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US Hypersonics - Prompt Global Strike Capability

quellish

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seruriermarshal said:
I hear HTV used Minuteman III , or the can take HTV to Trident ?
No. They are test vehicles to be launched on Minotaur boosters.
 

John21

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Thank you for starting this thread. :) I was just going to post this as a new topic here when I found out about this on the world armed forces. I do wonder what else the U.S. has up it's sleeves that no one really knows about? B)
 

quellish

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John21 said:
Thank you for starting this thread. :) I was just going to post this as a new topic here when I found out about this on the world armed forces. I do wonder what else the U.S. has up it's sleeves that no one really knows about? B)
There's nothing up the sleeves here, I think Gates just meant the US has the programs in development.
 

Skybolt

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Yep, I came to the very same conclusion. BTW, as to put a megawatt laser in orbit, presently the US lacks (as everyone else) a booster powerful enough to carry it in one piece and will in a few moths lack a capability to assemble complex satellites in space. Either the US has devised a megawatt laser light enough to be put in orbit in one piece aboard a Delta IV, or Gen. Cartwright is speaking of wishes, not actual programs. As to the possiblity of automatically assemble a megawatt laser in orbit, it could be possible, but I think it would require development tests of which there is no trace. And, it the US have a lightweigth megawatt laser, the best place to put it on now is a 747 and use it as boost phase intercept.
As a final note, the programs described in the preceding post demonstrate that even Homing MaRV can be very different from one another, being optimized for diving longitudinally along the re-entry path (FALCON) to use GPS after the plasma blackout phase and disperse submunition or PGS, or for high cross range to either take an early warning radar by surprise, or to reprogram the target in flight (useful for launch under attack), or to something else. And then are unknows, for example active guidance (radar image mapping as in Pershing II, or more exotic like antiradiation or even home-on-jam).
 

Byeman

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Skybolt said:
YAs to the possiblity of automatically assemble a megawatt laser in orbit, it could be possible, but I think it would require development tests of which there is no trace.
Automatic docking was demonstrated on STP-1. Zenith Star was to be remotely assembled. The shuttle would have never been used for this anyways, if it was not canceled.
 

Skybolt

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Oh yes, but an operational space-based megawatt laser assembled in orbit would need some test flights, I assume.... are there trace of that ?
 

mz

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Ok, had too much coffee!
The orbiter has the robot arm, astronauts and an airlock. It would be a pretty robust system for this assembly. Lots of veteran astronauts with experience from the ISS, Hubble and other sats. First launch the laser satellite's bus (you could do that even with a Delta IV), then launch the laser with the shuttle. Rendezvous and attach on orbit. Theoretically, the shuttle can even catch objects with no attitude control.
I assume autonomous assembly / docking would eat some of the payload capacity as both parties would need attitude and rendezvous hardware, also it would be a newer technology (Russians have used it successfully in space station assembly). STS can act as a sort of a "tug" so the modules can be more specialized.
 

bobbymike

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Skybolt since it was your DTIC find you should post the link from your future ICBM/SLBM thread. I believe one of the papers about the future SLBMs had a lot of MaRV information including things like fin or strake placement to accomplish pull up/pull down maneuvers and cross range maneuvers.
 

Skybolt

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As for automatic rendez-vous, ESA too has pretty advanced technology used in the new replenishment module for the ISS. Automatic assembly is surely possible, but it would require testing, and test such things in orbit SECRETLY is quite difficult.... and that was all the argument about.
 

Byeman

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Skybolt said:
but it would require testing, and test such things in orbit SECRETLY is quite difficult.... and that was all the argument about.
No, it would be quite easy to test. Do you know all the testing that has been done on orbit to date?
 

mz

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Byeman said:
Skybolt said:
but it would require testing, and test such things in orbit SECRETLY is quite difficult.... and that was all the argument about.
No, it would be quite easy to test. Do you know all the testing that has been done on orbit to date?
Yep, the Russians have a long history of building space stations like that. And the Progress resupplies the ISS routinely - robotically. The US has had two recent autonomous demonstrators, XSS-11 and Orbital Express. At least one was successful. The ATV flies to ISS quite autonomously (the first flight had some backup Russian hardware AFAIK?). The HTV flies to the vicinity and is grabbed and berthed by the robot arm.
 

