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Hypersonic Developments

Discussion in 'Missiles & WMDs' started by John Fedup, Feb 17, 2017.

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  1. Boagrius

    Boagrius Member

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    Yes it seems like this area is really starting to take shape.

    Question to those in the know - how feasible would a hypersonic medium range AAM be? Occurs to me that an AMRAAM-esque missile that can cut down a ~10-25nm distance in the blink of an eye (so to speak) could be extremely potent when paired with VLO assets like F22 or F35. Much has been made of Mach 4+ ramjet/VFDR missiles like Meteor and their enhanced NEZ but I would have thought a hypersonic BVR AAM may potentially leapfrog them capability wise. Could render a lot of "red team" effort into EW/EA (softkill) countermeasures rather impotent due to the drastic response time reduction.

    Just musings on my part of course - I imagine there would be significant challenges associated with hitting a fast moving, potentially maneuvering target with a missile like this. Add to that size constraints imposed by the imperative of internal carriage on VLO jets and I am under no illusions as to how challenging it would be. More wondering if it is something we are ever likely to see or whether there is other technology in the pipeline that is more likely to occupy the "post-AMRAAM" space.
     
  2. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    At this point I would say a hypersonic AAM is not viable. As I understand it, one of the engineering problems that hypersonics have encountered is that at certain point in the hypersonic regimen the air flowing around the hypersonic object becomes superheated and ionized, which in turn causes problems for missile guidance and telemetry. INS guidance might be able to target a stationary ground target so that hypersonic strikes against fixed targets of strategic value (buildings, fixed radar arrays, bridges, dams, power stations, transmission lines, transformer/relay stations, etc.) could be carried out. However, to target mobile targets either the hypersonic needs to have onboard sensors to provide guidance, or a datalink so that an offboard platform can provide the targeting and guidance information.

    All that is needed even before any engineering difficulties relating to aerodynamics might be encountered, to permit a Mach 6+ missile the ability to maneuver sufficiently to strike a moving aircraft.
     
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  3. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    Agree, lots of technical issues, which is why if you want "fast", lasers are probably better. They need some work though.
     
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  4. Boagrius

    Boagrius Member

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    That makes perfect sense - thanks for the responses. I also note that the extant hypersonics I am aware of seem to achieve their highest speeds at very high altitudes and after a decent period of acceleration. This compared to the denser, draggier air (lower altitude) and shorter engagement ranges a typical AAM would have to contend with...
     
  5. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Member

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    Si Vis Pacem. Para Bellum
  6. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    This article accesses the Hypersonics arms race. Of particular note, the table showing China's growing output of scientific research papers compared to all others in the field. As this is a US publication, I guess mentioning the UK based Reaction Engines work on hyersonics wasn't on.

    Hypersonic weapons race | Aerospace America
     
  7. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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  8. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    AeroJet Rocketdyne has performed tests on a rocket motor for Lockheed-Martin's hypersonic glide missile program. The number of news stories on US hypersonic developments is increasing, a further indication the US is now doubling down on hypersonic weapons to counter recent Russian/Chinese developments.

    Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully tests rocket booster for hypersonic vehicle