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Pentagon has sold the Defense Industry on Hypersonics

Boeing X-51A. US Air Force Photo

Hypersonic missiles – weapons traveling more than five times the speed of sound toward targets on land, in the air and at sea — are suddenly being touted by defense contractors as a promising revenue source, industry analysts heard during the second quarter financial results season.

Hypersonic missiles were described as an exciting new business line for Northrop Grumman to consider, Kathy Warden, chief operating officer, told Wall Street analysts during a conference call. Warden, who was recently tapped to become chief executive when current CEO Wes Bush retires next year, was detailing the benefits of Northrop Grumman’s $9.2 billion purchase of aerospace and technology company Orbital ATK. The deal was finalized in June.

Now called Innovation Systems, the Orbital business line, Warden said, “Expands the Northrop Grumman portfolio into hypersonics. We have traditionally been counter hypersonics, but this expands us into weapons systems. This significantly expands our portfolio of offerings to our customers.”

By considering the hypersonics market, Warden wasn’t just hinting at a business opportunity for Northrop Grumman to pursue, but she was acknowledging having received the signal sent from Congress and the Pentagon to the defense industry – develop hypersonic weapons.

Artist’s concept of a hypersonic vehicle. DARPA Photo

The need for hypersonic missiles is a relatively new demand signal coming from the Department of Defense, said George Nacouzi, a senior engineer with Rand Corp. who focuses on ballistic missiles and space technology. Nacouzi is a co-author of a Rand Corp. paper promoting a hypersonic non-proliferation treaty among the major developers of the technology.

Hypersonic technology dates back to the dawn of the space age, Nacouzi said. When the Space Shuttle reentered Earth’s atmosphere, it was traveling at more than five times the speed of sound. Mach 25 is probably the upper limits of what physics will allow.

Hypersonic technology intrigues militaries, because in theory it allows weapons to move very quickly, below traditional radar range, and along unpredictable paths to targets, Nacouzi said. Current missile defense systems would be ineffective. However, creating useful hypersonic missiles is expensive and still perhaps a decade away. Plus, Nacouzi said with a vast nuclear arsenal and stealthy weapons, the U.S. has other deterrents.

“The government, DoD, has not until recently spent a lot of money on hypersonics in terms of these maneuverable vehicles,” Nacouzi said. “A few years ago, if you look at the budget, if you look at what the DoD was spending, they weren’t putting a lot of money into it.”

A flight test model in Hypersonic Combustion Research Cell 22, used to research SCRAM jet technology at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio on Jul 21, 2016. US Air Force Photo

But Congress and the Pentagon have changed their focus for a variety of reasons, Nacouzi said. The interest in hypersonic missiles is partly caused by improved technology making the possibility of fielding such a weapon more likely to occur within a decade. The interest is also partly caused by recognition inside the Beltway of decisions being made in Moscow and Beijing.

“The Russians have been working on hypersonics for a long time. By some measures, the Russians might be ahead of us, depending on who you want to believe,” Nacouzi said.

Russia claims to have already deployed hypersonic missile systems in the south of the country, according to media reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s March 2018 State of Russia address.

The Chinese also say they’re ready to deploy some sort of hypersonic weapon, Nacouzi said. The Chinese have only been working on hypersonics for the past seven or eight years, but Nacouzi said they’ve spent a lot of money on testing and research, made some advances, and claim to be ready to deploy some sort of weapon.

Japan and some European Union nations are working on hypersonic technology intended for civilian uses, Nacouzi said. Based on their spending, he suspects this is indeed their intent, but he also doesn’t think any viable civilian uses will be created in his lifetime.

“Is it an arms race?” Nacouzi said, “If you step back and look at what the needs are and what the trends are, it does look like an arms race. It does look a little bit like an arms race in terms of, hey, we can’t allow the Russians and Chinese to have this while us not having it.”

So now the defense industry’s primary customer, the Pentagon, is interested in hypersonics, Nacouzi said it’s not surprising industry is responding.

The National Defense Strategy states, “The Joint Force must be able to strike diverse targets inside adversary air and missile defense networks to destroy mobile power-projection platforms. This will include capabilities to enhance close combat lethality in complex terrain.”

“Whether that’s justified or not, that’s above my pay-grade. I can understand why we would want to do that. It would give them an advantage if we didn’t have any hypersonic weapons. In the long term, that could be very painful for us,” Nacouzi said.

The X-51A Waverider, shown here under the wing of a B-52 Stratobomber is set to demonstrate hypersonic flight. US Air Force Graphic

A day after Warden told analysts about Northrop Grumman’s entry into hypersonics, Raytheon’s leadership was optimistic the increased focus from Congress and the Pentagon would provide a solid and growing revenue stream for the second half of this year and 2019, the company’s leaders said when discussing their second-quarter earnings during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

The demand signal is changing from a year ago, and the demand is global, said Thomas Kennedy, Raytheon’s chief executive, when answering an analyst’s question about demand for missile systems.

