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https://aviationweek.com/missile-de...rch-pentagon-s-classified-hypersonic-programs

Clues Emerge In Search For Pentagon’s Classified Hypersonic Programs

Beyond seven acknowledged projects aimed at developing long-range, maneuvering missiles with a top speed over Mach 5, the U.S. Defense Department is working in classified secrecy on at least two more hypersonic weapon programs, industry officials say. The mystery of the classified projects—including such details as their development or operational status and any gaps each fills in the Pentagon’s unfolding hypersonic weapons architecture—remains unsolved.
 

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http://m.aviationweek.com/missile-d...rch-pentagon-s-classified-hypersonic-programs

Clues Emerge In Search For Pentagon’s Classified Hypersonic Programs
Aviation Week & Space Technology
Steve Trimble

Jul 26, 2019

Mystery Missiles?

Beyond seven acknowledged projects aimed at developing long-range, maneuvering missiles with a top speed over Mach 5, the U.S. Defense Department is working in classified secrecy on at least two more hypersonic weapon programs, industry officials say.

The mystery of the classified projects—including such details as their development or operational status and any gaps each fills in the Pentagon’s unfolding hypersonic weapons architecture—remains unsolved. But a new clue embedded in the LinkedIn profile of a senior Defense Department hypersonic weapons expert may point to the answers.

Seven U.S. hypersonic projects cover air-, land- and sea-based weapons

Pentagon expert’s online profile points to existence of two more programs

Greg Sullivan, a well-regarded expert in the high-speed flight community, describes himself on the professional social media platform as an on-site supporter of air-breathing hypersonic weapons to the department’s research and engineering arm.

Sullivan’s profile also cites his knowledge of “additional hypersonic programs,” which include a nearly comprehensive list of the Pentagon’s acknowledged projects. Intriguingly, his original list also included two additional acronyms representing hypersonic programs: “HACM” and “HCCW.” Shortly after Aviation Week inquired to the Air Force Public Affairs office for details about HACM and HCCW, both acronyms were deleted from the LinkedIn page.

The Air Force does not acknowledge the existence of any program named HACM or HCCW, and no reference to either acronym appears in the military’s public documents, such as budget materials and press releases.

Two sources say they have heard vague references to the existence of a hypersonic program called HACM, but had no details, including what the acronym means. The HCCW program was not known to any sources or analysts contacted by Aviation Week.

The expert hypersonic community is an unusually tight-knit group, reflecting the technology’s mostly experimental status for decades, until its recent rise as one of the Pentagon’s top acquisition priorities. The existence of two new acronyms has prompted several speculative guesses.

Richard Hallion, a former Air Force chief historian who specializes in the history of hypersonic technology, noted that the acronym HACM could be interpreted broadly to cover almost any type of hypersonic weapon, including scramjet-powered cruise missiles or air-launched boost-glide systems.

“Well, the H is obviously [for] hypersonic,” says Hallion. “The rest suggests a mix of ‘A’ for ‘Advanced’ or ‘Air-Breathing’ or ‘Air-Launched.’ ‘C’ for ‘Conventional’ or ‘Capability’ or ‘Concept,’ [and] ‘M’ for ‘Missile.’”

Scramjets have recently moved to the forefront of the Pentagon’s hypersonic weapons portfolio, but so far there is no acknowledged follow-on program to produce and test an operational version of DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept. Credit: NASA
The meaning of the HCCW acronym proves even more elusive. For Justin Bronk, a research fellow specializing in airpower at the Royal United Services Institute, one speculative interpretation conforms to his analytical view of a gap in the U.S. military’s weapons arsenal. If the acronym stands for “Hypersonic Counter-Cruise Weapon,” Bronk says, HCCW could be a valuable interceptor specifically tailored against high-speed, air-breathing cruise missiles.

Although the exact role and status of HACM and HCCW are unknown, industry officials have repeatedly said that at least two additional classified programs exist beyond the Defense Department’s seven acknowledged programs. The public list leaves little room for gaps to be filled by new weapons, as they already span air-, land- and sea-launched options and include two different types of boost-glide systems—winged and biconic—and a scramjet-powered cruise missile.

The plethora of planned hypersonic options are intended to serve tactical and strategic goals. On the tactical level, the Pentagon’s war planners will gain a new option for striking mobile missile launchers and countering long-range attacks on the Navy’s surface fleet by an adversary with hypersonic anti-ship missiles. The future U.S. inventory of hypersonic missiles also is intended to serve as a deterrent option short of a nuclear response, as adversaries such as China and Russia stock their arsenals with a range of new hypersonic weapons.

The Air Force alone accounts for two of the acknowledged hypersonic weapon programs: a boost-glide system with a winged glide vehicle called the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). Another called the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) relies on a less-risky biconic glide vehicle.

The ARRW, also known as the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A, is based on the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program, a risk-reduction effort funded by DARPA. The same winged glide vehicle also is being adapted for ground launch under DARPA’s Operational Fires (OpFires) program. Raytheon says it is developing a more advanced winged glider under the TBG program, which could be fielded as a second-generation version of ARRW.



HCSW, meanwhile, is the air-launched version of a biconic-shaped glider originally designed by Sandia National Laboratories. The Navy and Army are adapting the same original design for the sea-launched Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) system and the Army’s ground-launched Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW).

