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SR-72?

CammNut

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An SR-72 in the works?
By Vago Muradian - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jun 21, 2007 14:31:17 EDT

Ten years after the Air Force retired the SR-71 spy plane, Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works appears to be back at work developing a new Mach-6 reconnaissance plane, sources said.

The Air Force has awarded Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects arm a top-secret contract to develop a stealthy 4,000-mph plane capable of flying to altitudes of about 100,000 feet, with transcontinental range. The plan is to debut the craft around 2020.

The new jet — being referred to by some as the SR-72 — is likely to be unmanned and, while intended for reconnaissance, could eventually trade its sensors for weapons.

The new aircraft would offer a combination of speed, altitude and stealth that could make it virtually impervious to ground-based missiles, sources said. Even the SR-71 is said to have evaded hundreds of missiles fired at it during its long career, although some aircraft sustained minor damage.

But experts say enormous challenges remain. First, the SR-71’s top speed was about 2,200 mph. Pushing a plane at twice that speed in the thin air of the upper stratosphere would require exceptionally powerful engines. Second, friction at high speeds could reduce stealth.

“An aircraft with these characteristics could prove a potent response to anti-satellite weapons,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. “If U.S. reconnaissance satellites were lost, an SR-72 could get to areas of interest quickly and provide persistent surveillance in place of the satellite.”

And don’t bother asking the Air Force or Skunk Works executives about their work. None is commenting.

“As a matter of policy, we don’t talk about classified programs — whether or not they exist,” Lockheed’s Tom Jurkowsky said.
 

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CammNut

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And this

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SR-72?
Posted by Bill Sweetman at 6/11/2007 2:31 PM

Our competitors Defense News report that the Air Force has handed Lockheed's Skunk Works a contract to develop "a stealthy 4,000-mph plane capable of flying to altitudes of about 100,000 feet, with transcontinental range." The rest of the story is subscription-only.

If this sounds to you a lot like the "Aurora" stories of the early 1990s, you're right. However, early last year I had a conversation with a senior Skunk in which he talked about the company's proposal for a new high-speed, high-altitude X-plane.

The X-plane would be the size of a fighter and would be designed for a speed of Mach 6.5 -- 4300 mph -- at 100,000 feet. (The SR-71 Blackbird, retired in 1990, could manage up to Mach 3.3 in sprints at 85,000 feet). It would be powered by two jet engines -- bigger versions of the engine used on the Skunk Works' RATTLRS (Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike) cruise missile -- integrated into ramjets.

The speed -- less than DARPA'S Falcon Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle project or the USAF's X-51 scramjet demonstrator -- is important. At Mach 6.5, the vehicle can be powered by ramjets, rather than having to incorporate a scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) mode into the system. It would take off from a runway and land under power, not as a high-speed glider. It can burn near-standard hydrocarbon fuel, not hydrogen or a similarly exotic propellant. It could be made from conventional materials -- even composites -- with heat-resistant materials confined to the leading edges.

This is important because the idea of the X-plane is not to prove that such an airplane can fly at 4,300 mph but that it is "doable, practical and will work like a regular airplane." (Conspiracy theorists may choose to speculate about why the Skunks regard Mach 6.5, in itself, as No Big Deal.)

And why? The senior Skunk explains that high-fast stresses the defenses in a completely different direction from a stealthy airplane. Stealth aircraft are hard to detect -- but they tend to be slow and easy to hit. A high-fast aircraft may be easy to detect but it is a bugger to hit. Any missile has to lead the target -- or it will never have the energy to catch it -- and it has to lead the target by a long way because the target is covering more than a mile every second as the missile ascends. And at the same time, even a wide turn by the target causes the predicted impact point to move by miles.

In the present budget environment it's unlikely that the Skunk Works has been handed a blank check to build an X-plane, let alone an operational aircraft -- but its seems that the Mach 6 proposal is gaining traction.
 

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...so if its easy to see because of the extreme temps, why even bother adding "stealthiness" at all? dont the two get in the way of one-another at a certain point (well before mach 6)?
 

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If we are speculating much about using C-300VM and S-400 in context of destroying -already talks about this - ICBMs warheads at reentry phase, what then about 'SR-72' then?
 

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flateric said:
If we are speculating much about using C-300VM and S-400 in context of destroying -already talks about this - ICBMs warheads at reentry phase, what then about 'SR-72' then?
Warhead don't have wings and aren't guided by a human. ;)
 

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This has been doable for some time. As I've said before, back when I was in school in the 80's, everyone in industry I spoke to didn't think Mach 6 was that difficult, because you could use standard hydrocarbon fuels. Of course, everyone was into NASP at the time, so Mach 6 was probably seen as aiming too low.

