Diehl FCAAM - An LO WVR AAM - Updated IRIS-T or new missile?

timmymagic

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FCAAM has also been displayed at Eurosatory.


View: https://twitter.com/FeWoessner/status/1537007717495324672


Article in Wehr Technik with a couple more pictures..


Text from Wehr technik

On the occasion of the Eurosatory, Diehl Defense will show the IRIS-T as the European short-range air-to-air missile. This is integrated in 11 user states on a wide variety of aircraft. The 5th generation is currently in use and in production.

A possible successor - practically the 6th generation - for the FCAS (Future Combat Aircraft System) or NGWS (Next Generation Weapon System) project could be the IRIS-T FCAAM (Future Combat Air-to-Air Missile) shown. The philosophy of the current IRIS-T should remain the same. The FCAAM will also be a short-to-medium range multi-mode air-to-air missile. They too have like an infrared seeker, but a new motor concept with dual or multi-pulse. The speed is expected to be only slightly higher than the current generation. But she will be able to absorb more G-forces and thus be even more agile.

What will be new will be the missile's stealth characteristics, with extremely low signature, plus a LINK communication link (one-way or two-way link to be determined). With a two-way LINK, it could also communicate directly with the aircraft or other effectors. FCAAM is currently a concept study.
 
That is one of the strangest looking AAMs I've ever seen.
If its stealthy it could make some sense, not just for external carriage, but also for not being picked up by radars when launched.

There's nothing stealthy about that shape.

It looks like a primitive lifting body mock up if anything. Since FCAAM isn't a hypersonic missile it's not very important though, but it could for improved coasting so a dual-pulse rocket motor can provide both range and end game energy. I suspect FCAAM doesn't actually exist in any form, except as a budget item at the moment, so they threw together something that "looks futuristic". It's a Franco-German-Spanish system though, these are the B-team of European missile industry, with the AAA-team being the UK.

So it naturally looks like it came from 1985 instead of anything actually modern, because a funky looking model at a trade show is far more important in showing that Diehl is a trendsetter rather than a coattail chaser. It's like something out of a Bill Gunston book or what a tabletop RPG artist might consider a future missile after seeing HAVE DASH.

Perhaps Diehl is just desperately trying to not look like they're going to make ASRAAM -A only 20 years late, when Britain is making Block 6? My suspicion is that the actual IRIS-T FCAAM will probably look very similar to ASRAAM or Python 5, depending on whether the Luftwaffe still puts maneuverability on top of speed, and no one wants to be boring at a trade show.

Alternatively, it could be they're making a lifting body design akin to AARGM-ER, but like a zillion times uglier, and more maneuverable, which would explain the bizarre canards and big chined strakes. AARGM-ER's cylindrical shape with the strakes is probably far more economical to boot, which is my main issue with the weird shape of the mockup. Not sure what the purpose of a faceted nose is, unless it's some sort of multimode seeker that's trying to avoid the dolphin nose of Stunner, but I suspect ASRAAM Block 6 will eat that market before it drops anyway.

No more disastrous ITAR interference to stop them this time.

tl;dr Missile looks like a lifting body trying to add range to IRIS-T's otherwise impressive maneuverability rather than stealth.
 
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Perhaps Diehl is just desperately trying to not look like they're going to make ASRAAM -A only 20 years late, when Britain is making Block 6? My suspicion is that the actual IRIS-T FCAAM will probably look very similar to ASRAAM or Python 5, depending on whether the Luftwaffe still puts maneuverability on top of speed, and no one wants to be boring at a trade show.
Can you tell what make ASRAAM Block 6 so good?
 
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Found a shot of the back end, which suggests something unusual about propulsion, possibly separate propulsion motors that would fire late in flight for end-game maneuverability (per the article).

Source: https://www.edrmagazine.eu/iris-t-fcaam-the-future-sraam-6th-generation-missile-by-diehl-defence

Diehl-FCAMM_05.jpg
 
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Can you tell what make ASRAAM Block 6 so good?
It's got the most advanced seeker of any AAM (AIM-9X uses the original Asraam seeker from the late 80's/early 90's) and only entered service in 2022.

