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Navy Seeks Rail Guns, Lasers, Cruise Missiles To Improve Pacific Firepower

bring_it_on

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GA-EMS to test 10 MJ railgun in early 2018



General Atomics Electro Magnetic Systems (GA-EMS) is assembling a 10 MJ railgun in preparation for shipping to Utah, where the company will begin readying the weapon system for testing in 2018.

In addition, GA-EMS announced in May that it had successfully tested its hypersonic projectile, which has been fitted with an enhanced guidance electronics unit (GEU) containing a new battery configuration. The tests were conducted using GA-EMS' 3 MJ Blitzer railgun system at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

During the test, GA-EMS demonstrated a continuous two-way datalink that enables target information between the in-flight projectile and a ground station to be updated.

"Everything communicated, it was still operating when it landed 7 km away from our launch point – and it communicated in-flight, which is exactly what we were trying to achieve," GA-EMS president Scott Forney told Jane's .

Besides the GEU tests, the company stated that it had also demonstrated a new lightweight composite sabot, achieving successful sabot separation and maintaining in-bore structural integrity at high acceleration levels.

The projectile that will be launched later this year from the 10 MJ railgun will be twice as long as that fired from the 3 MJ gun, Forney noted.

For the past two years GA-EMS has been undertaking risk reduction testing on its 3 MJ gun. While the testing was to prove the railgun concept and pulse power capability, the company was unable to test their highly manoeuvrable projectile – which was loaded with electronics – because the 3 MJ launcher was too small, Forney said.

To work around that, the company created what Forney called a "bus round"....

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The payload and electronics fit into a projectile about the size of two mini Coca-Cola cans (each about .22 litre in size), he added, noting that it was challenging to fit the technology into such a small form factor.

"Fitting it in to a [Coca-Cola] can and [it] is going through all these phase stages in this high [electromagnetic] field, that was the big challenge," Forney said.

The design requirement for the projectile speed is Mach 6; however, the testing being undertaken by GA-EMS with the 3 MJ gun uses a slightly lower speed, as the projectile was developed as an aerodynamic round, rather than a heavy round with integral electronics and steering control systems, Forney noted.

"We could not get the full speed and get the full G-value of the shock of trying to launch it that quickly," he said. "When we weighted down this bus round, it was slightly less than Mach 6 so we could get the full G-value on it, which we thought was more important to prove."

GA-EMS will initially test its 10 MJ launcher using slugs to make sure the railgun has full integrity before transitioning to aerodynamic rounds, Forney added.

He expects GA-EMS to achieve a launch at full speed from the 10 MJ system in October.

....

In early 2018, GA-EMS expects to have demonstrated the ability to use a multi-mission medium-range gun – what the company terms a 10 MJ launcher – and will have shown command guidance of the projectile to a moving target.

GA-Aeronautical Systems is developing a target that will look like a cruise missile, which will be used for the command guidance demonstration.

The company continues to work on reducing the railgun's pulse power system. Forney said that when the company completes its fifth-generation pulse power system, it will have one-eighth of the footprint of the current system being used at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Virginia, at which the USN's Office of Naval Research is conducting railgun work.
 

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bobbymike

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http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/07/17/us_navy_on_the_cutting_edge_of_directed_energy_weapons_111828.html
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/07/17/us_navy_on_the_cutting_edge_of_directed_energy_weapons_111828.html
But what will they do with it? Given they cancelled the Zumwalts I'm guessing, "not a damn thing". (Though no doubt the various databases will be pillaged to give the Chinese a leg up. As usual.)
 

bobbymike

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Multi-shot Salvo

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/07/us-navy-railgun-field-demo-ready-and-shows-video-of-4-8-shots-per-minute.html

I timed the shots, 2 in 24sec, or ~5/minute. We're getting there..... B)

https://www.onr.navy.mil/en/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2017/Electromagnetic-Railgun-Expo-2017
 

bring_it_on

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Pentagon seeks concepts for 'advanced' hypervelocity projectile


The Pentagon is researching concepts for an “advanced” hypervelocity projectile as part of the Strategic Capabilities Office's initiative to outfit existing artillery systems with the ability to shoot down ballistic missiles.