As for the Mach 6 speeds and stealth, perhaps this is an application for plasma shielding, since the visual signature won't really be a problem. You also have to consider what is "meant" by stealth. In some cases it means not knowing the aircraft is there. In others, it doesn't mean you don't know the aircraft is there, it just means you can't do a damn thing about it. ;)
 

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Any possible connections ?? ... or too much speculation ???

http://www.dreamlandresort.com/forum/messages/22327.html

A huge new hangar is currently under construction at Area 51. It is about 1.5 to 2 times the size of Hangar 18, which was the largest hangar at Area 51 until now.

The new hangar is located SE of the South Ramp, near the north end of Rwy 12/30. The sides have not been finished, but a large hangar door opening can be seen on the side facing the flight line. A large mound of dirt blocks the view at the lower part of the hangar from Tikaboo. This may be related to the construction, or to keep curious hikers from seeing the construction area. The estimated size is 200x500ft, 100f. tall.

The attached photo was taken yesterday morning (June 10, 2007) from Tikaboo Peak, when our group, CJ, Dan and myself discovered the new hangar.

Another, smaller new building is just east of the PE building. It may be an extension of the existing building. Stay tuned for more details.
 

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Sundog said:
This has been doable for some time. As I've said before, back when I was in school in the 80's, everyone in industry I spoke to didn't think Mach 6 was that difficult, because you could use standard hydrocarbon fuels. Of course, everyone was into NASP at the time, so Mach 6 was probably seen as aiming too low.

As for the Mach 6 speeds and stealth, perhaps this is an application for plasma shielding, since the visual signature won't really be a problem. You also have to consider what is "meant" by stealth. In some cases it means not knowing the aircraft is there. In others, it doesn't mean you don't know the aircraft is there, it just means you can't do a damn thing about it. ;)
That's why I think, too, for some times now. A Mach 6 aircraft is do-able from 25 years now. All the "bricks" to build such a machine are available with current technology...
 

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what was lacking? a buyer with money to fund the project? imagine how much more advanced a plane built with today's knowledge and technologies would be... could probably operate at those speeds/altitudes without "pushing the envelope" as the previous generation did.
 

flateric

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Hmm...reading NGLRS article fron FI, I can't stop thinking of high stakes against 'SR-72'

"Clearly cost is a major consideration. <...>Technology availability is a major concern that is driving the USAF to subsonic and manned. For a 2018 initial operational capability, the technology used must be at a readiness level - a TRL - of 6 by 2009. TRL 6 requires prototype demonstration in a relevant environment, and essentially limits the next-generation bomber to off-the- shelf technology available now.<...>The technology is not there to support a high-speed penetrating platform with any kind of endurance," says George Muellner, president, advanced systems, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "We do not have the engine designs. We do not have the materials to reduce radar cross-section at high speed." Existing radar absorbent coatings cannot withstand the heat generated by sustained supersonic or hypersonic flight, he says.<...>"very challenging fiscal environment"
 

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flateric said:
If we are speculating much about using C-300VM and S-400 in context of destroying -already talks about this - ICBMs warheads at reentry phase, what then about 'SR-72' then?
::)

Stuart Slade said:
To give you some idea of the magnitude of the challenge facing SAM defenses, a SAM capable of getting a 50 eprcent Pk (probability of a kill) against a B-70 would have to have a maximum speed of Mach 9, a range of over 250 miles and a maximum ceiling in excess of 200,000 feet. Anything less than that and it doens't have the excess performance required to make an intercept. The best missile currently available has a speed of Mach 6, a range of 175 miles and a maximum ceiling of around 150,000 feet.
And this plane would travel much faster than a B-70.

Also, hitting incoming ballistic missiles is very easy.

Stuart Slade said:
Actually, perfectly effective and capable ABM systems were available in the 1960s. The first missile-to-missile intercepts were actually made in the late 1950s. During the 1962-66 era, Zeus family ABMs made a total of 64 attempted intercepts of which 59 were successful. A classified number of those intercepts were skin-to-skin hits.

There is nothing difficult about intercepting ballistic missiles. They are on a predictable course and their location at any instant along their flight path can be predicted with absolute accuracy. The only real problems are in getting the system to react fast enough; ironically this affects tactical ballistic missiles much more that strategic ones. It should be noted that the Indians recently conducted a successful ballistic missile intercept and are developing their own ABM.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
There is nothing difficult about intercepting ballistic missiles. They are on a predictable course and their location at any instant along their flight path can be predicted with absolute accuracy. The only real problems are in getting the system to react fast enough; ironically this affects tactical ballistic missiles much more that strategic ones. It should be noted that the Indians recently conducted a successful ballistic missile intercept and are developing their own ABM.
I know it's not popular to mention this but once an ballistic missile is exo-atmospheric it can launch hundreds of decoys (aluminized balloons as there's no air resistance up there) and on the descent phase they've got MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) - it's a bit like having a gun to shoot down your enemie's buckshot :), but it's damn good business for the defense contractors since it will never be put to the real test.