Asraam's concept of sustained high speed, high acceleration and long range appears, increasingly, to have been the correct approach to modern 'WVR' AAM's. Pretty much everything else went to super manoeuverability in response to AA-11 with range less of a concern. Pretty much all of the competitors are either developing longer ranged missiles now or looking for ways to extend range and end game performance (like 9X for example). Which kind of validates the research and approach that the UK followed (remember the UK went down the extreme manoeuverability route before everyone else with Taildog and SRAAM, but then went for a different concept). Asraam has also been undertaking realistic LOAL and 'over the shoulder' shots over a decade before other missiles (some of which have never even attempted it).
 
Just thinking about it....just wondering what the market for FCAAM would actually be?

Its not going to be on F-35...
It's not going to be on NGAD...
Its not going to be on Tempest...
Does IRIS-T SL need a very expensive LO missile? No...
By the time it arrives no-one will pay for integration on legacy jets like F-16...

So that leaves SCAF, which is on shaky ground at the moment, Germany's Typhoon and possibly a very small fleet of Gripen.....and even then the French will have their own missile, and Brazil is likely not to require anything more advanced than existing IRIS-T for its local needs (they'll have Meteor as well, but A-Darter has been abandoned). Are Germany's needs, potentially with small orders from Spain, Sweden and Brazil sufficient to make development worthwhile??

Is there any realistic market at all for it?

I wouldn't put it past Germany to just develop it for their own needs at colossal expense however...(PARS-3 says hello...)...but you'd have thought they would have learnt that lesson not to...
 
Pars-3 wasnt a German only Programm at the start. And i think this is more of a Concept of what could be possible in this Design or Not. The Things that matter can allways be applied to Iris-T which is integrated in a large fleet. Don't forget some may be Open for cooperation and Iris-T SL gets a good User base right now
 
It's got the most advanced seeker of any AAM (AIM-9X uses the original Asraam seeker from the late 80's/early 90's) and only entered service in 2022.

Asraam's concept of sustained high speed, high acceleration and long range appears, increasingly, to have been the correct approach to modern 'WVR' AAM's. Pretty much everything else went to super manoeuverability in response to AA-11 with range less of a concern. Pretty much all of the competitors are either developing longer ranged missiles now or looking for ways to extend range and end game performance (like 9X for example). Which kind of validates the research and approach that the UK followed (remember the UK went down the extreme manoeuverability route before everyone else with Taildog and SRAAM, but then went for a different concept). Asraam has also been undertaking realistic LOAL and 'over the shoulder' shots over a decade before other missiles (some of which have never even attempted it).
It's really too bad that the UK didn't develop Taildog to deployment. A "gun that shoots around corners" in the 100-150lb weight class would be lighter than an M61 or BK27 with 4 bursts of ammunition.
 
A sighting of FCAAM on a model Remote Carrier (and Typhoon)....clearly aimed at Germany's Tranche 5 buy...

Note the new 'FCAAM Halfbay' design....clearly taking notes from MBDA's half sized Asraam shape seen with the Tempest mock-up in 2021....

Not sure whose stand it is....but its not MBDA as there are Diehl, Saab, IMI and Boeing products there....and Meteor and Amraam are noticeable by their absence...guess we'll find out later...

Absolutely no idea what Feanix is either...apparently its Diehl's as well.

View: https://imgur.com/a/ApOWVkH


View: https://twitter.com/GarethJennings3/status/1797915810343915987?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet
 
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Not sure whose stand it is....but its not MBDA as there are Diehl, Saab, IMI and Boeing products there....and Meteor and Amraam are noticeable by their absence...guess we'll find out later...
Likely its the Diehl stand:
Diehl is Project Manager for German GBU-54, Saabs Partner on the RBS-15 and offered a German production line for Spice 250 together with Rafael and Hensoldt.
German Press also reported that Diehl would show a new Remote Carrier Concept, so that also fits.
The Model highlights an advantage of Diehls flat FCAAM design: Very compact storage in an internal weapons bay.
OTOH it is interesting that the FCAAMs the Typhoon carries, are attached orthogonal to the wing.
 
The external ones look a lot longer than the internal carried full size, just comparing length/width.
In the image timmymagic posted, the external ones are 214 pixels long and the internally carried ones 220 pixels long. So they are probably the exact same size with the perspective causing the small difference.
 
From a quick eyeball it looks the same size relative to the FEANIX in both shots.
 

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