The Missile Defense Agency released a request for information on behalf of SCO July 26 seeking input on "advanced HVP concepts in support of future capabilities being considered by the Department of Defense and MDA."

The advanced projectile the SCO seeks would be capable of surviving and operating at "extreme launch velocities . . . for extended ranges," according to the notice. It offers the example of installing an "advanced thermal protection system" on the projectile.

The advanced HVP concepts are being developed in support of "Project Icarus," according to the notice. Project Icarus has not been detailed publicly, and a Pentagon spokesman declined to describe it. The RFI document attached to the notice is classified as For Official Use Only (FOUO) and "Export Controlled Information."

The SCO's Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System has been one of the secretive office's most high-profile projects. The program seeks to modify the Army's Paladin 155 mm howitzers and the Navy's Mk-45 5-inch guns with the ability to shoot smart projectiles for missile defense missions, as well as an extended-range offensive punch. The SCO is also considering advanced powder gun prototypes and the Navy's effort to develop an electromagnetic railgun.

"Cost-effective, large magazine point defense will be demonstrated by closing the fire control loop between existing sensors and prototype projectiles launched from existing families of powder guns," budget documents state regarding the Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System.

Last fall, MDA sought ideas for a fire control sensor to be used as part of the hypervelocity weapon.

The SCO is seeking $67 million in fiscal year 2018 for the Hypervelocity Gun Weapon System, significantly less than the $246 million in funding the program received in FY-17, budget documents show.

The office's FY-18 plans include completing the advanced projectile's design concepts, delivering prototype fire control radar, completing prototype surveillance radar modifications and "conducting increasingly difficult fly-by engagements of live targets," according to the documents.
I always though that this was supposed to utilize the HAMMR given earlier SCO comments on an air defense sensor that leveraged a fighter radar. It would be interesting to see whether that is the case or if what the design solutions are.
 

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http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/03/fight_fire_with_fire_111959.html

Been lobbying for this for years.
 

Triton

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bobbymike said:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/03/fight_fire_with_fire_111959.html

Been lobbying for this for years.
Can the United States military detect and target the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) of the DF-21/DF-26 before launch to make the IRBM a viable weapon? A series of pre-emptive strikes using sea-based IRBMs with conventional warheads to eliminate the DF-21/DF-26 threat to the United States Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and/or Expeditionary Strike Group? How would such an armed clash between the People's Republic of China and the United States not escalate from a conventional to a nuclear war?
 

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Triton said:
bobbymike said:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/03/fight_fire_with_fire_111959.html

Been lobbying for this for years.
Can the United States military detect and target the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) of the DF-21/DF-26 before launch to make the IRBM a viable weapon? A series of pre-emptive strikes using sea-based IRBMs with conventional warheads to eliminate the DF-21/DF-26 threat to the United States Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and/or Expeditionary Strike Group? How would such an armed clash between the People's Republic of China and the United States not escalate from a conventional to a nuclear war?
A question a person would ask in any conflict between two nuclear armed nations. The US has 'duel use' systems now, like its bomber force. An adversary wouldn't know if the next wave of air launched cruise missiles were armed with nukes. If this missile was a new design only ever discussed and tested as a conventional weapon I would think China detecting a launch would equate it as such.

Trading IRBM volleys seemed better than losing a carrier or two by bringing them into the A2AD threat zone.