Likewise, Mach 6 planes are a good excuse to get ahold of American tax dollars and obviously more profitable than providing poor grunts with half decent APCs in Iraq, but I just don't believe there's the politic will (for a working plane, not the dollars of course). I hope you guys are right as a new hyper plane would cool but as they could only keep the X-43 flying for 11 seconds (after getting there thanks to a solid rocket), I'm not holding my breath.

Sorry for the realism, Cheers, Woody
 

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Woody said:
I know it's not popular to mention this but once an ballistic missile is exo-atmospheric it can launch hundreds of decoys (aluminized balloons as there's no air resistance up there) and on the descent phase they've got MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) - it's a bit like having a gun to shoot down your enemie's buckshot :), but it's damn good business for the defense contractors since it will never be put to the real test.

Radar isn't the only method used to descriminate real from fake. Also let's not forget MKV that is in the works. They really ought to have kept working on HEDI but a missile like that would require so many to cover any meaningful amount of territory that they probably axed it more for political reasons than technical.





Woody said:
Likewise, Mach 6 planes are a good excuse to get ahold of American tax dollars and obviously more profitable than providing poor grunts with half decent APCs in Iraq, but I just don't believe there's the politic will (for a working plane, not the dollars of course). I hope you guys are right as a new hyper plane would cool but as they could only keep the X-43 flying for 11 seconds (after getting there thanks to a solid rocket), I'm not holding my breath.

Sorry for the realism, Cheers, Woody
Since when did trolling become "realism"?
 

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OK, I agree, I want it to be built!
 

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sferrin said:
Radar isn't the only method used to descriminate real from fake. Also let's not forget MKV that is in the works. They really ought to have kept working on HEDI but a missile like that would require so many to cover any meaningful amount of territory that they probably axed it more for political reasons than technical.
Please tell me more. Balloons don't just reflect radar and they're not the only kind of possible decoy.

As for 'trolling', I'm sorry to cloud fluffy bunny world but it doesn't make much sense to run an X-43 program (then cancelled?) if they already had the technology. I want a new hypersonic plane as much as anyone.

Cheers, Woody
 

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[quote author=Woody]Likewise, Mach 6 planes are a good excuse to get ahold of American tax dollars and obviously more profitable than providing poor grunts with half decent APCs in Iraq[/quote]

[quote author=sferrin]Since when did trolling become "realism"?[/quote]

[quote author=Woody]As for 'trolling', I'm sorry to cloud fluffy bunny world[/quote]

Woody - provision of APCs in Iraq isn't really relevant to the context of the topic. If you want to raise this topic go post in "The Bar" or a political forum.

Scott - reacting by accusing Woody of "trolling" doesn't help maintain the friendly and largely troll-free atmosphere we've got on the forum so far.

Lets try not to end up like Key Publishing Forums, OK?
 

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Woody said:
I know it's not popular to mention this but once an ballistic missile is exo-atmospheric it can launch hundreds of decoys (aluminized balloons as there's no air resistance up there) and on the descent phase they've got MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) - it's a bit like having a gun to shoot down your enemie's buckshot :), but it's damn good business for the defense contractors since it will never be put to the real test.
So Wrong.

On MIRVs:

Stuart Slade said:
Multiple Independently-Targeted Re-Entry Vehicles (MIRVs)

Why they exist Although MIRVs are often regarded as a development of MRVs, in fact they come from a totally different logic. In a ballistic missile site, the missile itself represents only a small proportion of the cost of the system (usually 10 - 20 percent). The bulk of that cost is represented by the silo and the command control system that goes with it. That cost is dorectly related to the number of missiles, not the number of warheads on each missile. Therefore, it is much less expensive to built 100 missiles with ten warheads each that 1,000 missiles with one warhead each. All the money saved can be invested in making the silos much harder and thus more difficult to destroy (meaning the enemy must fire more missiles at them to guarantee their destruction).

How it works The missile bus containing the warheads is designed so that it can make changes in its attitude and pitch between discharging warheads. It is then programmed so that, at the appropriate time, it can make those changes before discharging a warhead and can, thus, aim each warhead at a separate target. In theory it can aim all its warheads at different targets, in reality things are much more complex.

The problem is that the system has to discharge its warheads one at a time. It cannot discharge the whole lot at once. This puts a limit on how many it can discharge in the time available. Also, the degree of manoeuvering is strictly limited. So, the targets engaged by a single MIRV missile are limited toa relatively restricted footprint. Also, there are a lot more variable, many random and unpredictable, in aiming and discharging the MIRV bus which mean that MIRV missile-delivered RVs are a LOT less accurate than unitary RVs. So much so that if the launch distance is too far back from the target, the MIRVs are likely to miss by so much that they will be useless. So the distance at which the MIRV can discharge is severely limited. It should also be noted that the MIRV bus is very complex and very sensitive.

