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Hypersonic Strike Vehicle

tomahawk6

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The Russians violated the INF agreement and to avoid being ar a disadvantage the US withdrew to make intermediate range weapons.
 

MarkOttawa

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Now USAF hypersonics:

Hypersonics Pitch Day: Air Force Woos Startups
The nine startups are pitching everything from composite materials to small propulsion units that can enable hypersonic (i.e. faster than Mach 5) flight.

Hypersonics and “pitch days,” two of the hottest concepts at the Air Force right now, will come together for the first time Nov. 7. Air Force experts will judge products and ideas from startup firms related to solving key challenges to hypersonic flight, such as Mach 5-plus propulsion and new materials that can withstand extremely high temperatures.

Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, military deputy to Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper, will oversee the panel of judges who pick the winner of a same-day contract of up to $750,000 to jumpstart their work, according to an Oct. 18 announcement from Air Force Materiel Command’s 96th Test Wing. The pitch day will be held at the Doolittle Institute in Niceville, Fla.

“Fielding hypersonic weapons is a top priority for our warfighters. The Air Force is leading the
way, and we can use all the help we can get from innovative companies,” Richardson said.
“That’s one reason why this pitch day is so exciting.”

“Pitch days” for startup firms, ubiquitous in the Silicon Valley venture capital environment, have become a staple of Air Force efforts to rapidly ingest new technologies, software, data processes and manufacturing tools into service systems development. The first such event was held in March in New York; after the hypersonics day, the next will be “Space Pitch Day” in San Francisco on Nov. 5-6. Of the some 11 total now planned, topics include: “Joint Strike Fighter Pitch Day: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics” and “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Special Forces (SOF) Pitch Day.” The dates for future events are announced only once they are scheduled.

A crucial hub in the process is AFWERX, the organization launched by the service in 2017 to foster innovation within the Air Force, and link with innovators in industry, academia and think tanks. AFWERX vetted the companies pitching on hypersonics via their 19.2 Open Innovation Small Business Innovation Research call.

The nine startups on hypersonics are pitching everything from composite materials to small propulsion units. The companies are: GoHypersonic Inc.; UES, Inc.; Powdermet Inc.; Ursa Major Technologies, Inc.; Spectral Energies, LLC; Goodman Technologies LLC; Advanced Silicon Group; Fourth State Communications, LLC; and FAAC, Inc. Videos on each and their offerings are available on the Doolittle Institute website.

Winning pitch day tech will support the two major Air Force boost-glide hypersonic prototype efforts now underway: the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon and the Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (AARW).

Lockheed Martin, which perhaps not coincidently is the prime for the F-35 that will eventually carry hypersonic missiles, is building two prototype weapon systems: with a $928 million contract awarded in April 2018 for the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon; and a $480 million contract for the AARW. Both are expected to reach early operational capability by 2022.

DoD has myriad hypersonics projects underway, and is attempting to coordinate early foundational work across service and with agencies such as DARPA. One key linchpin among the services is the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, built byDynetics, which won a $351.6 million contract in August to build at least 20 glide bodies for the Army and the Navy
[emphasis added]. Some components will be used by the Air Force as well. That said, the Air Force, Army and Navy programs are separate rather than under a joint program office, as my office-mate Sydney explained in detail back in March.
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/10/hypersonics-pitch-day-air-force-woos-startups/

Mark
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Colin P said:
How does one aim one of these weapons at a moving target, like an aircraft carrier?

Not sure, but I think it is fired into the right area and then has terminal guidance with target discrimination.
 

MarkOttawa

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Start of a major article:

An ‘Arms Race in Speed’: Hypersonic Weapons and the Changing Calculus of Battle

Speed. Since nations first went to war, speed has been a key factor in combat, particularly at the very onset of battle. The rapid concentration and employment of force can help a belligerent overpower an opponent and avoid a costly war of attrition, an approach that underlaid Germany’s blitzkrieg (lightning war) strategy during World War II and America's “shock and awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003.

