2269268b02fe934027bb02c5&tab=core&_cview=0
 
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Moose

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Brilliant Pebbles - hit the launch vehicle pre-deployment.
I don't imagine the concept works as well in the atmosphere, and SM3 isn't what you'd use to launch a persistent system like BP.
 

Forest Green

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I don't imagine the concept works as well in the atmosphere, and SM3 isn't what you'd use to launch a persistent system like BP.
Many HGV/MaRV launch vehicles go exo-atmospheric pre-deployment, in fact more do than don't, especially in the case of DF-21Ds and DF-26s. I'm sure the KKVs could be adapted for high atmospheric use though if you adopted a similar design to SM-3 HAWK.

You would use reusable LVs to launch the system.
 

jsport

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Would there be any benefit to disturbing the air ahead of the object? Aim to create a series of detonations ahead of or beside the vehicle timed to disrupt the plasma or induce a tumble.
A laser induced plasma channel might be able to cause continuous explosions in front of the object.
 

antigravite

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Would there be any benefit to disturbing the air ahead of the object? Aim to create a series of detonations ahead of or beside the vehicle timed to disrupt the plasma or induce a tumble.
A laser induced plasma channel might be able to cause continuous explosions in front of the object.
hmmm This seems to be the working proposal of Rimili Avramenko’s old Soviet concept for the Planeta plasma-air pocket ABM defense system, revived in the early 1990s as the Doverie proposal...
A
 

TomcatViP

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This and BL tempering through frequency driven heat injection (mainly laser).
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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Fire control radar interferometer test bed for Hypervelocity Terminal Defense Fire Control

Three receive antennas on vertices of a 10 meter baseline equilateral triangle provides measurement accuracy required to command guide gun launched projectile interceptors to direct hit-to- kill impact of incoming ballistic missile targets.

 

dan_inbox

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Who needed to publish this kind of information? Moles?
Can't help but wonder how much damage is done to national security by stooopid marketers blabbing.
Greed is greed and is the essence of our capitalistic system, yes, but ...
 

sferrin

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Who needed to publish this kind of information? Moles?
Can't help but wonder how much damage is done to national security by stooopid marketers blabbing.
Greed is greed and is the essence of our capitalistic system, yes, but ...

Given China's data pipeline into virtually everything the US has to hide I doubt this came as a revelation to them.
 

edwest

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China needs easy access.... not.
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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The Missile Defense Agency awarded Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Leidos and L3Harris each a $20 million contract to design space sensors that can track hypersonic and ballistic missiles, the agency announced Oct. 29.

The four bids were selected from a total of 12 submitted for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program, MDA said. The bids were solicited by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Enterprise Consortium on behalf of MDA.

The Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program was previously known as the Space Sensor Layer.

Under the contract, each company has to design a prototype sensor payload by Oct. 31, 2020.

Karako called the MDA contract awards a step in the right direction. “It’s good that we’re moving out on the mission,” he told SpaceNews Oct. 30. “Time is ticking by. The need for hypersonic and ballistic missile tracking is now.”

 
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edwest

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Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the Space Sensor Layer is fully operational? And Layer Two is just coming online?
 

AN/AWW-14(V)

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Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Redondo Beach, California, has been awarded a $13,006,683 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the base period of the Glide Breaker program. This contract provides for the research, development and demonstration of a technology that is critical for enabling an advanced interceptor capable of engaging maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere. Work will be performed in Redondo Beach, California (73%); Mesa, Arizona (21%); Sacramento, California (4%); and Huntsville, Alabama (2%), with an estimated completion date of January 2021.

 

rooster

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So they are pursuing another systèmes of missiles to hit missiles? Or rather to hit maneuvering hypersonics. That seems like the least reliable method by judging from the ground based interceptor system. Wouldn't lasers be more effective and longer ranged? Plus you have multiple shots if the first misses.
 

edwest

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Lasers would be best, both for tracking and shoot down. However, a backup would help ensure a successful intercept.
 

panzerfeist1

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Currently there are no lasers yet planned to be fielded to intercept ballistic, let alone HGVs as far as I know. Hypersonic targets already have pretty good heat shields, and depending on the distance of the laser trying to hit it that would be quite a challenge. Probably a mobile nuclear reactor might be good start before having plans of hitting hypersonic targets.
 

Forest Green

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Currently there are no lasers yet planned to be fielded to intercept ballistic, let alone HGVs as far as I know. Hypersonic targets already have pretty good heat shields, and depending on the distance of the laser trying to hit it that would be quite a challenge. Probably a mobile nuclear reactor might be good start before having plans of hitting hypersonic targets.
It might be easier than you think. HGV bodies are already under a lot of stress, even the slightest damage would send it out of control, and a little added heat to something already heated near the limit would surely cause damage.
 

bring_it_on

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Currently there are no lasers yet planned to be fielded to intercept ballistic, let alone HGVs as far as I know. Hypersonic targets already have pretty good heat shields, and depending on the distance of the laser trying to hit it that would be quite a challenge. Probably a mobile nuclear reactor might be good start before having plans of hitting hypersonic targets.
It might be easier than you think. HGV bodies are already under a lot of stress, even the slightest damage would send it out of control, and a little added heat to something already heated near the limit would surely cause damage.
It also imposes design costs on your adversary which is an important considerations as well.
 
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