Effects on ABM MIRVs are also often promoted as a way of beating an ABM defense by "swamping it", apparently on the assumption that each descending RV would have to be destroyed individually. In fact, this is, again, not the case. Using nuclear-tipped ABMs, the relatively tightly clustered MIRVs would be taken out by a single shot. However, the simplest technique of eliminating MIRVs is, once again, to kill the bus before it discharges its warheads. This needs some extended range - the effect of MIRVs on the Nike-Zeus program was to upgrade the Zeus interceptor so that it had the range necessary to kill the MIRV bus before it discharged its warheads. That's why the range was increased from 250km (more than adequate to kill an MRV bus) to 740km (way more than adequate to kill any projected MIRV bus. Also, as a bonus, it needed only tiny amounts of damage or disturbance to render the MIRV bus ineffective. Far from being a way of beating an ABM defense, MIRVs were only credible in the absence of ABMs of adequate range.
and

Stuart Slade said:
Put in a nutshell, decoys don't work. That's about as simple as it gets. There are more than three dozen technologies available to distinguise decoys from real warheads. The decoy question was throughly investigated in the early 1960s and all the practical forms of decoy were discounted. By 1964, the decoy problem was essentially solved. Since that time, decoy developers have been trying to produce better decoys and the counter-decoy people have been devising ways of distinguising between the decoys and the real thing. At the moment, the filtration techniques are so far ahead that decoys have been discounted as a viable technique.

To work, a decoy would have to be exactly the same size, shape, weight, weight distribution, appearance, thermal characteristics and thermal distribution as a real warhead; if one's going to do that, why not just use a real warhead? By the way, before anybody repeats the old line "don't make the decoy look like a warhead, make the warhead look like a decoy", that was one of the earliest ideas that was tested. It doesn't work.

The British based an entire Polaris update around the use of decoys (it was called Chevaline). Chevaline ran years late and was horribly over-cost, the problems with the decoys being the primary and largest single cause of the problems. In fact, those problems were never solved. By the way, even using decoys from a ballistic missile is not as easy as it sounds; there's quite a few problems there that have never been solved either. Mostly because it wasn't worth spending money solving those problems when the decoys wouldn't work anyway.
 

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First, I think that we should stop talking MIRVs here...I myself started this discussing if we can catch 'SR-72' with Giant Gladiators, but guys, stop it. We are discussing if Senior Skunk (c) building/will build this stuff.

I asking myself what for US needs such a costly program. As a recce aircraft, what will she overfly in 2020? Us? China? Does recce aircraft just need to have such a speedmark?

As a strike platform, what use of it if there will be already FALCON HCV - another big fat piece that Lockheed got already, not mention RATTLRS. Does it mean that government will put all high-speed eggs in one backet?
 

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RyanCrierie said:
Woody said:
I know it's not popular to mention this but once an ballistic missile is exo-atmospheric it can launch hundreds of decoys (aluminized balloons as there's no air resistance up there) and on the descent phase they've got MIRVs (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) - it's a bit like having a gun to shoot down your enemie's buckshot :), but it's damn good business for the defense contractors since it will never be put to the real test.
So Wrong.

On MIRVs:

Stuart Slade said:
Multiple Independently-Targeted Re-Entry Vehicles (MIRVs)

Why they exist Although MIRVs are often regarded. . .
Who is "Stuart Slade"? Sounds like he's got some interesting things to say.
 

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flateric said:
First, I think that we should stop talking MIRVs here...I myself started this discussing if we can catch 'SR-72' with Giant Gladiators, but guys, stop it. We are discussing if Senior Skunk (c) building/will build this stuff.

I asking myself what for US needs such a costly program. As a recce aircraft, what will she overfly in 2020? Us? China? Does recce aircraft just need to have such a speedmark?

As a strike platform, what use of it if there will be already FALCON HCV - another big fat piece that Lockheed got already, not mention RATTLRS. Does it mean that government will put all high-speed eggs in one backet?
ATK has quite a few irons in the fire too. Thing is if Lockheed is showing it can do the job and others haven't why wouldn't you go to Lockheed?
 

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OK, just thought that one must spread butter on a sandvich with equal layer and mantain sense of contest and keep aerospace design school alive in three major players left on the market. Talking hypersonics, Lockheed didn't show them much (at least in open world) - at least their NASP efforts look rather lazy.

Talking about Groom Lake - didn't you ever thought that, having in a pocket half of a dozen (OK, dozen) classified projects, government just trying to show much bigger entertaiment to our spies, building new hangars and imitating weird cover-up activity - while half of Groom stuff just moving shuttle flights from Mojave and sitting there whole week ...say, drinking bear. Imitation of something larger happening, that's what I mean.

If we will build giant hangar in Severodvinsk, this fact itself will not definitely mean that we are building Super Typhoon armed with 100 Bulavas, but will cause deep thoughts at NSA office.
 

