HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) and HACM (Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile)

sferrin

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That’s what HAWC is doing with its six flight tests and two performers. It’s weapon transition program is conducting its PDR and will likely include as many or more flight tests as part of its development.
Now compare that to this:

To be fair, Russia is simply far ahead of US when it come to hypersonic weapon , they also have more experience fielding several type of supersonic ramjet cruise missiles so that probably help a lot in the development of hypersonic programs
Considering the last ramjet the US deployed was Talos that's a gross understatement.
The Russians have the advantage in supersonic, but that's because the US went a different route and focused on stealth. There really hasn't been much to validate whichever side was correct, except for stealth continuing to be developed, while hypersonics have overshadowed supersonics.

For the Russians supposedly being ahead they and being so publicly boisterous about it, they are awfully coy on their plans and progress to actually field the systems.
As I understand it, several platform types are to receive Zircon. Then there's China. Apparently the DF-17, and others, are already fielded.
 

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The DF-17 is the main threat system / competitor IMHO. And yes, fielded or not they are more advance in terms of having an inventory. But we’re a short time from INF withdrawal so it will take some time to field MRC and LRHW capability. But the LRHW is going fine and the first battery is being fielded so I’m not sure what else they can do. On the AL side, fielding the ARRW in 2023, and HACM by 2026 would be a big thing especially if they can size up the latter to fielded in large numbers across the bomber and strike fighter fleet.
 
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Josh_TN

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DF-17 uses a particularly large glide vehicle and booster, at least compared to CPS/LRHW. Is this due to technology or doctrine? Is it easier to make a large glider stable at speed? Or is it just that the PRS target set (airbases and CVNs) is perceived to require a bigger hammer? The US target set seams to be small relocatable assets-radars, command posts, opponent mobile BM launchers, etc. A small glider seems workable. Presumably a very small bursting charge can create a relatively large frag pattern using the gliders KE with a suitable HOB fuse.
 

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The different motivations put forward by defense officials raise questions about whether specific military requirements are driving US development decisions — or if the main driver is to weaponize the technology now and figure out specific roles and missions later.​
 

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View: https://twitter.com/IntelWalrus/status/1442589318661423106

On September 19th, it was pointed out by
@Marco_Langbroek
that something was being tested in the pacific off of Point Mugu NAS with a range of Sep 24th-Oct 1st. The navigational warning matched the type typical of a missile test.
1.jpg
On September 24th,
@ameliairheart
noticed an unusual testbed aircraft flying near Point Mugu, N515JA, a specially modified Gulfstream IV which contains a "Special Mission Laser Modification" hidden behind a specially installed window.
2.jpg

This modification has been identified by
@engelsjk
as likely being associated with the Air Force's High-Altitude LIDAR Atmospheric Sensing system (HALAS) which is intended for use in hypersonic missile testing. https://engelsjk.com/posts/n515ja-a-most-unusual-gulfstream/
3.jpg
The timing and location of N515JA's flight on the 24th match the conditions described in the above navigational warning. Together this could reveal the site & time of the HAWC test & might be the first operational test of the HALAS system to track a hypersonic missile as well.
4.jpg

Another clue the test took place here is that the Missile Defense Agency's Tracking and Telemetry ship, MV Pacific Collector was spotted leaving Portland on the 17th (by @AirAssets) and was just seen pulling into Honolulu today. (@WarshipCam) Watching the missile on the 24th?
5.jpg
6.png
 
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It is possible that they do another couple of HAWC tests before year end given that the AGM-183A tests have been pushed back to "end of year at the earliest". This could allow them to finish all of their planned flight testing on HAWC by early-mid next year which bodes well for HACM since they plan on standing that program up around the same timeframe. In total they have five scramjet powered flight tests left in the program.
 

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The X-51 actually did LESS than this ramjet did.
The X-51 was a science project testing scramjets.

A separating booster doesn’t preclude an IRR, as I understand it. But so long as the length and launch weight are ballpark AGM-86, I think we have a winner. SciFire or the USN program can focus on miniaturization.
USN needs 15 feet or less. A shame they didn't know the USN wanted in on this.
Would imagine that the weapons elevator requirement would hold back the program a little too much, so USAF was happy to go it alone with DARPA.
Scramjets burning hydrocarbons need longer combustion chambers to completely burn the fuel, and it is possible that an integral rocket booster was impractical to get the weapon up to the speeds and altitudes necessary. HAWC, and likely HACM behind it, appears to be a pure scramjet with no moving parts (the entire combustor is 3D printed which implies a non variable chamber - I guess the inlet could be variable). I think the USAF is going for lower cost and simplicity/ease of manufacture and is willing to swallow a heavier, longer weapon to do so. Once they mass produce it, there's really no reason it couldn't be in the same cost range as a conventional cruise missile. Shorter tactical weapons likely will need to be dual mode ram/scramjets using an integral booster, and that likely takes a lot more testing, moving parts, and cost per round to get that shorter size.