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Have we done the X-37 yet?

http://www.news.com.au/technology/is-the-x-37b-the-start-of-war-in-space/story-e6frfro0-1225856980987

Built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, the X-37 program was originally headed by NASA.

It was later turned over to the Pentagon's research and development arm and then to a secretive Air Force unit.

And when it launches tonight (local time) in a nine-minute window between 23:52 and 00:01 GMT (09:52 - 10:01 AEST), only a very select few in the US military will know what its "unspecified payload" is.

We do know it can circle the Earth for more than nine months.

“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back,” US Air Force spokesman Gary Payton told reporters yesterday.

The X37-B was originally planned to require the services of a space shuttle to launch, but now it's a standalone craft.

It also lands like a space shuttle.

As usual with this type of thing, there is plenty of speculation about what the military will do with the X-37B.

Christian Science Monitor believes the X-37B rollout may signal the start of war in space, quoting arms control advocates who say it's clearly the beginning of the "weaponisation of space"
 

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quellish

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Woody said:
Have we done the X-37 yet?
Done? It flew to orbit for the first time today. No relation to global strike. HTV-2 also flew today, which is very related.
 

bobbymike

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I posted this question on another thread as well but it is also appropriate to this topic:

Does this day - the launch of HTV-2 on an ICBM - mark the beginning of the conventional prompt global strike era? Will we see this weapon deployed?
 

flateric

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I believe, yes.
 

Skybolt

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Do you know all the testing that has been done on orbit to date?
I don't know, but I'd assume the Russians do, at least as for two satellites that go up in two different boosters, than manouver to link up and do it. If one assumes that the Black World is able to contain everything, comprising space-based megawatt lasers already tested and ready to be operational..... then everything is possible. I think that when the US will decide to develope such an operational (I stress it) weapon, everyone will know in advance.
 

quellish

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bobbymike said:
I posted this question on another thread as well but it is also appropriate to this topic:

Does this day - the launch of HTV-2 on an ICBM - mark the beginning of the conventional prompt global strike era? Will we see this weapon deployed?
No, it's not a weapon, and it wasn't on an ICBM. It was on a launcher made of reconditioned ICBM components.

Precision global strike is already here. The EE/LETB tailkit is *ready for production* and tested. Congress only needs to approve the money and we have precision nuclear strike. Nobody has developed a conventional warhead for the Mk4 RV, but using a concrete filler for a kinetic strike has been talked about. It would not be hard to do so.

HTV-2 is demonstrating a different set of technologies and capabilities. They are hoping for a more CAV-like profile that would allow it to deploy a payload at its destination. A Mk4 can't do that.
 

bobbymike

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quellish said:
bobbymike said:
I posted this question on another thread as well but it is also appropriate to this topic:

Does this day - the launch of HTV-2 on an ICBM - mark the beginning of the conventional prompt global strike era? Will we see this weapon deployed?
No, it's not a weapon, and it wasn't on an ICBM. It was on a launcher made of reconditioned ICBM components.

Precision global strike is already here. The EE/LETB tailkit is *ready for production* and tested. Congress only needs to approve the money and we have precision nuclear strike. Nobody has developed a conventional warhead for the Mk4 RV, but using a concrete filler for a kinetic strike has been talked about. It would not be hard to do so.

HTV-2 is demonstrating a different set of technologies and capabilities. They are hoping for a more CAV-like profile that would allow it to deploy a payload at its destination. A Mk4 can't do that.
The Minotaur IV is a Peacekeeper used now for space launches, given the mission the Minotaur IV just flew does it make any difference what you call it. Or is an AC-130 still just a military transport plane?

You mention that the HTV-2 is demonstrating CAV like technologies in order to deliver a payload at its' destination. Might this payload be a weapon? Then the HTV-2 is a weapon.

Besides my point wasn't to split rhetorical hairs but to ask the question about the recognition of an event marking a significant enough capability development to change how we "think" about something.

The aircraft era, it can be argued, started at Kitty Hawk not with a Da Vinci drawing. Eras begin, IMHO, with a change in how we think about the significance of an event.
 
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Ian33

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Small launch picture and other bits I found on a web browse.