Finally, Raytheon and Lockheed are each designing different scramjet-powered missiles under DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program. Weaponized versions of HAWC are under study by the Air Force and Navy for air and sea launch. One possible gap in the weapons portfolio is the apparent lack of an operational follow-on program for HAWC, even though Air Force officials say the program is slightly ahead of DARPA’s TBG program. The TBG demonstrator is intended to reduce risk for the operational ARRW system, but no such operational follow-on exists publicly for HAWC.

Tom Bussing, vice president of advanced missile systems for Raytheon, acknowledged two hypersonic programs exist that he cannot speak about.

“There are probably six different types of hypersonic programs that we have,” Bussing said in a recent interview. “Some are classified, so I can’t speak [about] them because we are not at liberty to announce them.” But he named Raytheon’s role in four hypersonic programs: TBG, HAWC, CPS and LRHW.

DARPA has announced Raytheon’s involvement as one of two weapon designers for TBG and HAWC, but neither the Navy nor the Army has explained Raytheon’s role in CPS and LRHW. The Air Force has announced that Lockheed is the weapon system integrator for the HCSW variant, but no such role has been announced for the Army and Navy versions of the common glide vehicle. So far, Bussing can only acknowledge that Sandia remains the designer of the biconic glider for HCSW, CPS and LRHW.

“That technology has been transitioned over to the CPS program and also to the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program,” Bussing said. “So we’re involved in both, and we’re working directly with Sandia.”

The Defense Department has inserted $10.5 billion into a five-year budget plan released in March to develop and field the long list of offensive and defensive hypersonic weapon systems. But a detailed check of the budgets for unclassified programs reveals a significant surplus, which could be used to fund classified projects.

The combined budget accounts for ARRW, HCSW, CPS and LRHW amount to $7.7 billion over the next five years. The Missile Defense Agency’s $700 million planned investment in counter-hypersonics raises the five-year spending total to $8.36 billion. DARPA does not release a five-year budget, but proposed to spend $222 million in fiscal 2020 on TBG, HAWC and OpFires. That still leaves an unexplained gap of about $2.5 billion in planned spending by the Defense Department on hypersonic weapons over the next five years.
 
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Raytheon, DARPA complete design review for hypersonic weapon

Raytheon, DARPA complete design review for hypersonic weapon
By
Ed Adamczyk

(0)


An X-51A WaveRider hypersonic flight test vehicle is uploaded to an Air Force Flight Test Center B-52 for fit testing at Edwards Air Force Base on July 17, 2009. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force/Chad Bellay



July 29 (UPI) -- Raytheon Co. on Monday announced a successful design review of the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program.

The review was conducted in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the arm of the Defense Department responsible for development of emerging technologies for military use.

Hypersonic vehicles operate at high altitude and at speeds up to five times the speed of sound. A boost glide weapon uses a rocket to accelerate its payload and achieve hypersonic speeds, before the payload separates from the rocket and glides to its target, according to Raytheon. The proposed weapons offer engagement from longer distances, shorter response times and greater effectiveness.

"We understand the urgency of the need and are working fast to deliver this advanced technology to our nation's military," Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president said in a press release. "The goal is to keep America ahead of emerging threats, and we are well on our way."

RELATED Defense secretary nominee says Pentagon needs upgrades, military focus

The Pentagon's budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 for all hypersonic-related research is $2.6 billion, including $157.4 million for hypersonic defense programs, a 26-page report by the Congressional Research service, sent to Congress on July 11, indicates.

"After nearly a decade of chronic underfunding, our military can no longer be counted on to have the best of everything. China and Russia have passed us up in long-range precision fire, hypersonic weapons and other key investments," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said on July 27 in praise of the budget bill and its inclusion of funding for hypersonic weapons.

A similar weapon developed by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries, the Arrow-3 air defense system, recently passed a live interception test in Alaska, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday. The missile, designed as a defense mechanism against the ballistic missiles in Iranian and Syrian stockpiles, can shoot down missiles in space at an altitude that would safely and effectively eliminate any non-conventional warheads.

RELATED Pentagon wants more resources to counter Russia, China threats

Raytheon was awarded a $63.3 million contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program. In June, the U.S. Air Force successfully tested a hypersonic air-to-ground weapon prototype carried by a B-52H bomber at Edwards AFB, Calif.
 

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Hypersonics: From Zero To 40 Plus Flights In Next Four Years

Hypersonics: From Zero To 40 Plus Flights In Next Four Years
As Mark Lewis, an expert on hypersonics at the Institute for Defense Analyses, said here at the NDIA conference: "You can’t walk more than 10 feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word hypersonics."
By COLIN CLARKon July 31, 2019 at 9:35 AM





PURDUE UNIVERSITY: The Pentagon plans to nearly double its spending on hypersonic-related technologies in fiscal year 2020 — if Congress approves it — and hopes to run around 40 flight tests of hypersonic vehicles over the next four years, Pentagon officials say.

It’s all part of the much higher profile of hypersonics have in the US military, with the White House receiving a hypersonics briefing earlier this month.

As Mark Lewis, an expert at the Institute for Defense Analyses, said here at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) conference on the topic: “You can’t walk more than 10 feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word hypersonics.”

But the US effort lags those of China and Russia in several key metrics, at least. Lewis’ chart below speaks for itself.



And, Lewis notes, the US has not flown hypersonic vehicles enough to gather data and press forward with redesigned systems improved as a result of testing. The Pentagon’s 2020 budget request for both hypersonic vehicles and defense against them is $2.6 billion. Some $157.4 million of that is for hypersonic defense programs. None of these are programs of record. As any close watcher of the US military knows, that usually means there is actually not a formal requirement for a weapon. So we may be pressing ahead, but these efforts remain fragile and lacking in institutional support.