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sferrin said:
Who is "Stuart Slade"? Sounds like he's got some interesting things to say.
Stuart Slade is a defense analist for Forecast International.
For some REALLY interesting reading, read his three-part essay "The Nuclear Game" in the following links:

http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-One/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=1.topic
http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-Two/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=23.topic
http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-Three/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=22.topic

And some more on MIRVs, MARVs and MRVs:

http://p076.ezboard.com/MRVs-MIRVs-and-MARVs/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=122.topic
 

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I just realized this just now reading the posts:

The fact that MIRV busses deploy their RVs one at a time over a period of time completely defeats the decoys, unless you release them at the same rate!

You can't just spam out 10 decoys at once; that's too obvious, and the ABM system will say "hahaha, who do you think you are fooling?" and reject it as an obvious fake.
 

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MihoshiK said:
sferrin said:
Who is "Stuart Slade"? Sounds like he's got some interesting things to say.
Stuart Slade is a defense analist for Forecast International.
For some REALLY interesting reading, read his three-part essay "The Nuclear Game" in the following links:

http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-One/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=1.topic
http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-Two/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=23.topic
http://p076.ezboard.com/The-Nuclear-Game-Three/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=22.topic

And some more on MIRVs, MARVs and MRVs:

http://p076.ezboard.com/MRVs-MIRVs-and-MARVs/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm2.showMessage?topicID=122.topic
Thanks! Very interesting reading.
 

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Thanks RyanCrierie for the Stuart Slade excepts. Very interesting and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about but they are still only opinions and unfortunately not everyone agrees with him. Admittedly below are only Wikipedia quotes as I don't currently have access to a huge library but they contain about as many facts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-ballistic_missile

Things changed dramatically with the introduction of Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads. Suddenly each launcher was throwing not one warhead, but several. The defense would still require a rocket for every warhead, as they would be re-entering over a wide space and could not be attacked by several warheads from a single antimissile rocket. Suddenly the defense was more expensive than offense: it was much less expensive to add more warheads, or even decoys, than it was to build the interceptor needed to shoot them down.
The Patriot antiaircraft missiles was the first deployed tactical ABM system, although it was not designed from the outset for that task and consequently had limitations. It was used in the 1991 Gulf War to attempt to intercept Iraqi Scud missiles. Post-war analyses show that the Patriot was much less effective than initially thought because of its radar and control system's inability to discriminate warheads from other objects when the Scud missiles broke up during reentry.
If any of you experts can actually explain how these new decoy detection systems work, that would be very helpful. Or how the mass of a opaque decoy in free fall in a vacuum can be determined remotely, since it would follow a ballistic trajectory regardless. Also I'm interested to know more about this Polaris Chevaline Update as one failed program doesn't necessarily invalidate an entire concept but it might explain a lot.

Back to the Mach 6 plane and why, if it is so easy to shoot down ballistic missiles (traveling at Mach 10+?), is it so hard to shoot down a hot plane (no quotes please)? Personally I think they'd both be pretty tricky but Chinese allegedly shot down a D-21 Mach 3 drone more than 30 years ago. Not meaning to be disparaging or inflammatory it would be quite shocking for a Mach 6 plane program to exist given the US military's declared funding situation and the existence of a now cancelled X-43 program. But please convince me otherwise, I crave enlightenment, It would be great, honestly.

Cheers, Woody
 

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Woody said:
Thanks RyanCrierie for the Stuart Slade excepts. Very interesting and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about but they are still only opinions and unfortunately not everyone agrees with him. Admittedly below are only Wikipedia quotes as I don't currently have access to a huge library but they contain about as many facts.
Ah, wikipedia.

Care to explain how MIRVed missiles will "Swamp" the defenses if they cannot release all the MIRVs from the missile busses at once, but over a period of time? This makes it simply easy to extend the range of your ABM missiles so that you can have the range to hit the missile bus and kill all the MIRVs on that missile bus in one fell swoop.

Also, if you released say, 10 decoys in 1 minute; when the release rate of actual MIRVs is about 3 per minute (don't have exact specific numbers on MIRV release rates here); how is that going to even fool the defense? The decoys will be so blatantly easy to spot that you can easily filter them out. Hint; this reason is why modern jets have towed jammer/decoy pods; because modern missiles will automatically discard any target which is not moving forward at a high velocity. E.G; chaff does not move at 400 MPH forward. It's constantly decelerating after release and moving downwards; something that a real missile or aircraft does not do.

If any of you experts can actually explain how these new decoy detection systems work, that would be very helpful
There is one method I know of, and can describe easily. Basically, you have your ABM interceptor shoot forth a spray of liquid jello (I am not making this up); the jello will harden and crystalize in space; and then go forth and will shred any balloons in the missile/decoy cloud.

Or how the mass of a opaque decoy in free fall in a vacuum can be determined remotely, since it would follow a ballistic trajectory regardless.
Two ways of defeating this:

1.) Hit the missile bus before it deploys it's MIRVs/Decoys. Problem was solved in the 1960s with Spartan, which had a second stage which had the range to hit missile busses at long range.