Details of how it was put together



Time line (shows the delays well)



Artist drawing of test vehicle



Test routes



 

robunos

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7107179.ece


cheers,
Robin.
 

sferrin

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robunos said:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7107179.ece


cheers,
Robin.
I love how they trot this out yet again,

"US analysts have also warned of the risk that Chinese or Russian monitors might mistake a hypersonic launch for nuclear attack. “The short flight time ... leaves very little time for an assessment of the situation, putting an enormous strain on national decision-making mechanisms and increasing the probability of an accident,” argued Pavel Podvig of Stanford University. "

Gotta make it big a scarey. No matter how far-fetched someone is bound to believe it.
 

Skybolt

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Italian newspapers reported verbatim the The Times article this week-end.
Besides, am I wrong or the Mission B flight-path implies a substantial cross-range capability, while Mission A is more what a CAV/FALCON is understood to be able to do (gliding along the flight path ) ? What-if we have two different vehicles here ?
 

quellish

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Byeman said:
No, it would be quite easy to test. Do you know all the testing that has been done on orbit to date?
Only the testing that has been conducted with the level of oversight and reporting that is required by US law.

And that's everything, right?
 

sferrin

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quellish said:
Byeman said:
No, it would be quite easy to test. Do you know all the testing that has been done on orbit to date?
Only the testing that has been conducted with the level of oversight and reporting that is required by US law.

And that's everything, right?
Not sure if this is sarcasm or not. Are you saying everything should be reported as in PUBLICLY? ???
 

quellish

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sferrin said:
Not sure if this is sarcasm or not. Are you saying everything should be reported as in PUBLICLY? ???
I am saying that everything should be conducted lawfully. In the US, we do have laws that require disclosure when public funds are used.
"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"
 

quellish

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Skybolt said:
Italian newspapers reported verbatim the The Times article this week-end.
Besides, am I wrong or the Mission B flight-path implies a substantial cross-range capability, while Mission A is more what a CAV/FALCON is understood to be able to do (gliding along the flight path ) ? What-if we have two different vehicles here ?
It's one design. Previously there were two - HTV-1 and HTV-2. HTV-1 was derived from AMaRV and presented less risk, but when it ran into fabrication problems the program was streamlined and focused on HTV-2. HTV-2 is more "DARPA-hard", while HTV-1 was less risk, less payoff, but may have been easier to turn into a production vehicle.
HTV-2's first flight was, well, a first flight. Flight 2 was envelope expansion. HTV-2's high LD is part of the technical payoff of the program and enables the crossrange you see in flight 2.
 

sferrin

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quellish said:
sferrin said:
Not sure if this is sarcasm or not. Are you saying everything should be reported as in PUBLICLY? ???
I am saying that everything should be conducted lawfully. In the US, we do have laws that require disclosure when public funds are used.
"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"
So all "black" programs are illegal? ???
 

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sferrin said:
quellish said:
"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"
So all "black" programs are illegal? ???
Nope. Every year, simply publish "$2.2 billion spent on classified programs."

There. You've publicly accounted for the expenses.
 

Byeman

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quellish said:
sferrin said:
Not sure if this is sarcasm or not. Are you saying everything should be reported as in PUBLICLY? ???
I am saying that everything should be conducted lawfully. In the US, we do have laws that require disclosure when public funds are used.
"No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"
And that can be done to Congressional Oversight committees.
 

quellish

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quellish said:
So all "black" programs are illegal? ???
No. It's how the funds are reported and accounted that can make it legal or not.
For example, PE 0207248F, Special Evaluation Program, is reported in public documents as required by law even though it is a black program. TIMBERWIND was a program that was not legal through its whole life cycle. SDIO may have had a few of those.

Byeman said:
And that can be done to Congressional Oversight committees.
Depends on the program. Different programs have different laws governing them. Programs that fall under the civilian intelligence agencies have one set of oversight rules, military programs another.
But all of that is another topic. Ask your local JAG or Inspector General, and be sure to CYA.
 
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OK I'm a little confused, this topic started with a quote from Defense Secretary Robert Gates “We have, in addition to the nuclear deterrent today, a couple of things we didn't have in the Soviet days… And we have prompt global strike affording us some conventional alternatives on long-range missiles that we didn’t have before.”