Also, at current deployed stockpiles I'd think China would be deterred from shooting a nuke first.
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
bobbymike said:
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/03/fight_fire_with_fire_111959.html

Been lobbying for this for years.
Can the United States military detect and target the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) of the DF-21/DF-26 before launch to make the IRBM a viable weapon? A series of pre-emptive strikes using sea-based IRBMs with conventional warheads to eliminate the DF-21/DF-26 threat to the United States Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and/or Expeditionary Strike Group? How would such an armed clash between the People's Republic of China and the United States not escalate from a conventional to a nuclear war?
Many nations have had nuclear armed cruise missiles over the past half century-plus yet, despite the use of thousands of cruise missiles over the years, nobody has managed to start WWIII. That said, if we hit their TELs on Chinese soil with conventional missiles what's to keep them from hitting things like, oh, Whiteman AFB, or Norfolk, or Electric Boat, etc. etc. with conventional missiles?
 

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http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2017/8/4/general-atomics-railgun-system-heading-for-testing
 

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https://news.usni.org/2017/08/17/navsea-navy-hybrid-path-355-ship-fleet-take-10-15-years
 

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http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/18/navy_displays_glimpse_of_high-tech_warfare_112079.html
 

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https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2017-08/navy-boost-phase-could-counter-north-korea-part-three
 

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http://www.defensenews.com/naval/2017/08/21/raytheon-marks-milestone-for-its-tomahawk-looks-to-the-future/
 

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Navy buying 'proven laser weapon' system for destroyers


The Navy is looking to buy a 60-150 kW high energy laser weapon system with an integrated counter intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance laser for non-destructive dazzling capabilities against unmanned aerial vehicle-mounted sensors, according to a Federal Business Opportunities notice.

The High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance project will "prioritize technical maturity and proven laser weapon concepts," the notice said.

The request for proposals seeks two test units to be delivered in fiscal year 2020, one of which is for an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG 51 Flight IIA. The second unit will be delivered to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico before being transferred to Point Mugu in California, Naval Sea Systems Command spokeswoman Colleen O'Rourke wrote in a Aug. 15 statement to Inside the Navy.

Asked if the Navy will consider equipping Flight III with the laser weapon system, O'Rourke said the service is only targeting Flight IIA.

The RFP also includes options for an additional nine ship-based systems, O'Rourke added.

"The HELIOS Test Units shall include all necessary power, cooling, and processing hardware and software, along with all cables, interfaces, and displays necessary to operate and maintain the system on both a Land Based Test Facility and on a DDG 51 FLT IIA," the notice said.

HELIOS has $63.2 million budgeted for FY-18; $83.8 million for FY-19; $60.2 million for FY-20; $45.9 million for FY-21 and $30 million for FY-22, according to the Navy's budget justification documents.
 

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https://news.usni.org/2017/12/05/report-congress-navy-laser-railgun-hypervelocity-projectiles-2
 

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https://news.usni.org/2017/12/12/fire-scout-set-to-be-forward-spotter-for-navy-surface-warfare-with-addition-of-radar-datalink
 

bring_it_on

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Navy extending effort to define potential Tomahawk follow-on program


Following a year of exploring potential options for a next-generation cruise missile for its ships and submarines, the Navy is not ready to commit to a new acquisition program and instead plans to extend its Next-Generation Land Attack Weapon analysis of alternatives.

A top Navy official said the service, which last May estimated completing the NGLAW AOA between January and March 2018, is continuing to assess options for a Tomahawk follow-on, a requirement top Pentagon brass validated in 2016 to address anticipated capability gaps in the late 2020s.

"It's a work in progress," Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director of surface warfare (N96), said during a brief interview Jan. 11 at the Surface Navy Association annual conference. Pressed for a new completion estimate of the AOA -- which is being eyed closely by major defense contractors, including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems -- Boxall replied, "It is fair to say I can't give you a date."

Last February, in response to a Navy solicitation, industry provided feedback to the government team spearheading the AOA. The analysis was chartered to assess potential materiel solutions to mitigate gaps documented in the NGLAW initial capabilities document validated by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council during the summer of 2016.

"We're trying to determine the timeline for the [NGLAW] AOA because there are a lot of fingers in that pie right now," Boxall said.