2.) Let the RVs/Decoys enter the atmosphere; and let the atmosphere sort the decoys for you. Then engage the real RVs with SPRINT (again from the 1960s).

SPRINT was a productionized variant of HIBEX, and was designed to intercept ballistic missile warheads within the atmosphere at altitudes of up to 100,000+ feet. It was so fast that it went supersonic even before it left it's launch cell. :eek:

Back to the Mach 6 plane and why, if it is so easy to shoot down ballistic missiles (traveling at Mach 10+?), is it so hard to shoot down a hot plane (no quotes please)?
Because the plane can actively manuver and change it's trajectory. A ballistic missile cannot do that. Case in point; one time a SR-71 was flying over Libya; and got shot at by a SA-5. The Pilot and RIO spent a few minutes talking as the missile came up over which method of evasion to use:

1.) Slowly turn away from the missile to make it miss it's precomputed intercept point.

2.) Increase speed to make the missile miss it's precomputed intercept point.

In the end, they chose to increase speed by 100 MPH.
 

elmayerle

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For discriminating decoys, I can think of several things. The most basic is to look for different thermal signatures. A second approach, if you've got the equipment, is to hit evrything with a laser impulse sufficient to cause a reaction in decoys but not in heavier warheads. Of course, the optimum approach, one the ABL is being developed at, is boost phase intercept, before the warhead bus has even separated from the missile. Obviously, there are other ways of doing this, such as UAVs over the launch area with AMRAAMs or such to catch ballistic missiles early in flight when they're comparatively slow.
 

sferrin

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elmayerle said:
For discriminating decoys, I can think of several things. The most basic is to look for different thermal signatures. A second approach, if you've got the equipment, is to hit evrything with a laser impulse sufficient to cause a reaction in decoys but not in heavier warheads. Of course, the optimum approach, one the ABL is being developed at, is boost phase intercept, before the warhead bus has even separated from the missile. Obviously, there are other ways of doing this, such as UAVs over the launch area with AMRAAMs or such to catch ballistic missiles early in flight when they're comparatively slow.
A couple others are:

"The Firepond Laser Radar.
One of the most sign ficant experiments in
space-based strategic defense related systems was
the Firepond system launched early in 1991 on a
Delta rocket. In the experiment, a laser was
aimed a t various vehicles deployed by the payload
of the rocket and it was demonstrated that the
laser could discriminate between simulated
warheads and simulated decoys. The important
point about this systems test is that t provides
strong evidence that the discrimination problem
can eventually be solved using laser radars.
Figure 10 shows the arrangement of the Firepond
laser radar experiment. I do not want t o imply that this is a
complete list of successful systems tests that
can.be attributed to work done under the
Strategic Defense Initiative . What is important
is that they are systems tests which go beyond
simple concepts and the development of
components. It is , of course, systems tests of
this kind that will eventually give people the
necessary confidence that strategic defense can
have important military values. The success of
these experiments and many others like them have
made it possible to evolve an ABM system
architecture such as the one shown i n Figure 11.
This i s a much less complex system than Safeguard
was twenty years ago"

(that was 16 years ago)

Another concept being kicked around back then was using neutral particle beams. Zap them all with subatomic particles and compare how they react.
 

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Woody said:
If any of you experts can actually explain how these new decoy detection systems work, that would be very helpful. Or how the mass of a opaque decoy in free fall in a vacuum can be determined remotely, since it would follow a ballistic trajectory regardless.
Certainly not an expert but I can think of several. If you can image the RVs across a broad spectrum there's no way a decoy is going to look the same as the RV even if only because it effects background radiation differently. Also a lightweight decoy is going to cool in space at a different rate than an RV. And an RV isn't necessarily going to cool uniformly and depending on the resolution of the imager it could be damn hard to get the IR signiture of the decoy to look EXACTLY like an RV. Consider that even NASA can image tiles on the shuttle from Earth and the liklihood that military stuff is better. Now you could try floating the RV INSIDE another decoy and insulate it so heat doesn't leak out but then you still have to make sure that doesn't effect how radiation bleeds through. If someone sets off a nuke up high and it sets up a field of charged particles that the RVs and decoys have to move through they'd likely effect the particles differently.







Also I'm interested to know more about this Polaris Chevaline Update as one failed program doesn't necessarily invalidate an entire concept but it might explain a lot.

Back to the Mach 6 plane and why, if it is so easy to shoot down ballistic missiles (traveling at Mach 10+?), is it so hard to shoot down a hot plane (no quotes please)? Personally I think they'd both be pretty tricky but Chinese allegedly shot down a D-21 Mach 3 drone more than 30 years ago. Not meaning to be disparaging or inflammatory it would be quite shocking for a Mach 6 plane program to exist given the US military's declared funding situation and the existence of a now cancelled X-43 program. But please convince me otherwise, I crave enlightenment, It would be great, honestly.