Ensuing has been lots of discussion regarding Precision global strike, (tail kits for conventionally armed MaRV's etc).

My question is, do we feel that an ICBM launched from up to 6000 miles away is prompt enough?

Whilst It's a fair comment that the intended targets for these weapons are unlikely to have access to satelite monitoring of missile launches (and so will not be tipped off about the imminent execution of their death sentence). It is an equally fair comment that high value individuals move about frequently (thoughts of Sadam, a restaurant and a B1 or OBL, a sat phone and tora bora come to mind).

How about a 500 lb JDAM out of the back of an X37b? does its level of maneuvering capability (possible capability to hold on station?) offer a level of persistant global strike capability. Would this hypothetical combination offer any advantages in terms of "promptness"?
 

bobbymike

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Catalytic said:
OK I'm a little confused, this topic started with a quote from Defense Secretary Robert Gates “We have, in addition to the nuclear deterrent today, a couple of things we didn't have in the Soviet days… And we have prompt global strike affording us some conventional alternatives on long-range missiles that we didn’t have before.”

Ensuing has been lots of discussion regarding Precision global strike, (tail kits for conventionally armed MaRV's etc).

My question is, do we feel that an ICBM launched from up to 6000 miles away is prompt enough?

Whilst It's a fair comment that the intended targets for these weapons are unlikely to have access to satelite monitoring of missile launches (and so will not be tipped off about the imminent execution of their death sentence). It is an equally fair comment that high value individuals move about frequently (thoughts of Sadam, a restaurant and a B1 or OBL, a sat phone and tora bora come to mind).

How about a 500 lb JDAM out of the back of an X37b? does its level of maneuvering capability (possible capability to hold on station?) offer a level of persistant global strike capability. Would this hypothetical combination offer any advantages in terms of "promptness"?
It is all about concept of operations (what follows is very simplistic reasoning). The key sentence in any global strike article is usually that "the purpose of a Prompt Global Strike System is too hit ANYWHERE on the planet in under two hours" and that is supposed to include from detection to approval (POTUS) to launch and warhead impact/detonation. It will be far more "prompt" in this role than any current system by far - except of course nuclear armed systems (ICBMs and SLBMs) and no one wants to light that candle)

So obviously it is a very restrictive set of circumstances that will make this system a viable use of military power. If there are drones or fighters (or a cruise missile aboard an SSGN) inside this "two hour" window well chances are those systems would be more prompt in a certain situation. Also you are right to point out that for most adversaries [a system like this might be used against] will probably know nothing about it until warhead impact (so would seem very prompt indeed).

As for the X-37 I cannot foresee, IMHO, this system deploying weapons of any kind (A laser for self defense ???) because I don't think any nation will so overtly cross the "space weapons" barrier in the near term.
 

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Persistent global strike is an interesting concept, but if your target has a 20 minutes lead time, on your same words, there is no utility in it, X-37B or not. To kill (er, target) someone, i mean an individual, not a fixed target, via a conventional airstrike with a lead time of less than 20 minutes the best way in 20 years is a very high altitude, very long endurance fleet of UCAVs armed with hypervelocity PGS. You have to know the general location of your target (e.g. South Waziristan), have two or three UCAVs orbiting and wait. Better than that there is only a GEO laser battle station with a multimegawatt weapon. But that is sci-fi right now.
 

mz

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People need to know the basics of orbital mechanics to understand why space sucks as a place to put traditional weapons in, since you're probably not going to pass close the target area soon. So an ICBM is much faster.

If your target is not on the equator, you have to be in an inclined orbit. Since the Earth turns under you, the target only passes under your path once or twice every 24 hours (if your target is on a lower latitude than your inclination, your orbit passes it both ascending and descending). So the average wait time might be 6 hours. And even then, your phase might be wrong - you're actually on the other side of the earth and only there 45 minutes later (or earlier) when the target is already quite far from directly under your orbit.

Changing orbital inclination in low earth orbit is very very propulsion intensive, it's close to a new launch. No spacecraft can do significant plane changes.

The only way this would work would be a constellation of satellites in different planes or then some further from Earth orbits that can strike different locations with smaller delta vee penalties, but then, those take time to strike too because of the distance.
 

Skybolt

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Precisely. That's why I talked of GEO.
 
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