The X-51A, shown as an artist's concept, is an experimental, scramjet-powered hypersonic aircraft that achieved speeds of over Mach 5 in a 2013 test. (Graphic: U.S. Air Force)

The X-51A, shown as an artist's concept, is an experimental, scramjet-powered hypersonic aircraft that achieved speeds of over Mach 5 in a 2013 test. (Graphic: U.S. Air Force)
Speed is also a significant factor in the nuclear attack and deterrence equation. Following the advent of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the late 1950s, which reduced to mere minutes the time between a launch decision and catastrophic destruction on the other side of the planet, nuclear-armed states have labored to deploy early-warning and command-and-control systems capable of detecting a missile launch and initiating a retaliatory strike before their own missiles could be destroyed. Preventing the accidental or inadvertent onset of nuclear war thus requires enough time for decision-makers to ascertain the accuracy of reported missile launches and choose appropriate responses. This is an imperative reinforced by several Cold War incidents in which launch detection systems provided false indications of such action but human operators intervened to prevent unintended retaliation.

Today, speed will alter the calculus of combat and deterrence even further with the imminent deployment of hypersonic weapons—maneuverable vehicles that fly at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5 and higher). China, Russia, and the United States are testing hypersonic weapons of various types to enhance strategic nuclear deterrence and strengthen front-line combat units. Existing ICBM reentry vehicles also travel at those superfast speeds, but the hypersonic glide vehicles now in development are far more maneuverable, making their tracking and interception nearly impossible. Such dual-use vehicles, capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads, are also being fitted on missiles intended for use in a regional context, say, in a battle erupting in the Baltic region or the South China Sea. With the time between launch and arrival on target dwindling to 10 minutes or less, the introduction of these weapons will introduce new and potent threats to global nuclear stability.

Hypersonic weapons are said by proponents to be especially useful at the onset of battle, when they can attack an opponent’s high-value targets, including air defense radars, fighter bases, missile batteries, and command-and-control facilities. The incapacitation of those facilities at an early stage in the conflict could help smooth the way for follow-on attacks by regular air, sea, and ground forces. Yet, as the same facilities are often tied into a nuclear-armed country’s nuclear warning and command systems, attacks against them could be interpreted by the target state as the prelude to a disarming first strike and trigger the early use of its own nuclear weapons.

From an arms control perspective, the deployment of hypersonic weapons raises a host of additional concerns...
https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-06/features/arms-race-speed-hypersonic-weapons-changing-calculus-battle

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Underway

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Colin P said:
How does one aim one of these weapons at a moving target, like an aircraft carrier?

It's a tough problem.  The missile moves so fast how do you steer it with any accuracy into a target?  Heck how do you have sensors that can pull good information out of a radar return when your sensor is moving at that speed?

I suspect just use nukes and all you need to get is close.  Alternatively you can go the gets there fast, then slows down for terminal/targeting route, or gets there slow and uses hypersonic for the terminal phase to avoid defensive fire.
 

a_majoor

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Once a target has been localized, weapon moving at hypersonic velocity will cover 1600m per second or greater. The kill chain is to generalize the location of the target, launch the weapon, guide it into the target box and allow the weapon to make terminal adjustments. An aircraft carrier moving at 30 knots will be essentially stationary compared to the incoming hypersonic weapon.

A similar calculus can be made for virtually any sort of target. Indeed the only target which could evade a hypersonic missile would be another hypersonic vehicle or a satellite in Low Earth Orbit
 

Good2Golf

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Colin P said:
How does one aim one of these weapons at a moving target, like an aircraft carrier?

30-40 kts is pretty much standing still when your traveling 3,000-5,000 mph.  A CVN travelling at ‘advertised’ speeds travels it own length in the same time that a hypersonic weapon has covered 23nm, so ‘in the right area’ combined with a ‘ terminal tweak’ is Likely to be a pretty solid ouch...