European and Asian customers are increasingly interested in missile defense systems, Kennedy said, but in the U.S., the demand signal coming from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill points to Raytheon’s classified systems – a line of business including new technologies developed for the military.

In December, Raytheon announced it had received a $20 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to continue developing hypersonic missile technology.

The NDS, Kennedy said, highlights “The need for the US to catch up to our peer threats. Congress is taking that seriously, and providing the funding required to make that happen. And that is one of the major reasons that our classified bookings have been up significantly this quarter.”

However, Kennedy said since these contracts often include cost-sharing agreements with the government, they tend to have lower fee structures and lower earnings than Raytheon’s other lines of business.

“But the bottom line is those programs are integral to our business model,” Kennedy said. “They are essentially the seed corn for future franchises.”

  • airider

    “Hypersonic technology intrigues militaries, because in theory it allows
    weapons to move very quickly, below traditional radar range, and along
    unpredictable paths to targets, Nacouzi said.”

    Ummm … you won’t see any hypersonic vehicle travel below traditional radar ranges … unless it is traveling at much lower speeds after decending from high altitude … just search for the North American X-15 if you need any insight into how hypersonic vehicles operate.

    • vetww2

      A gobbledy gook article. First of all, there is no MACH number in space physics, Mach number being defined as, “Wave Propagation Velocity.”
      Secondly. Vehicle shape is irrelevant in space since there is no resistance, as we know it, ina vacuum (SPACE). Just look at the ISS.

      • airider

        Concur 100%

      • Duane

        It isn’t clear at all that these HS missiles are intended for space, or at least will cruise in space. Much of the HS research that I am aware of has been on either airbreathing scramjet cruise missiles, and/or ballistic glide projectiles. I don’t believe any of the Russian propaganda they regularly spew on their so called super weapons. It’s just for domestic political consumption to keep Russians thinking they are still a super power while Putin and his crony kleptocrat thugs keep stealing them blind.

        • vetww2

          Righto, keep the scientific approach and you won’t fall victim to the baloney that some here are spewing.

          • Duane

            I don’t think hypersonics are hooey, just that they have some pretty obvious limitations but subject to a great deal of hype. We need to develop hypersonics, but not at the cost of neglecting more useful capabilities like stealth, sensors, countermeasures, AI, and reliability.

          • vetww2

            Read my note on, “Full House” missile

    • Duane

      It is nearly impossible, and certainly impractical to cruise below radar detection even at supersonic speeds, let alone hypersonic. To go fast you’ve got to go high … both to avoid running into the ground, sea, or obstacles … and because at low altitudes with “thick” air results in a monstrous fuel burn, killing range. That’s why supersonic cruise missiles, if staying low to evade radar, travel at subsonic speed for most of their flight trajectory, and then pop up high at SS speed only in the terminal phase.

      It is for these reasons I believe the current HS craze is mostly hot air. To go fast you must go high and that makes you easy to detect (with both radar and IR), track, and then intercept. Stealthiness, sensors, maneuverability to avoid counterfires, and AI are much more valuable than raw speed.

      • airider

        Concur 100% as well … the basic physics says hypersonics have a very narrow flight envelop where it can perform … above that you can’t use air breathing engines … below that you can’t go fast due to air drag and heating …

        You could try to optimize a weapon to perform well in this regime, but since nothing else operates there, the big question becomes, is it worth it compared to other options? If I’m going to do hypersonics, I might as well just bump it up a bit higher in altitude and make it a maneuverable space re-entry vehicle … which has been done for decades.

        • Duane

          Agreed.

          HS weaps will have a role to play, but they are not magic bullets. Too many people, especially media writers, get caught up on headline banners flogging things like faster, bigger and such. The best weaps and platforms are rarely good because they are big or fast, but rather they are good because they perform their assigned roles well. It is very easy to make a faster or bigger something, but if it is only so in order to grab headlines, then it will probably fail.

          The Germans built the fastest jet fighters, and the biggest most heavily armored and armed tanks in WW2. But our slower P-51 Mustang pilots figured out tactics to defeat the Me 262 as did our Sherman tank drivers figure out tactics to defeat the monster Tiger tanks.

          I will take a stealthy, smart LRASM subsonic CM any day over a fast but dumb Brahmos supersonic CM that has to pop up and waggle its a*s in the air before it can go in for the target at high speed in terminal mode. It’s the proverbial tortoise vs. the hare in many such matchups, with stealth, sensors and brains vs. raw speed.

          • Curtis Conway

            So . . . what of Hyper Velocity Projectiles (HVPs).

          • RunningBear

            USN HVP with ElectroMagnetic RailGun

            ……fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R44175…….