I do rather wonder why they didn't just say Mach 4 is good enough and resurrect the ASALM for tactical aircraft.
 

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I do rather wonder why they didn't just say Mach 4 is good enough and resurrect the ASALM for tactical aircraft.


yes
 

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I do rather wonder why they didn't just say Mach 4 is good enough and resurrect the ASALM for tactical aircraft.
If Mach 3- 4 is enough then they also can just buy KH-31 , ASM-3 or ASMP design
 

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The US Navy wants Mach 5 as the floor and has allowed vendors for its Screaming Arrow program to present non scramjet options if they think they can meet its requirements. Separately, the Navy has budgeted for exploring developing a new stage rocket motor to allow something like the HACM to be carried aboard its AC's. The vendors will deliver it a scramjet weapon if that is what they want but they have to align on all requirements and programs like Screaming Arrow and others will identify those requirements to balance performance with cost.
 

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The US Navy wants Mach 5 as the floor and has allowed vendors for its Screaming Arrow program to present non scramjet options if they think they can meet its requirements. Separately, the Navy has budgeted for exploring developing a new stage rocket motor to allow something like the HACM to be carried aboard its AC's. The vendors will deliver it a scramjet weapon if that is what they want but they have to align on all requirements and programs like Screaming Arrow and others will identify those requirements to balance performance with cost.
The constraint is the length that the weapon elevators can handle.
 

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The US Navy wants Mach 5 as the floor and has allowed vendors for its Screaming Arrow program to present non scramjet options if they think they can meet its requirements. Separately, the Navy has budgeted for exploring developing a new stage rocket motor to allow something like the HACM to be carried aboard its AC's. The vendors will deliver it a scramjet weapon if that is what they want but they have to align on all requirements and programs like Screaming Arrow and others will identify those requirements to balance performance with cost.
The constraint is the length that the weapon elevators can handle.

That's correct, and it is only a constraint if the Navy was to reuse the AF HAWC or HACM that wasn't designed against its elevator requirements as has been discussed over the past months here. Set those constraints aside, and the will have vendors design their solution to Navy's requirements. Which is what the Screaming Arrow and other efforts seek to fund.
 

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The US Navy wants Mach 5 as the floor and has allowed vendors for its Screaming Arrow program to present non scramjet options if they think they can meet its requirements. Separately, the Navy has budgeted for exploring developing a new stage rocket motor to allow something like the HACM to be carried aboard its AC's. The vendors will deliver it a scramjet weapon if that is what they want but they have to align on all requirements and programs like Screaming Arrow and others will identify those requirements to balance performance with cost.
The constraint is the length that the weapon elevators can handle.
To be honest though, how hard is it to lengthen or expanding the evelator a little bit?. Seem so much easier and better than putting some constraint on a small hypersonic weapon
 

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They are simply asking for a 15 ft naval hypersonic weapon. OEM's have delivered weapons that comply with the requirement for decades. The only reason HAWC wasn't sized for that was because the Navy was not a part of the project (just USAF and DARPA). The Navy isn't about to cut open its carriers and lengthen the weapon elevators for just one weapon. That would be foolish and a fairly significant drain on resources and readiness.
 

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They aren't putting any constraint on the weapon. They are simply asking for a 15 ft naval hypersonic weapon. OEM's have delivered weapons that comply with the requirement for decades. The only reason HAWC wasn't sized for that was because the Navy was not a part of the project (just USAF and DARPA).
From "no length limit" to " shorter than 15 feet" sound like a constraint to me
At least, HAWC computer simulation is done, the physical fly test has been done at least once. So at very least, they kinda know that with current shape and size, it can work.
But with new length limit, either they have to redesign the booster stage or the scramjet part, either option will further delay the development time compared to using the current long HAWC design. because they have to run the test and simulation again