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The DoD’s Deputy Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, Alan Shaffer, appeared here and offered an abundance of caution.

“We’ve got to pay attention to cost and we’ve got to pay attention to affordability,” he said. “Folks, I need you to make hypersonics in a way that we can produce them, I need for industry and the military to think about intellectual property and the possible fragility of the industrial supply chain.”

At lunch, the chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee offered a splash of cold water to the enthusiasm of many at the sold-out conference. Hypersonics research is just getting going again at the same time that a huge swell of funding for other weapons loom.

https://sites.breakingmedia.com/uploads/sites/3/2019/06/F-35I-Older Forum-Adir-first-flight-over-Israel-CzlFctcXEAATp5_-300x200.jpg

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“We have nuclear modernization and there is going to be a bulge in the budget. We have a new submarine and there is going to be bulge in the budget. We have a new bomber and there is going to be bulge in the budget,” Rep. Pete Visclosky said. Bear in mind that Visclosky represents a nearby constituency to Lafayette, the home of Purdue. And the university offers one of the most advanced wind tunnels designed for hypersonics work, so he would normally be inclined to support funding for something so close to home.

A key thing the hypersonics community might want to consider is trying to consolidate what defense officials and experts here said was overlapping work and some technological duplication.

“We need a coordinated national approach,” said Lewis, and it must be one that includes NASA and strong international partners like Australia. The US and the Aussies have worked together on a program called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE). Australia also offers the rare jewel of the 47,177 square mile Woomera Test Range for hypersonics testing.

The US military is keenly aware of the need for some consolidation, as the head of Army Futures Command said in May.

“We are looking across the entire investment portfolio for hypersonics and trying to figure out how we are going to start doing some consolidation,” said Gen. John “Mike” Murray. He was the Army’s funding guru — the deputy chief of staff for programming — before becoming the first-ever chief of the newly created Army Futures Command last August.

“It’s too early for me to say ‘this program, that program, this program,’” he said, “but we know that hypersonics are going to be very expensive, and we’re going to have to make a decision on the exact path we’re headed down pretty quick.”
 

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RAP: Rocket Assisted Projectile (current M549A1 or future XM1113). ERCA: Extended Range Cannon Artillery. GMLRS-ER: Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System – Extended-Range. ATACMS: Army Tactical Missile System. PRSM: Precision Strike Missile.
SOURCE: US Army. SLRC and Hypersonic Missile ranges as reported in Army Times.
 

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This could put the cat amongst the pigeons in the South China Sea

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-u-s-army-wants-a-cannon-with-a-crazy-and-nearly-im-1829150693

The U.S. Army Wants a Cannon with a Crazy and Nearly Impossible Range


Kyle Mizokami

9/19/18 2:45pm
Filed to: STRATEGIC LONG RANGE CANNON

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M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer.Image: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Gabrielle Weaver (Department of Defense)Foxtrot AlphaTech and news from the world of modern defense.PrevNextView All
The U.S. Army wants to push its long-range guns into territory artillery officers have previously only dreamt of. The service’s Strategic Long Range Cannon is projected to fire way, way, way farther than any existing gun, or any gun ever made. And ironically, developments in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein hint that such a weapon is actually possible.

Last week, according to Military.com, the head of the Army’s Futures Command, General John “Mike” Murray, told Congress the service is working on a new cannon. The Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC), according to Murray, would have a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles—or 1,150 miles.

A cannon with a 1,150 mile range is fantasy-land capability. The Army’s largest guns, the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and the M777 towed howitzer, are 155-millimeter guns with a maximum range of 18.6 miles. The Long Range Land Attack Projectile, a round specially designed for the Zumwalt-class of destroyers and then promptly cancelled over cost concerns, has a range of about 85 miles. Even the massive 16-inch guns of the Iowa-class battleships had a range of only 23 miles.

How in the world does the Army intend to reach 1,150 miles? That’s a really good question.


Gerald Bull with one of his many long range gun projects, Montreal, 1965.Photo: AP
In the 1960s, Canadian artillery engineer Gerald Bull built the High Altitude Research Project, or HARP. HARP was basically a large gun consisting of of two 16-inch naval gun barrels welded end-to-end. Constructed on the island of Barbados, the HARP gun was 118 feet long and weighed 100 tons. HARP was conceived as a satellite launch vehicle and could reliably loft projectiles up to 111 miles into space, but was cancelled in 1967.

In the 1980s, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein commissioned Bull to work on his dream project: a supergun designed to be the largest ever made. The “Baby Babylon” gun had a bore diameter of 330-millimeters (as opposed to the M777’s 155-millimeters) and was one hundred feet long. It would have had a range of 400 miles if adequately mounted.

But “Baby Babylon” was only a prototype—Bull believed the fully operational system, cleverly called “Big Babylon” would have had a bore diameter of 914 millimeters and powerful enough to launch a 1,322 pound projectile a distance of 528 miles.


A 50 meter long test gun built by Gerald Bull in Canada, 1990.Image: Ponopresse (Getty)
Bull envisioned his project could a “satellite launch vehicle,” but to the Iraqis funding his project it was almost certainly a weapon to use against Israel and other regime enemies, capable of lobbing huge projectiles filled with high explosives or even chemical weapons against Israel. Bull was assassinated in Belgium in 1990, shot five times in the neck and back with a suppressed 7.65mm pistol. Bull is suspected to have been assassinated by Israeli agents.