Cheers, Woody
[/quote]
 

sferrin

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Woody said:
Back to the Mach 6 plane and why, if it is so easy to shoot down ballistic missiles (traveling at Mach 10+?), is it so hard to shoot down a hot plane (no quotes please)?
Planes can manuever a lot more than a dumb RV. Even a manuevering RV is just doing canned manuevers, it's not reacting to the SAM.





Woody said:
Personally I think they'd both be pretty tricky but Chinese allegedly shot down a D-21 Mach 3 drone more than 30 years ago.
Not trying to be a smarta$$ but the USAF allegedly disected aliens at Area 51. The USAF lost a number of D-21s over China and the general concensus was "hmm. . .". No hard facts of anything other than the one that flew OVER China and crashed in the USSR.


Woody said:
Not meaning to be disparaging or inflammatory it would be quite shocking for a Mach 6 plane program to exist given the US military's declared funding situation and the existence of a now cancelled X-43 program. But please convince me otherwise, I crave enlightenment, It would be great, honestly.

The "White" world rarely reflects the "Black" world. For example one of the biggest reasons for the stink about the Hubble's flawed mirror was due to the fact that the USAF had essentially been flying Hubbles for years- pointed at Earth. Also read of instances where things that had been solved years prior on military projects were kicking NASA's butt trying to figure out. (Not the mirror specifically but in general). The X-43B & C were cancelled because the technology had some key limitations, namely it's reliance on hydrogen as a fuel (not to mention the miniscule NASA budget). You'll note that the USAF already has a couple hydrocarbon-fueled designs in the works to test, the X-51 and HyFly. (Although there seems to be a bit of confusion as to EXACTLY what HyFly is using. I've heard a scramjet, a dual-combustion ramjet, and having it operate in BOTH modes depending on the speed at the time.)
 

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sferrin said:
Planes can manuever a lot more than a dumb RV. Even a manuevering RV is just doing canned manuevers, it's not reacting to the SAM.
At that speed, turn radius would be enormous and it also bleeds energy. Missiles can still take a lot more g's than humans and probably a hell of a lot more than planes designed for hypersonic speeds.


sferrin said:
A couple others are:

"The Firepond Laser Radar.
As discriminating technology advances, so does disguising technology. You could think of counteracting that with having the warheads bounce inside inflatable balloons and having decoy masses bounce as well in inflatable balloons. Your doppler readings will show varying speeds of the balloons but will probably have trouble discriminating. Regarding spectral emissions, you could just put different IR and light emitters inside warhead and decoy balloons or cool them differently. Sure you'd find differences, but how to know which is which?

An interesting read is the executive summary from the April 2000 UCS/MIT report "Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned US National Missile Defense System"

Overall Findings and Recommendations
(1)
Any country capable of deploying a long-range missile would also be able to deploy countermeasures that would defeat the planned NMD system.
Biological or chemical weapons can be divided into many small warheads called "submunitions." Such submunitions, released shortly after boost phase, would overwhelm the planned defense. Moreover, there are no significant technical barriers to their deployment or use. Because submunitions allow for more effective dispersal of biological and chemical agents, an attacker would have a strong incentive to use them even in the absence of missile defenses. The United States should recognize that any long-range missile attack with biological or chemical agents would almost certainly be delivered by submunitions, and that the NMD system could not defend against such an attack.

An attacker using nuclear weapons could also defeat the planned system. An attacker could overwhelm the system by using "anti-simulation balloon decoys," that is, by deploying its nuclear weapons inside balloons and releasing numerous empty balloons along with them. Or an attacker could cover its nuclear warheads with cooled shrouds, which would prevent the kill vehicles from detecting and therefore from homing on the warhead.
http://www.ucsusa.org/global_security/missile_defense/countermeasures.html
 

elmayerle

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If you increase the mass of the decoys to each match the mass of a warhead, you've managed to either reduce the number of warheads you can launch - leading to many more being needed for the same number of warheads deliverd - or drastically increased the size of your boost vehicle - making it easier to detect and much harder to use a mobile launcher. This whole arguement, though, can be completely terminated by the use of BPI, Boost Phase Intercept; you simply get the entire missile before the warhead bus even separates. This is one of the main drivers behind the ABL effort.
 

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Simon666 said:
sferrin said:
Planes can manuever a lot more than a dumb RV. Even a manuevering RV is just doing canned manuevers, it's not reacting to the SAM.
At that speed, turn radius would be enormous and it also bleeds energy. Missiles can still take a lot more g's than humans and probably a hell of a lot more than planes designed for hypersonic speeds.
And that's the common mistake many make. Lots of G's and sharp turns are not necessarily synonomous. If applied to aircraft you'd see the problem. Which is going to turn sharper, an F-104 at Mach 2 or an F-16 at Mach .8? Now take the wings off the F-104. How sharp is it going to turn now? Now take it to 100,000 feet where there's hardly any air. How sharp will it turn now? See the problem? Missiles work to get around it by going really fast and using body lift (and they aren't pulling those 40 or 50 Gs at anywhere NEAR 100,000ft BTW). Nike Hercules and the SA-5 are the two best examples of SAMs designed with fast, high altitude aircraft in mind and they have/had huge wings for exactly that reason. By the time Patriot, SA-10, and SA-12 came on the scene Mach 3 aircraft were an oddity rather than the perceived future of things. No need for big wings when your targets are going to be at less than 50,000 ft (and usually much less than that) so why lug the weight around? In a nut shell the current generation of SAMs aren't going to be making sharp turns at high altitudes. Now if they gave the SAM wings and a scramjet and ditched the rocket engine that's another story.
 