Regards
G2G
 

SeaKingTacco

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tomahawk6 said:
Certainly one would need gps to target a CVN ?

Why?

Not trolling- I just want to see where you are going with this line of thinking before I respond again.
 

tomahawk6

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We are close to OPSEC territory I suspect but the same ability for precision artillery fire I would guess applies to hitting a target at sea. Of course if your warhead is nuclear you dont have to be too accurate.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Ok, got ya.

There are methods of guidance that do not rely on GPS.  I can think of a half dozen ways of getting a hypersonic weapon to it's target that do not rely on a onboard, terminal sensor (which I cannot puzzle out how to make work, given the velocities involved.

You are correct- nuclear weapons mean you only have to be close. However, to use a nuclear weapon against a USN carrier risks escalation that could involve the entire retaliatory weight of the US nuclear arsenal. In other words, you are risking the extinction of the entire human race, if you go that way.
 

tomahawk6

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SeaKingTacco said:
Ok, got ya.

There are methods of guidance that do not rely on GPS.  I can think of a half dozen ways of getting a hypersonic weapon to it's target that do not rely on a onboard, terminal sensor (which I cannot puzzle out how to make work, given the velocities involved.

You are correct- nuclear weapons mean you only have to be close. However, to use a nuclear weapon against a USN carrier risks escalation that could involve the entire retaliatory weight of the US nuclear arsenal. In other words, you are risking the extinction of the entire human race, if you go that way.

Any attack by PRC on US warships will probably escalate based on the nature of the attack. Non nuclear may keep it in that realm. Several years ago the PRC took a USN spy plane claiming it entered Chinese air space, Eventually the incident was deescalated. No one wants a shooting war.
 

Underway

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SeaKingTacco said:
Ok, got ya.

There are methods of guidance that do not rely on GPS.  I can think of a half dozen ways of getting a hypersonic weapon to it's target that do not rely on a onboard, terminal sensor (which I cannot puzzle out how to make work, given the velocities involved.


There are plenty of missiles out there that still use inertial guidance (open source) to get their way to a target.  If they know where they started from a GPS only adds accuracy in the flight path.  This is 70's technology.  However the sensors to calculate how fast you are going (as traditional wind speed measuring devices don't work that well), steering at that speed (vectored thrust?  Surely control surfaces won't work well) and any even minor error in targeting will result in massive accuracy errors.  For example a 1 degree difference at a nautical mile is 35 yards off the target.  This missile travels at multiple miles a second.  You have a targeting error of 1 degree you might be past the target well before you can correct the flight path!  Not saying it cant be done but unique problems to be sure.


 

tomahawk6

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We had the same principle with the Nike Herc Missile. It was designed to stop waves of Russian bombers with a nuke warhead.
 

a_majoor

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For some types of targets, the hypersonic vehicle might have a fragmenting warhead, releasing a cloud of flechettes. Since Kinetic energy is 1/2 MV^2, even small darts will have a great deal of striking power and energy. For an aircraft carrier, they would "scour" the flight deck, destroy any fittings they strike (like radar antenna) and penetrate into the ship's internal structures. It might actually be more difficult to do damage control with dozens of holes ripped through multiple compartments than a single strike, even if it is a massive one.

This sort of "scouring" attack would also be useful for distributed targets like airfields, industrial facilities, rail yards and so on. Even near misses by unitary warheads would be much like the "Grand Slam" earthquake bombs of WWII, causing immense damage through heaving the ground and undermining structures. How this would work on a ship at sea is problematic, but it certainly worked against the Tirpitz moored in Norway in 1944. Certainly any ships in harbour would be at risk, and sinking supply ships would be almost as useful as sinking the capital ships, especially in the longer term.