So the Strategic Long Range Cannon could be a “Son of the Big Babylon”, simply an enormous gun with a long barrel using high performance propellant powder. If the Army did built something akin to “Big Babylon”, it would likely trade a smaller projectile for greater range. GPS guidance means that artillery shells can land within just a few feet of the target, requiring a smaller projectile with less explosive power to destroy it.

Another possibility is SLRC is a giant railgun. Instead of using chemical energy in the form of gunpowder, a railgun would use tremendous amounts of electricity to power rows of electromagnets. The U.S. Navy’s railgun prototype uses up to 25 megawatts of power—enough to power 19,000 homes, and with a range of over 100 miles still doesn’t come anywhere close enough to the desired 1,150 mile range. A rocket booster could cut down on the amount of juice needed, kicking in as gravity slows the projectile down.


U.S. Navy prototype railgun, Dalhgren, Virginia.Image: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams
SLRC would change the rules of modern warfare. A gun based in southern Germany could hit targets as far away as western Russia, though falling short of Moscow itself. The Army would use SLRC to attack targets far behind enemy lines, such as army-level headquarters, ammunition depots, fuel dumps, and other high-level targets. Although many of these targets would ideally be serviced by the U.S. Air Force, SLRC would give the Army the capability to hit targets quickly without reaching out to another service, and without endangering pilots.

Whatever SLRC is, it is almost certainly too large to put on a vehicle, even a train. The gun could be built at a fixed location—say, a U.S. Army base in Bavaria—buried under hundreds of tons of reinforced concrete, and pointed east. During wartime its range would make it Enemy of the Motherland No. 1, and Russia would likely try very hard to disable it with tactical aircraft and cruise missiles.

Is the Strategic Long Range Cannon a feasible concept? It’s hard to say. Gerald Bull clearly thought a chemical version was possible. As for railgun technology, the Army’s railgun projects have been fairly hush-hush. Something is making the Army’s Futures Command optimistic enough to mention it to Congress.

Foxtrot Alpha will report more as we hear about it.
 
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Northrop Grumman scramjet engine produces record thrust in test

A scramjet engine made by Northrop Grumman set a record for the highest thrust produced by an air-breathing hypersonic engine in US Air Force history.

Ground tests of the 5.5m (18ft)-long engine were conducted by US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Test Center staff at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee. The engine was successfully operated at simulated conditions above Mach 4 and endured 30min of total combustion time during a nine-month testing period, an accumulation of run time that Northrop Grumman calls “unprecedented”.

“AFRL, in conjunction with Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) and Northrop Grumman, achieved over 13,000lb-thrust (57.8kN) from a scramjet engine during testing at Arnold AFB,” says Todd Barhorst, AFRL aerospace engineer and lead for the Medium Scale Critical Components programme.



Northrop Grumman scramjet engine in ground testing

Air Force Research Laboratory

The scramjet is about the size of a conventional turbojet engine used in a fighter aircraft and significantly larger than the scramjet that powered the X-51A Waverider hypersonic vehicle.

“The plan for a larger and faster hypersonic air-breathing engine was established 10 years ago during the X-51 test program, as the Air Force recognised the need to push the boundaries of hypersonic research,” Barhorst says. “A new engine with 10-times the flow of the X-51 would allow for a new class of scramjet vehicles.”

The X-51A’s scramjet engine was pioneering in its use of hydrocarbon fuel – the sort of aviation gas that powers standard turbojets – but only produced 500-1,000lb-thrust. And, the missile only flew at hypersonic speeds for 210s. If Northrop Grumman is able to repeat its ground test performance in flight then its scramjet engine would greatly surpass the achievements of the X-51A.

The successful tests come after AEDC’s Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit facility underwent a two-year upgrade to enable large-scale scramjet combustor tests over a range of test conditions. Previously, an evaluation of the nation’s test facilities concluded that none could test a large-scale scramjet engine in a thermally-relevant environment.
 
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New Army Laser Could Kill Cruise Missiles

New Army Laser Could Kill Cruise Missiles
Instead of building a 100-kilowatt weapon, the Army now plans to leap straight to 250 or even 300 kW -- which could shoot down much tougher targets.
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on August 05, 2019 at 4:48 PM


Russian Kalibr cruise missile

WASHINGTON: Less than three months after awarding a $130 million contract to build a 100-kilowatt laser, the Army has decided to skip the 100 kW weapon and go straight for a much more powerful one in the 250-300 kW range. Unlike the original design, the higher power level could potentially shoot down incoming cruise missiles — plugging a glaring gap in US defenses against a Russia, China or Iran.

The US has invested massively for decades in defenses against rocket-boosted ballisticmissiles such as Scuds and ICBMs. But meanwhile jet-powered cruise missiles — which fly lower, slower, and more maneuverably — have proliferated around the world, even to high-end irregular forces like Iran-backed Hezbollah.

“It’s a tremendous piece that we have neglected and only over the past couple of years have begun to reckon with,” said Tom Karako, director of missile defense studies at the thinktank CSIS. “This sort of thing sounds like exactly what we should be doing.”


The original Dynetics/Lockheed concept for a 100 kW laser truck to kill drones and incoming rockets, artillery, & mortars. The Army is now pursuing a 250-300 kW weapon that could intercept cruise missiles.