            ….July 21, 2017..(ONR) is proceeding in its EMRG research and expects to reach a capacity of 10 rounds per minute with a 32 Mega-Joule muzzle launch for each round, …calls for a maturation of achieving 10 rounds per minute at 32 megajoules by fiscal year 2019. ……. ONR’s rep-rate composite launcher, which can repeat launches quicker than other test devices, will be able to achieve the 10 round-per-minute rate the program seeks by later this summer. ONR plans to gradually ramp up this launcher to higher rep-rate and energy levels through the end of the year….. ONR has demonstrated the ability to use pulse power, having fired 5,000 pulse shots. For the rep-rate firing, ONR has to use a larger energy farm or capacitor base resulting in pulse power using over one megajoule per cubic meter energy density…. but even more important that’s a size factor that will fit into the ships. …

            ….A March 9, 2018, …. “We’ve demonstrated it at lower firing rates and … shorter ranges. Now we have to do the engineering to, sort of, crank it up and get it at the designated firing rates, at the 80- to 100-mile range.”…EMRG to shoot large projectiles at speeds of up to 4,500 miles per hour (5.8 Mach) .. ONR told reporters that the power behind the gun would be increased to 32 megajoules over the summer, giving the weapon a range of 110 miles….

          • RunningBear

            ….Right Answer….Wrong Question…
            see same reference for HVP to your question.

            🙁

          • Curtis Conway

            Thanks for the update. That future is a little far out there for me. I’m more concerned with guidance package capability at high G ratings so we can put these things in powder guns, with rocket assist. That can happen rather quickly, if the guidance nut is cracked. We have a lot of 5″ guns out there. The mod to add the interface and programming loop should not be that hard. Projectiles should be the same form factor.

          • Secundius

            One “Slight Problem! Barrel Life! Design Goal for US Navy is ~3,000-rounds Barrel Life. Current status is less than 400-round Barrel Life, approximately the same as a WWII Mk.7 16-inch/50-caliber Naval Gun (~390-rounds)…

          • Curtis Conway

            Ought to be able to put a sabot on it.

          • Secundius

            Interim Rail Gun! In 17 April 2017, Kent Wilson of Ammo-One developed the .17.50 “Interceptor” Wildcat to Implode Groundhogs with a Hypersonic .50BMG round. By Crimping Down a .50BMG Cartridge to a .17HMR Projectile, with a Muzzle Velocity of ~Mach 5.5 (6,189.3-ft/sec.). Apply the application to a Mk.45 5-inch (127×836), Projectile would be ~43mm in diameter approximately the same size of a Rail-Gun Projectile…

          • Curtis Conway

            I knew it had been performed before, but could not remember the specifics.

          • Curtis Conway

            The German 88 in WWII had a very robust breech, and a decreasing diameter barrel that gave it its higher muzzle velocities. That gun was used for everything from antiaircraft, artillery, to anti-tank (Israelis). I have often wondered why that technique is not used today. We certainly have the metallurgy equation cracked like Krupp did.

          • Secundius

            Best Gun Barrel Steel in the World right now was developed in France in April 2017 by Aubert & Duval called “ARMAD”. It’s similar the Krupp GKH 33CrMoV12-9 Steel. Canada has a License to produce the Steel. And which current NATO Ally does the United States have an Steel Tariff with…

          • Curtis Conway

            Seen this before. I’m sure that if the US Steel industry decides to make a superior steel for gun barrels, they will do it . . . regardless of tariffs.

          • Forget gun barrels (don’t think it matters with rail-guns anyway). We need superior steel for submarine hulls. I’m thinking HY-200.

          • Secundius

            Good luck in trying to Find ANY Steel with a HY-200 rating. Highest HY rating is “135” or A517 Structural Steel…

          • vetww2

            Sorry, but you are dead wromg. We made the landing gears for the C5A of Tricent steel from Crucible Steel Co. which had an E of, YEP, 300,000 psi. Very touchy alloy. My company, at that time, American Vector designed, built and operated the EB welding equipment used to assemble the gear parts. Ladish did the forging and ABC did the machining.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, parts for Landing Gears have to be Machined (i.e. Milled or CNC), NOT Drop Pressed. Submarine Hull Metals are Drop Pressed then Welded to form the Hull. The Thickest Metal that can be Machined in 300ksi is 1/2-inch Thick and is Laminated into place. And as of yet, NO Submarine Hull has ever been Laminated…

          • vetww2

            Wrong again. The landing gear consists of 2-2 inch thick wall precision machined tubes and 3 intricate macined forgings. Theey are assembled by an electron beam welding technique in a vacuum chamber . In our case we built a chamber 10ft llong. 6 feet wide and 4 feet high, We used a discarded NASA vacuum tank from an old blow down tunnel to pump down to -2/10,000 PSI. Your comment on machining is dead wrong. I don’t know anything about laminated components, but it seems SILLY, except when we friction welded (laminated) steel to Al so that we could weld an aluminum supersructure to a srteel hull on the PG84.
            Don’t get me started on how far behind we are on sub manufacture. For example, when the ALPHA appeared, the structure folks from DTNSRDC told COMNAVSEA that it would take 20 years for us to build a Titaniun hull sub. As far as welding goes, We still use TIG to weld hulls.