But there are indeed many ways to guide a hypersonic missile in the terminal phase of the attack, and it is likely there will be several different methods on board a missile to help penetrate jamming and other defenses. A latticework vane or fin on the missile is the most likely form of guidance, used extensively on Russian missiles and on the SpaceX Falcon boosters as they return from suborbital flight (at close to the sorts of speeds expected of hypersonic weapons).

Click on this image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Vympel-R-77-maks2009.jpg for an idea of what it might look like

 

daftandbarmy

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Thucydides said:
But there are indeed many ways to guide a hypersonic missile in the terminal phase of the attack, and it is likely there will be several different methods on board a missile to help penetrate jamming and other defenses.

And I'm sure that Huawei will have the contract for that :)
 

MarkOttawa

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What might Russian, Chinese and US hypersonics be good for, as seen by each country? Excerpts from lengthy piece and conclusion:

...
Are these weapons and their employment simply an evolution of existing missiles? Or a revolution that threatens to upset the balance of power? The answer still depends on decisions yet to be made. Russia appears closest to fielding hypersonic missiles, as it aspires to deploy the Avangard glide vehicle before the year is out. The United States has ambitious goals for accuracy and precision, but its most viable programs are not expected to reach operational capability until 2022. Meanwhile, China has been characteristically vague on their hypersonic weapons while still letting it be known that they are firmly committed to their development...

A trio of questions needs to be considered: What audience can hypersonic weapons be leveraged against, what tactical utility do they provide, and what strategic objectives can be advanced by using them or threatening to use them? Framing the discussion in this way is useful for delving deeper into why nations are pursuing hypersonic weapons as well as making initial assessments on how they may be operationalized. The propositions below are not exhaustive; they are meant to provoke discussion. They pair a particular application with a particular country, but there is nothing stopping Russia, China, or the United States from taking advantage of any application discussed below...

Hypersonic weapons may lead to a revolution in warfighting if countries produce them at scale. Mass production and deployment of reliable designs would mean that these weapons are no longer a niche capability targeted against a limited number of valuable targets. Rather, inflicting near-instantaneous effects over a multitude of primary and secondary targets could help realize current fears of increased crisis pressures and faster escalation dynamics. In fewer numbers, there may be evolutionary changes at the tactical and operational levels of war without drastically threatening the strategic balance of peer adversaries. In this case, they may herald another iteration of stability-instability dynamics, where states take advantage of high-end warfighting capabilities to enable grey zone aggression. Whether revolution or evolution, hypersonic weapons alone are not the challenge. They will contribute to a 21st-century combined arms dilemma that includes other new technology like cyber activities, advanced anti-submarine warfare, and space operations as well as traditional, but indispensable, maneuver forces like infantry battalions, warships, and air superiority fighters.

Alan Cummings is a Master’s candidate at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy focusing on nuclear strategy and emerging technology. He served over 10 years on active duty with the U.S. Navy before transitioning to the Navy Reserve, and was recently a research assistant with the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The views expressed here are his own and in no way represent any institution with which he is affiliated.

(This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. LLNL-JRNL-786217.)

https://warontherocks.com/2019/11/hypersonic-weapons-tactical-uses-and-strategic-goals/

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US hypersonics and missile defence vs. them:

1) Hypersonic Hype Hits Testing Hurdle In 2020

Hypersonic missiles became a household word in 2019. The U.S. taxpayer is now about to find out whether the maneuvering Mach 5+ weapons are worth all the hype—or the cost.

The focus on testing of U.S. hypersonic weapons comes none too soon, as strategic rivals forge ahead. Russian Strategic Missile Forces expect to activate the first battery of Avangard intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with a nuclear hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) by the end of December, fulfilling a patient, 15-year development program.

Previewing a likely deployment by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force next year, China rolled out at least 16 DF-17 missiles with conventional HGVs during the National Day Parade on Oct. 1.