HEL Breaks Loose

The news was buried in an Army announcement Friday that Northrop Grumman and Raytheon would build competing prototypes for a 50-kW laser mounted on an 8×8 Stryker armored vehicle. As the service has said for some time, the first platoon of four laser-armed vehicles would enter service in fiscal 2022, complementing a model armed with conventional anti-aircraft guns and missiles.



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Early experimental laser-armed Stryker vehicle

Both Stryker variants are part of the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (MSHORAD) program, an urgent effort to protect frontline combat units against drones, artillery rockets, helicopters and attack jets. You’d need a relatively expensive missile to shoot down the tougher and higher-flying targets, but 50 kW lasers powered by the Strykers’ engines would provide cheap and virtually limitless kills against low-flying drones, like those used by everyone from the Islamic State to Russian artillery spotters.

But the Army is also building a larger, more powerful, but less mobile truck-mounted laser to defend static sites like command posts, supply depots, and air fields. This weapon would be part of the Indirect Fire Protection Capability. Originally focused on insurgent rockets, artillery, and mortars, the IFPC program has been overhauled to focus on cruise missile threats as the Army reorients from Afghanistan and Iraq to Russia and China.

The next step was going to be a 100-kW weapon called the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL-TVD), built by Dynetics and Lockheed Martin, with demonstration shots in 2022. But on Friday the Army said it would be “adapting” this effort into a 250-300 kW weapon called HEL-IFPC, with the first platoon of four prototypes — not demonstrators, but operational weapons — to enter service in 2024.

When I inquired what exactly “adapting” meant, the Army clarified they are no longer going to build the 100-kW HEL-TVD. Instead, senior scientist Craig Robbin explained through a spokesperson, “the Army will take the HEL-TVD through a Critical Design Review, leverage that work and apply the outcomes to the 250-plus kW effort.”

It’s not yet clear what will happen to the $130 million contract awarded in May to Dynetics and Lockheed. The Army could either modify it to have the same contractors build the more powerful weapon — presumably for more money — or end the current contract and hold a new competition.



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By PAUL MCLEARY


Lockheed Martin concept for their new HELIOS laser for the Navy.

Fast & Joint

Whatever the contract mechanism, why does the Army now believe it can get a weapon up to three times as powerful in just two additional years? Part of the answer is an increased sense of urgency and tolerance for risk across Army. The service has slashed almost 200 lesser programs to fund faster fielding of its Big Six priorities for major war, which range from 1,000-mile missiles to robotic tanks to VR training. No. 4 of the Big Six is improved air and missile defenses, without which the rest of the force would be fatally vulnerable to Russian or Chinese precision-guided weapons.

Last December, the Army combined its most technologically challenging efforts — hypersonic missiles and laser weapons — under a new Rapid Capabilities & Crucial Technologies Office, led by Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, the service’s highest-ranking acquisitions Program Executive Officer. Army leaders have made clear their goal is not only to field weapons faster but to stop wasting time and money reinventing the wheel. Initiatives that duplicate work already underway elsewhere in the Army or in its sister services will be cut.


Concept drawing for a laser-armed AC-130 gunship

And there is a lot of work underway across the Defense Department on lasers (as well as hypersonics). In May, the Air Force shot down several anti-aircraft missiles with a ground-based laser, a forerunner of a self-defense podcalled SHIELD meant to go on US planes; it’s also developing a ground-attack laser for the AC-130 gunship. Meanwhile, the Navy, having already fielded a 30-kW laser in the Persian Gulf, is now developing a 60-150 kW weapon, HELIOS, for its new Arleigh Burke destroyers. And Thomas Karr, a physicist who works for Pentagon R&D chief Mike Griffin as assistant director for directed energy, is running a project with all three services on scaling up high-energy lasers to higher power levels. The Army is “leveraging” Karr’s work and “coordinating” with the Air Force and Navy, a service spokesperson said.

Each of the services has different challenges, said CSBA expert Bryan Clark. Lasers on aircraft have tight constraints on size and weight, but the rush of air provides free cooling. Lasers on ships have much more room, but they need dedicated coolant systems to keep from overheating. Army lasers on trucks “kind of get the worst of both worlds,” he said — limited room and no easy way to dump the heat.

So the supporting systems for the laser — power generation and storage, cooling, vibration control, compensation for atmospheric moisture and dust — will need to be tailored to the environment. But, Clark said, the core technology still has so much in common there’s no point in reinventing it.

As the Army announcement put it, “This partnership will allow the services” — note, not just the Army — “to achieve a higher power system, of approximately 250-300 kW-class, that can protect sites from RAM [Rockets, Artillery, & Mortars] and UAS as well as more stressing threats.”

The Army declined to clarify what those “more stressing threats” might be. But experts at the independent Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments told us that 300 kW was the crucial threshold for a laser that could shoot down cruise missiles. CSBA was one of the first thinktanks both to sound the alarm about the proliferation of precision-guided missiles, once an American monopoly, and to call for increased research into lasers to counter them.
 

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Northrop Grumman discloses further details of Stryker’s laser gun – Defence Blog

Northrop Grumman discloses further details of Stryker’s laser gun
Aug 3, 2019


in Army, News, PRESS RELEASES


U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp has revealed some details of U.S. Army Stryker vehicle high energy laser initiative.

The U.S. Army is planning to receive a modern air defense system designed to protect against a variety of threats, such as small drones, helicopters, and missiles. The initiative includes integrating a directed energy weapon system on a Stryker vehicle as a pathfinding effort toward the U.S. Army M-SHORAD objective to provide more comprehensive protection of frontline combat units.