Asked if the delay stemmed from new questions about the NGLAW requirements, the two-star admiral said, "We're very sure about the requirements. NGLAW is a long-term kind of view. What we're trying to do now is reconcile where we are with where we want to go with NGLAW in the future."

The Navy's larger Next-Generation Strike Capability cruise missile modernization strategy includes NGLAW, which is intended to hit land targets and also provide an ancillary capability to sink ships from submarines and ship canisters. The other program is the Offensive Anti-surface Warfare Increment 2 program, which is slated to provide air-launched, anti-ship missile capability by 2024.
 

sferrin

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God help them if they were forced to make a decision. I mean it's not like they've never considered these questions before. I swear to baby Jesus they must think if they just talk about it enough it will magically appear in the cells of ships. One can't help but wonder where they'd be if they hadn't thrown in the towel on RATTLRS, Fasthawk, or HyFly. As I recall they quit LRASM-B almost before the ink was dry on the announcement.
 

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robunos

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Just spotted this over on MSN News, article originally from International Business Times . . .

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/chinese-navy-ship-reportedly-spotted-with-a-deadly-electromagnetic-railgun-%E2%80%93-see-images/ar-BBIxXOs?li=AAnZ9Ug&ocid=mailsignout


cheers,
Robin.
 

sferrin

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Yeah we were going to put one to sea for trials but (shocker) we cancelled that idea.
 

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It's interesting that BAE's gun barrel is quite a bit longer than this potential Chinese gun's barrel. Possibly by 30%. Hard to tell exactly. And that's not taking into account the seemingly thicker barrel on the Chinese gun.

It would appear there are some different solutions applied there, technology wise. Or the requirements were different. Maybe Chinese don't need as speedy rounds. Or they DO need them but they've managed to accelerate the round as much as BAE and make it as precise as BAE with a shorter barrel...
 

sferrin

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totoro said:
It's interesting that BAE's gun barrel is quite a bit longer than this potential Chinese gun's barrel. Possibly by 30%. Hard to tell exactly. And that's not taking into account the seemingly thicker barrel on the Chinese gun.

It would appear there are some different solutions applied there, technology wise. Or the requirements were different. Maybe Chinese don't need as speedy rounds. Or they DO need them but they've managed to accelerate the round as much as BAE and make it as precise as BAE with a shorter barrel...
General Atomics' railgun is roughly the same length as BAEs.
 

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totoro said:
It's interesting that BAE's gun barrel is quite a bit longer than this potential Chinese gun's barrel. Possibly by 30%. Hard to tell exactly. And that's not taking into account the seemingly thicker barrel on the Chinese gun.

It would appear there are some different solutions applied there, technology wise. Or the requirements were different. Maybe Chinese don't need as speedy rounds. Or they DO need them but they've managed to accelerate the round as much as BAE and make it as precise as BAE with a shorter barrel...
Recent intel estimates had the Chinese EMRG program still a ways from where one would expect a sea trial, if that is what we're seeing then rather than different solutions I wonder if we're simply seeing the result of them showing more than they actually have. There's enough odd about this mount that I wonder if they aren't rushing to show off a demonstrator before they've solved some of the essential problems, simply to have a demonstrator. If you took one of the old Dahlgren lab guns and wrapped a turret-like shell around it, the result might look something like what they're showing here.

At any rate, bears monitoring.
 

sferrin

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fredymac said:
The picture conveniently wraps the barrel so you can't tell but I guess people are using the Blitzer railgun for comparison.
I'm fairly certain the Bltizer railgun is a HELL of a lot bigger and heavier than the MK110 gun there. (Blitzer is on the truck in the back. The one in the foreground is a model of a smaller gun they're thinking about.)
 

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That's the Multi-mission Medium Range Railgun GA revealed in 2016.

http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3455

The name Blitzer is used kind of indiscriminately. It's applied to GAs testbed, which is ~3 MJ, fits neatly on the back of a flatbed and looks to be about the size of the gun in the Mk110 housing.