The Navy isn't about to cut open its carriers and lengthen the weapon elevators for just one weapon. That would be foolish and a fairly significant drain on resources and readiness.
Didn't they want to cut open and take the gun out of DDG-1000 to install hypersonic weapon like PGS or sth like that?
They also modified 5 Ohio class so that they can carry tomahawk instead on Trident-II, and if i remember correctly Virginia class submarine also receive some modification to carry more tomahawk and hypersonic missile
So modify or extending the size of the elevator on carrier doesn't seem that hard or costly in comparison.
The elevator don't seem that huge anyway
I 'm skeptical that extending the elevator size is harder or costlier than making a hypersonic weapon shorter
aaa.JPG
 

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From "no length limit" to " shorter than 15 feet" sound like a constraint to me

Whatever you design would be a constraint. If they ask for 20 ft it would be constraint as well. What I meant was that as part of their requirement, they are asking that the weapon comply with standard Navy requirements which are known to industry as each potential OEM has delivered several weapons to the Navy before. This isn't new. HAWC was not sized for the AC because the Navy chose not to be a part of the program. The Navy has, as an option, asked to see if they can develop a new booster for the weapon so that they can use it. At the same time, they aren't restricting themselves to just that Air Force lab and DARPA program. They have several S&T, and R&D efforts where they are leveraging OSD efforts, and their own investments to develop something suitable for the Super Hornet and their Aircraft carriers.

either option will further delay the development time compared to using the current long HAWC design.

The Navy is ok if any of the HAWC vendors wants to leverage HAWC. What timeline are we talking about here? The Navy does not have an operational program with a timeline. Only the AF does. The Navy has a broad R&D program and may in the future spiral that into a formal weapons program depending on what results they get. In addition to the SA effort, Boeing is also months into its development of Spear, and has received a couple of follow on awards on that contract. So unlike HACM, which is a weapons program that starts in FY-22, the Navy does not have such effort that fields within the next FYDP (unlike the AF). So all these efforts perfectly fit their "timelines" that would appear to be much further out than the USAF. Which makes sense given the Navy has just recently started to buy JASSM-ER's (2022 budget) and will likely only beginning buying a new expensive cruise missile towards the end of the decade of not in the early 2030s.

Didn't they want to cut open and take the gun out of DDG-1000 to install hypersonic weapon like PGS or sth like that?

You mean the guns that aren't used on the platform and that would have otherwise remained dormant? On a paltform that the Navy has yet to operationally deploy? Yes. They are doing so to stay within reasonable limits of the Congressional ask to field Prompt strike capability. That's totally different than adding a ton of work to the already taxed operational CVN fleet (not to mention those under construction).

I 'm skeptical that extending the elevator size is harder or costlier than making a hypersonic weapon shorter

Do present your thesis and cost estimates.
 
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Changing elevator sizes would be an absolutely massive undertaking. Those shafts connect the hanger deck (or flight deck on Ford) with the lowest compartments of the ship. Comparatively speaking the Zoomies are only three ships that are tasked with anything and have a huge pile of dead space. Though IMO giving them CPS is a pretty desperate attempt to put lipstick on a pig. But at least there’s no impact to regular deployments taking those ships out of service; they’re already missionless orphans.
 

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Changing elevator sizes would be an absolutely massive undertaking. Those shafts connect the hanger deck (or flight deck on Ford) with the lowest compartments of the ship. Comparatively speaking the Zoomies are only three ships that are tasked with anything and have a huge pile of dead space. Though IMO giving them CPS is a pretty desperate attempt to put lipstick on a pig. But at least there’s no impact to regular deployments taking those ships out of service; they’re already missionless orphans.
Look how long it took to repair as built.

Aren’t they armored from top to bottom because of what they carry? Cutting all that away and then replacing it again does seem like it would be incredibly invasive and difficult.

This may seem like a dumb question. In time of war couldn’t you put an oversized weapon on the aircraft elevators if pressed?

P.s. There’s holes in my thinking but this is strictly a hypothetical question
 

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Changing elevator sizes would be an absolutely massive undertaking. Those shafts connect the hanger deck (or flight deck on Ford) with the lowest compartments of the ship. Comparatively speaking the Zoomies are only three ships that are tasked with anything and have a huge pile of dead space. Though IMO giving them CPS is a pretty desperate attempt to put lipstick on a pig. But at least there’s no impact to regular deployments taking those ships out of service; they’re already missionless orphans.
Look how long it took to repair as built.

Aren’t they armored from top to bottom because of what they carry? Cutting all that away and then replacing it again does seem like it would be incredibly invasive and difficult.

This may seem like a dumb question. In time of war couldn’t you put an oversized weapon on the aircraft elevators if pressed?

P.s. There’s holes in my thinking but this is strictly a hypothetical question
Are there height limits to the elevators?
 

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