“Northrop Grumman is eager to leverage its portfolio of innovative, proven technologies and integration expertise to accelerate delivery of next-generation protection to our maneuver forces,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our flexible, open systems approach offers an end-to-end solution for the Army’s growing and ever-changing mission requirements in today’s complex threat environment.”

Under the initiative from the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and a contract from Kord Technologies, Northrop Grumman will build and integrate a suite of advanced sensors; target acquisition and tracking; a 50-kilowatt class laser system; and battle-tested command-and-control on an Army Stryker combat vehicle. The effort will culminate in a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration that informs M-SHORAD requirements.

The directed energy M-SHORAD prototypes are part of the progression of an Army technology maturation initiative known as the Multi-Mission High Energy Laser (MMHEL).

The integrated platform allows early involvement with warfighter users to develop tactics, techniques, procedures and concepts of operations for future high energy laser weapons.

The Army’s future M-SHORAD protection for forward-deployed soldiers includes laser weapon systems as an effective complement to kinetic capabilities in countering rockets, artillery and mortars; unmanned aircraft systems; and other aerial threats.

The M-SHORAD directed energy prototyping initiative is managed by the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
 

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DARPA Gremlins News: Dynetics/Kratos’ C-130-recoverable Gremlins UAV has been officially designated the X-61A, industry officials report. This 1/3-scale wind tunnel model is on display @SpaceMissileDef #SMDSymposium.​
It’s official! Dynetics/Kratos X-61A Gremlins​
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http://m.aviationweek.com/defense/first-pieces-usaf-hypersonic-interceptor-enter-development

First Pieces Of USAF Hypersonic Interceptor Enter Development
Aviation Week & Space Technology
Steve Trimble

Guy Norris

Aug 07, 2019

As a crop of offensive hypersonic weapons approaches a crucial flight-testing phase, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has advanced a hypersonic defense architecture that some industry and military officials describe as potentially broader in scope and more challenging to achieve than their attacking counterparts.

The requirements are being drafted for a defensive architecture that encompasses new interceptors, sensors and command-and-control systems. The MDA also has started awarding contracts to vendors to develop enabling technologies for a new, purpose-built hypersonic interceptor, including a cooling mechanism for new sensors and multi-stage propulsion. At the same time, the MDA is modifying existing equipment, including the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, to be used as an interim interceptor for hypersonic weapons.

The ultimate goal is to field a new Hypersonic Defense Weapon System (HDWS) that closes the gaps in the U.S. military’s array of systems tailored to counter a limited number of ballistic missiles. By maneuvering at speeds above Mach 5 and at altitudes below the field-of-view of existing early-warning and tracking sensors, a new class of hypersonic missiles being fielded by Russia and China is designed to sneak through or around American and NATO defenses.

Missile Defense Agency is finalizing requirements

Defensive system offers revive Boeing’s hypersonic work

Top Pentagon officials forecast budget increase for hypersonic defense

The MDA continues to evaluate a broad range of options for intercepting incoming hypersonic weapons, including concepts based on high-powered microwaves, directed energy, railgun-launched high-velocity projectiles and rapid-firing guns. But the agency also has started developing enabling technology for a new kind of hypersonic weapon designed to intercept incoming missiles.

Development of this defensive system has provided a new role for Boeing, a hypersonic flight pioneer that lost a series of bids to work on offensive weapons. On July 2, the MDA awarded a $1.5 million contract to Boeing develop a cavity flow sensor for a seeker on a hypersonic interceptor. “A cavity flow sensor architecture offers potentially unique advantages, primarily use of a cavity to reduce aerodynamic heating on a seeker cover during high speed flight of an interceptor,” the MDA explained in a statement released to Aviation Week.

The MDA also awarded a $19 million contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne as a risk-reduction project for an axial upper stage of a hypersonic interceptor. The awards to Boeing and Aerojet are expected to open a series of risk-reduction projects as the MDA finalizes the architecture for the HDWS. Meanwhile, the agency is developing an initial requirements document for hypersonic defense and modifying existing components of the Ballistic Missile Defense System to support hypersonic threat track and warning.

A class of hypersonic weapons now in development has prompted the Missile Defense Agency to invest in a Hypersonic Defensive Weapon System, which could include a new hypersonic interceptor. Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
The MDA previously confirmed that planned modifications include the THAAD interceptor. In 2015, Lockheed Martin unveiled a concept to develop a two-stage, extended-range version of THAAD. Lockheed described the THAAD-ER concept as a possible approach to be used in defeating the emerging class of offensive hypersonic missiles. But the MDA declined to answer whether the proposed modification is based on the four-year-old Lockheed proposal. “I’ve got nothing to provide you on that [question],” an MDA spokesman says.

The increased attention on defensive hypersonic measures is leading to calls for a significant boost in research and development funding expected to begin in fiscal 2021 .

“That’s where the discussions are going now,” says Alan Shaffer, deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment. Referencing recent headlines in Forbes magazine calling defense against hypersonic attack “the biggest military challenge of the Trump era,” Shaffer says: “I think we’re going to see an increase in the budget request for defense against hypersonics next year.”

Speaking at the inaugural National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) hypersonics capability conference at Purdue University, he said “the recognition of the defensive problem is a little bit less than the enthusiasm over the offensive piece. Making a hypersonic capability is really cool; making a defense against it is really hard. Most people gravitate toward the cool as opposed to the really hard until they can’t ignore the really hard. I think the [Defense] Department is at the ‘really-can’t-ignore part.’”