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Hi guys, other searching I've done would seam to cooberate that Polaris Chevaline was is so far the only ICBM to deploy decoys, though the reasons I've found are less than satisfactory.

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/uk/slbm/chevaline.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polaris_missile

It never occurred to me that an attacker would wait until the re-entry phase to launch their decoys. I assumed that they be released as soon as the vehicle was clear of the atmosphere - agreed they be potentially observable for longer but more dispersed preventing them all being destroyed in one shot. At greater ranges they'd be more difficult to identify accurately. A defender hoping to destroy MIRV buses before they deployed would then have a real problem.

I'm still concerned about the significances you all attach to mass - it doesn't affect how a object moves in a vacuum in ballistic flight and there's not much else you can tell from normal radar. And cryogenic gas could cool decoy and warhead alike as soon as they were out of the attmosphere I would have thought. Re. the Fire pond If you have a laser system so infallible and powerful that can probe every object at massive range wouldn't that be a basis for a killer laser instead of an ABM?, I don't hear anyone seriously suggesting this. Please tell me more.

Obviously it's better to try and kill an ICBM in its launch phase and I quite like the Boeing ABL-1 but to have enough of them permanently on station a few hundred kilometers from an enemy is got to be expensive and to have laser weapons aimed at the entire country is a trifle provocative. Also an attacker could launch a bunch of scud style cheap rockets at the same time to further make life difficult for defenders. If your in a position to hit your enemies ICBMs at launch with missiles haven't you already won?

If nuclear tipped ABMs are used (this is apparently what the Russians have) wouldn't these blind the defensive systems? An attacker could stagger their assaults to take advantage of this. Further to this they could detonate their own nuclear explosions at various points along the flight path to blind the defenders sensors.

But the biggest problem with whole game is that it's never been tested for real and a lot of the stuff is only experimental. The best demonstration so far was against primitive scuds during the first Gulf war and that didn't go so well. I hope we never find out.

Cheers, Woody
 

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The reasoning on the mass is that a push from a laser will impart an impulse to what it hits, if the decoy doesn't have the same mass as the warhead+re-entry vehicle, it won't respond the same to that impulse. With accurate tracking, that's sufficient to discriminate. That wsa the theory demonstrated by Fire Pond.

Of course, if you mass produce small KKVs (Kinetic Kill Vehicles), you can take a "shotgun" approach to taking out incoming RVs and decoys because you can get the unit cost down to where it's affordable. Besides the ABL, there've been proposals for some years now for armed UAVs to go near known or suspected missile launch sites and catch them early in boost.

It's really not practical to have warhead and decoy separation until well into the post-boost phase, ensuring that the delivery bus is on the proper trajectory.
 

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BTW, fresh news on C-400 from Bill Sweetman's Defense Technology Magazine
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aw/dti0607/index.php?startpage=36
"...it may be even possible to hit hypersonic targets flying at 3000 meters per sec., at endoatmospheric altitudes to 150 km" - Col.-Gen. Yuri Soloviev
 

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Hi Sferrin,

sferrin said:
Which is going to turn sharper, an F-104 at Mach 2 or an F-16 at Mach .8? Now take the wings off the F-104. How sharp is it going to turn now? Now take it to 100,000 feet where there's hardly any air. How sharp will it turn now? See the problem? Missiles work to get around it by going really fast and using body lift (and they aren't pulling those 40 or 50 Gs at anywhere NEAR 100,000ft BTW). Nike Hercules and the SA-5 are the two best examples of SAMs designed with fast, high altitude aircraft in mind and they have/had huge wings for exactly that reason. By the time Patriot, SA-10, and SA-12 came on the scene Mach 3 aircraft were an oddity rather than the perceived future of things.
I think Greg's beaten me to it but the unlike Patriot, S-300P (SA-10) and S-300V (SA-12) etc. feature gas dynamic control and are not limited to aerodynamic maneouvering so potentially could still pull those high G turns. And what relevance does a Mach 0.8 F-16 have to our hypersonic mystery plane? :) I know it's hard to shoot down a high flying fast object but the old Gary Powers experience would still appear to hold true, that it's cheaper to improve missile systems than planes to out fly them. This new S-400 just makes it that much harder.

Cheers, Woody
 
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