    ARRW and HCSW are set for 2020 flight tests
    “Range Reapers” and “Range Hawks” join test fleet

If everything goes according to the current plan, the first U.S. HGV will enter service in about 2-3 years, starting with the Air Force’s Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) in 2022, followed by the Army’s Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) and the Navy’s Intermediate-Range Conventional Prompt Strike (IR CPS) a year later. Air-launched scramjet-powered weapons—the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) could enter service at some point between the fielding dates for the HCSW and ARRW, but the precise timing has not been released.

In 2020, the focus of the Pentagon’s $10 billion bet on HGVs, scramjets and hypersonic defensive systems will enter a new phase. Over the next four years, the three armed services plan to conduct a total of 40 hypersonic weapon flight tests, with the first two in 2020 [emphasis added].

That is the plan anyway. It has been over two years since the Pentagon completed the last flight test of a hypersonic weapon—a Navy evaluation of the forerunner of the IR CPS and LRHW configuration for the HGV and two-stage missile stack. Despite the recent international interest, designing a successful maneuvering hypersonic weapon remains one of the most challenging assignments for aerodynamics and propulsion engineers.

Not surprisingly, U.S. test schedules have continued to slip. The original schedule for DARPA’s Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program called for a first flight test by the end of June 2019, but unspecified technical difficulties caused a delay to the end of the year.

The Pentagon’s overlapping hypersonic programs are also prone to creating confusion. TBG shares a similar profile to ARRW. In fact, the TBG is itself testing two HGVs: one designed by Lockheed Martin, the other by Raytheon. The follow-on ARRW prototyping program also is split between Lockheed and Raytheon HGVs, although the only hypersonic weapon with an official designation so far—AGM-183A—belongs to the Lockheed version of ARRW.

Whether launched from air, ground or sea, the next round of testing is about to begin. If the first TBG flight test is completed by the end of 2019, the first AGM-183A ARRW and HCSW tests should occur by the end of 2020. Then the Pentagon plans to ramp up flight testing to unprecedented levels, even surpassing Russia and China.

“The hypersonics flight-test rhythm has increased to two events per year starting in fiscal 2020 and will continue to accelerate up to 20 events a year,” the Army said in a Nov. 27 acquisition notice...https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/hypersonic-hype-hits-testing-hurdle-2020

2) MDA Kickstarts New Way To Kill Hypersonic Missiles

It looks like the military is taking a regional approach to hypersonic missile defense, while it continues to pursue a space sensor layer for homeland defense.

The Missile Defense Agency held a closed-door meeting today at its Alabama headquarters with defense industry reps to talk through ideas for knocking hard-to-kill hypersonic missiles out of the sky.

The classified meeting will begin laying out the basics for what’s being called the Hypersonic Defense Regional Glide Phase Weapon System. While details of the program were scarce, its name may provide some clues.

It’s clear “they’re going after the regional as opposed to the homeland mission,” Tom Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said. The lack of a space-based sensor layer likely makes this the more achievable play in the short-term, he said, since these weapons can be forward deployed on ships or overseas bases to target shorter-range weapons [empasis added].

The new effort adds to the panoply of hypersonic defense programs the Pentagon is scrambling to get off the ground as quickly as possible in the face of real advances by China and Russia to field such weapons.

Short or long-range, hypersonic weapons, which travel at Mach 5 or above pose a tough challenge for the Pentagon as it tries to come up with ways to defeat them.

“If war breaks out tomorrow, we’re probably not going to kill hypersonic boost glide missiles,” the Pentagon’s research and development chief, Mike Griffin, said earlier this year.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Gen. John Hyten, then commander of the Pentagon’s Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, 2018. Hyten has since been sworn in as the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, putting him in a position to begin to push for just such programs.

As with the newest program, the Pentagon’s efforts have been clouded in secrecy as the military figures out a way to talk about the problem, and what they’re doing about it. That makes it hard to figure out just how far away the US is from fielding either offensive or defensive weapons [emphasis added]...
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/12/mda-kickstarts-new-way-to-kill-hypersonic-missiles/

Mark
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