Challenging the NDIA organizers to “get some balance” and include hypersonic defense at their next conference, Shaffer also implored aerospace and defense companies for solutions, saying: “Frankly, I would love it if industry came in with some good ideas about how we think about the problem—because we are pedaling really fast. Help us think about it.”


In the near term, the MDA plans to modify existing sensors and weapons, including the Army’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, to provide a limited capability against hypersonic threats. Credit: U.S. Army

Along with Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, Lockheed Martin also has indicated interest in bringing existing and developing capabilities to bear on meeting the challenge of hypersonic defense. Speaking to Aviation Week on the sidelines at NDIA, Tim Cahill, vice president of Lockheed’s air and missile defense unit, said the company already covers “all aspects of hypersonic defense from sensing from space- and radar-sensing terrestrially, to command-and-control systems.”

Referencing the ability to “tie it altogether,” through the recently modernized command, control, battle-management and communications (C2BMC) system for the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, Cahill noted that various interceptors could be included. These range from the company’s THAAD and PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles to “a number” of directed-energy weapons programs under development. “So there’s everything you might need to detect, track, discriminate and then to kill,” Cahill said.

From the space perspective, Lockheed points to surveillance and detection capabilities including the ongoing development of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Block 0 missile-warning satellites. The constellation is designed to succeed the Space-Based Infrared System and be more survivable and resilient against emerging threats.

“Do we have direct relevant programs of record on right now? The answer is ‘no,’” says Cahill. “However, there are pieces that have come together such as C2BMC which have already been expanded to include pieces from any sensor. So you might expect us to take that existing capability and expand it.”

Lockheed, like some other defense companies, is evaluating elements of conceptual hypersonic defense systems under one of more than 20 small-study contracts issued by the MDA. “They haven’t announced the downselect yet, but there will be a little more money to take those further, and then we’d expect them to pick some programs to pursue further,” Cahill explains.

To intercept a hypersonic glider or missile, a Hypersonic Defense Weapon System will require new kinds of space-based and terrestrial sensors, a new approach to command-and-control and potentially a purpose-built interceptor. Credit: Missile Defense Agency
“Hypersonic defense is still early in the process, and hypersonic offense went through this stage,” he continues. “MDA in particular is looking at where it wants to put money into systems, but from the Lockheed Martin standpoint, we feel perfectly staged to capture some of that business since we have understanding of, and engagement in, all aspects of that kill chain. We understand what it takes to tie that system all together—and it has to be tied together because everything is moving too fast.

“There’s not a piece of that chain that we don’t have expertise in or are in some kind of program of record in, and certainly we are in the middle of doing at least our own internal investment on,” Cahill adds.

There is “no one magic bullet,” Mark Lewis, hypersonic specialist and director of the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute, says. “We actually need a suite of technologies including a range of defensive technologies.” Referring to comments by aviation historian and Pentagon senior air and space advisor Richard Hallion, who calls the challenge similar to countering the threat of Japanese kamikaze attacks in World War II, Lewis says the solution is likely a layered defense with a layered response.

“Detection is the absolute key,” he explains. “Hypersonics shortens the OODA [observe, orient, decide and act] loop time [defined as the elapsed time between the onset of a stimulus and a response]. If something is flying at you at hypersonic speeds, you have very little time to detect it and very little time to think about what it is. You have very little time to decide how to react.”

Lewis also cautions that early warning may be more challenging than believed. “We sometimes say objects will be easy to detect. That’s not so,” he notes. “They can actually be very difficult, so closing down the first part is absolutely key. The [Pacific Air Forces] folks recognized that at the end of the day, the best defense may be a strong offense. Yes, you want to build defensive capabilities, but you might always want to have strong offensive capabilities.”
 

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AEHF-5 protected communications satellite now in transfer orbit

AEHF-5 protected communications satellite now in transfer orbit
by Staff Writers
Schriever AFB CO (SPX) Aug 12, 2019

illustration only

The U.S. Air Force's 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base is now "talking" with the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) protected communication satellite after its successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, this morning.

The Lockheed Martin-built AEHF-5 satellite is now responding to the squadron's commands as planned. The squadron began "flying" the satellite shortly after it separated from its United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes after the rocket's successful 6:13 a.m. ET liftoff.

AEHF-5 complete a geostationary ring of five satellites delivering global coverage for survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Besides U.S. forces, AEHF also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

"This fifth satellite adds an additional layer of flexibility for critical strategic and tactical protected communications serving the warfighter. This added resilience to the existing constellation will help ensure warfighters can connect globally to communicate and transmit data at all times," said Mike Cacheiro, vice president for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space. "In the weeks ahead, AEHF-5 will move towards its operational orbit, deploy all of its solar arrays and antennas, and turn on its powerful communications payload for a rigorous testing phase prior to hand over to the Air Force."

AEHF-5, with its advanced Extended Data Rate (XDR) waveform technology, adds to the constellation's high-bandwidth network. One AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar communications constellation.

"Individual data rates increase five-fold compared to Milstar, permitting transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data," said Cacheiro. "AEHF affords national leaders anti-jam, always-on connectivity during all levels of conflict and enables both strategic and tactical users to communicate globally across a high-speed network that delivers protected communications in any environment."

Lockheed Martin designed, processed and manufactured all five on-orbit AEHF satellites at its advanced satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California. The next AEHF satellite, AEHF-6, is currently in full production in Silicon Valley and is expected to launch in 2020.