But it's also applied to the ultimate Navy railgun (5-inch or even AGS replacement), which is an order of magnitude more powerful (somewhere around 20, 32, or even 64 MJ, depending on who you ask)
 

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robunos said:
Just spotted this over on MSN News, article originally from International Business Times . . .

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/chinese-navy-ship-reportedly-spotted-with-a-deadly-electromagnetic-railgun-%E2%80%93-see-images/ar-BBIxXOs?li=AAnZ9Ug&ocid=mailsignout


cheers,
Robin.
More analysis here.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a15957655/china-railgun/
 

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It seriously looks like China is going to beat the USN in testing a railgun at sea.

Yay for assured American technological superiority. ::) Maybe this might get the USN R&D leadership a kick in the pants, but who knows?
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
It seriously looks like China is going to beat the USN in testing a railgun at sea.

Yay for assured American technological superiority. ::) Maybe this might get the USN R&D leadership a kick in the pants, but who knows?
China realizes you have to do more than talk and show power points, you have to have a PLAN. In rail guns, hypersonics (or even supersonic) the word that best describes the West in general, and the US in particular, is "aimless". The US has TWO railguns, built by two different companies, and what are they doing with them? Not much.
 

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I am in total agreement. The organization and thinking has produced >20 years of R&D yielding virtually no fielded systems. The US has pissed away its entire technological advantage.

We've reached a point where any strategy assuming GH tech superiority is laughable.

There are so many problems, but I think two are critical:
1. A pathological bent to delay development for the next big thing.
2. No patient long term technology development plans that exist outside of individual programs and are protected from short term fluctuations.
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
I am in total agreement. The organization and thinking has produced >20 years of R&D yielding virtually no fielded systems. The US has pissed away its entire technological advantage.

We've reached a point where any strategy assuming GH tech superiority is laughable.

There are so many problems, but I think two are critical:
1. A pathological bent to delay development for the next big thing.
2. No patient long term technology development plans that exist outside of individual programs and are protected from short term fluctuations.
3. Pathological terror of risk.
4. No PLAN. There was a program sometime back (don't recall which it was) that was successfully tested and then allowed to die on the vine. "The DoD hasn't stated a use for it" or some such. Basically, "this speedy missile is pretty cool but we don't have a clue what we'd use it for". (Insert Picard facepalm.)
 

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Re China-is it genuine? The twitter image shows the BAE gun?
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
DrRansom said:
I am in total agreement. The organization and thinking has produced >20 years of R&D yielding virtually no fielded systems. The US has pissed away its entire technological advantage.

We've reached a point where any strategy assuming GH tech superiority is laughable.

There are so many problems, but I think two are critical:
1. A pathological bent to delay development for the next big thing.
2. No patient long term technology development plans that exist outside of individual programs and are protected from short term fluctuations.
3. Pathological terror of risk.
4. No PLAN. There was a program sometime back (don't recall which it was) that was successfully tested and then allowed to die on the vine. "The DoD hasn't stated a use for it" or some such. Basically, "this speedy missile is pretty cool but we don't have a clue what we'd use it for". (Insert Picard facepalm.)
While 2) is true in many instances I would add 2a) But also, overly long drawn out underfunded technology plans that when finally showing promise of the new tech get cancelled.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they got General Atomics' design the same time they snagged EMALs info? I also wonder what the purpose of the larger diameter section is. ???
 

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The BAE railgun prototype has a similar shape. I suspect it's related to recoil management.
 

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sferrin

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That raises more questions than it answers. Why don't the larger copper discs go to the end of the barrel? Are they for cooling? Does it take a big jolt to get the round moving and maybe less to keep accelerating? Coil-gun first then railgun (maybe to reduce a giant arcing hotspot as the round goes from resting to moving)? ???
 
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