The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
 
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Multi-Azimuth Defense Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES)

To help meet these needs and greatly enhance maritime vessels’ survivability in contested environments, DARPA has created the Multi-Azimuth Defense—Fast Intercept Round Engagement System (MAD-FIRES) program. The goal of the program is to design and develop technologies associated with a medium-caliber guided projectile that would combine the guidance, precision and accuracy generally afforded by missiles with the speed, rapid-fire capability and large ammunition capacity afforded by bullets.​


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Hypersonics: Army Awards $699M To Build First Missiles For A Combat Unit

Hypersonics: Army Awards $699M To Build First Missiles For A Combat Unit
Dynetics will build the Common Glide Body for both the Army and Navy, which Lockheed will integrate into full-up weapons for the first Army battery by 2023.
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on August 30, 2019 at 9:02 AM


Dynetics concept for their Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) for both the Army and Navy. The Air Force will use a similar but not identical glide body.

WASHINGTON: Yesterday, the Army awarded two key contracts to catch up to Russia and China in the race to field battle-ready hypersonic missiles. After years of one-off experimental prototypes, the US plans to produce and field actual weapons.

  • Dynetics won $351.6 million to build at least 20 Common Hypersonic Glide Bodies for both the Army and the Navy. Some components will go to the Air Force as well.
  • Lockheed Martin won $347 million to integrate at least eight of those glide bodies with guidance systems, rocket boosters, protective canisters, and so on, arming a battery of four Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) launchers.
  • Both contracts use Other Transaction Authority (OTA) to bypass much of the usual procurement bureaucracy and get the weapons to troops faster.
Yes, these weapons are still technically prototypes, since the Army expects to refine the design based on feedback from soldiers in the field. But the service’s rapid acquisitionchief, Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, has said the four-launcher battery will be an operational unit, focused on field tests and experiments but available for combat in a crisis by 2023.


Sandia National Laboratories glide vehicle, the ancestor of the new Army-built Common Hypersonic Glide Body

Joint Force

The Army, Navy, and Air Force are working closely together on hypersonics, so the Dynetics’ contract, although awarded by the Army, will provide at least some components for all three services. The Marine Corps, as part of the Navy Department, doesn’t have their own hypersonics acquisition program, but they’re likely to end up using the Army’s land-based version.

Specifically, Dynetics is building the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). That’s the part of the missile that breaks off from the booster after launch and skips nimbly in and out of the atmosphere, maneuvering nimbly at Mach 5-plus. The idea is to combine the blistering speed of a ballistic missile with the agility of a cruise missile, defeating enemy missile defenses.

The Army and Navy will use identical glide bodies — hence “common” — but the two services will integrate them with different booster rockets and packaging to meet the radically different demands of launching from a truck versus a submerged submarine. The Air Force version, which has to fit on an aircraft and launch in flight, needs a different glide body, but it should still use 70 percent of the same components.



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Lockheed Martin’s newly announced contract, by contrast, is solely for the Army’s land-based version, the LRHW. That said, Lockheed already got a $480 million contract with the Air Force to build their variant, the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). And Lockheed has an ever larger contract, $928 million, to build a different kind of hypersonic system, also for the Air Force, called the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW). That makes the aerospace titan — already the largest defense contractor on the planet — the leading company in this rapidly growing field.


SOURCE: Army Multi-Domain Operations Concept, December 2018.

Army Challenges

While all three services are urgently fielding hypersonics, the Army is the one that’s furthest outside its comfort zone. It hasn’t had any weapon with such a long range since the Pershing II missile of the Cold War. But the Army fears its sister services won’t be able to provide round-the-clock air support in a war with Russia or China, which have invested heavily in advanced anti-aircraft defenses.

So the Army has decided it needs its own land-based weapons with ranges up to 1,400 miles. Such Long Range Precision Fires are the service’s No. 1 modernization priority. When fielded, they’ll be central to the service’s new concept for high-tech, high-intensity warfare, Multi-Domain Battle, which envisions the Army expanding beyond traditional ground force vs. ground force battles to assist the other services in the air, sea, space, and cyberspace.



RecommendedSpace Command Launched At Rose Garden, Gen. Raymond Speaks On Anti-Satellite Weapons
President Donald Trump, at the White House Rose Garden, said: “Our adversaries are weaponizing Earth’s orbits with new technology targeting American satellites that are critical to both battlefield operations and our way of life at home. Our freedom to operate in space is also essential to detecting and destroying any missile launched against the United States.”

By THERESA HITCHENS

The Army’s streamlined fielding of prototype hypersonic weapons is also just one example — albeit the most urgent one — of the service’s attempt to overhaul its notoriously creaky acquisition system. Traditionally, the Army bureaucracy spent years refining formal requirements on paper and in PowerPoint, then laboriously developed a weapon to those rigid specifications, only to discover — if the drawn-out process didn’t go so badly over budget and behind schedule it got cancelled — that real soldiers actually needed something different. Today, the newly created Army Futures Command pulls together experts from different bureaucratic fiefdoms to develop an imperfect but workable weapon as soon possible, then get it rapidly to real soldiers so they can give feedback on how to make it better.

Repeated cycles of field-feedback-fix are supposed to get the Army the technology it needs on a budget and a schedule it can afford. Actually doing this, of course, is a tremendous challenge. The military doesn’t just need faster missiles: It also needs faster bureaucracy.