          • Secundius

            I know the Welding Techniques of how to Weld a Submarines Hull. As I recall Pratt & Whitney/Rocketdyne (i.e. ex-Aerojet Rocketdyne) “Sintered” a RS-25 Rocket Engine in 2014. Which Now makes it Possible to 3-D Metal Print a Pressure Vessel (i.e. Submarine Hull)…

          • You two guys are a fountain of information – I really mean that! It’s great to have this kind of technical banter. It just goes to prove that we have a wealth of practical knowledge in these United States from people who actually know how to build things (as in you DID build that – I’m so over BHO). I’m not a metallurgist by any measure, just an old submarine sailor who appreciates it when you can keep water out of the people tank.
            SUBSAFE & MAGA baby!

          • Secundius

            Production is expected to start in 2023…

          • Curtis Conway

            There are some powder gun upgrades that could use some of that steel. Agree about the subs though. US Steel (non-laminated) will go into the hulls of our ships soon . . . I hope.

          • vetww2

            How aboue Ti?

          • Secundius

            “Titanium” will Shatter if use as a Gun Barrel. You can Thin Wall a Steel Barrel and use Titanium as an Outer Barrel Liner to keep the weight down…

          • vetww2

            Ti can be temperred as ductile or brittle as you please.

          • Secundius

            Best Gun Barrel Steel made is produced by Aubert & Duval of France, called ARMAD (33CrMoV12-10). Watervliet Arsenal in New York has a License to produce M776 Gun Barrel Tube for the Next Generation of Howitzer Barrels. A limited production was placed by both the US Army and USMC in late 2017, for approximately 100 Gun Tubes…

          • I don’t think we could get enough. The Russians control the world’s supply and they’re on to us now that we pulled that scam to build the SR-71’s.

          • Secundius

            Canada is the Third Largest Producer of Processed “Titanium” Ore (~40,000-tonnes/year) after the PRC (~100,000-tonnes/year) and Russia (~45,000-tonnes/year)…

          • vetww2

            U.R. Terriffic.

          • vetww2

            we use enough Ti in white paint (TiO2) to build 30 subs, like Alpha.

          • vetww2

            Crucible Steel’s TRICENT E=300,000 psi

          • Secundius

            Sounds like ASTM 300M-8 Steel, of which there approximately 17 producers in the Continental United States alone. But there’s an even higher strength steel available call Micro-Melt which is rated at ~5205-MPa…

          • vetww2

            Crucible Tricent.

          • vetww2

            It was a 27mm/23mm caliber, very good penetrator, but high failure rate. THE CALIBER REDUCTION WAS ACHIEVED BY TWO SOFT METAL RINGS, FORE AND AFT on the round. I Dont know that it was ever used as an A/A WEAPON. The only big use was against us at Kaserine pass.I fired one when I was at Ft. Knox in 1045, I did not know the Israelis had any.

          • vetww2

            Have you ever seen a film of it firing more than ONE shot?

          • Duane

            That is a very different critter than the missiles discussed here … it is a gun projectile, precision guided. It can be fired from a chem (explosive) propellant gun, or from an EM rail, or from a hybrid EM-assisted chem propellant gun. The Navy and Army have been developing HVPs for all three types of guns. Typically an HVP is a sabot that pops out of a larger dia. shell casing that peels off after leaving the barrel.

          • Curtis Conway

            Thanks Duane, I really appreciate it. However, I already know all that.

          • RunningBear

            Interesting info in that PDFs link…..the HVP has been changed to Gun Launched Guided Projectile and is the “Hot Item” for delivery! Seems the shape allows for 2X speed from 113 5″ Mk. 45 barrels (Mach 3) with a range of 26 to 41 nautical miles. One 25lb. Guided Projectile can deliver 500 3gm. Tungsten Impactors at Mach 3 (modern grapeshot!) at Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles or Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles. Whatever ONR develops for the GLGP will be fitted to the EMRG.
            🙂

          • Secundius

            Better concept! the application of the .17-50BMG “Interceptor” to the Mk.45 5-inch Naval Gun…

          • vetww2

            I wrote a small description of hypersonic (Full House) missile development several days ago. You might want to check it out. ,It brings to mind W.S. Gilbert’s admonition,”Things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream.”

          • Curtis Conway

            I saw it and it looked good . . . and expensive.

          • vetww2

            It certainly was. The shock tubes that we used for testing cost over a million dollars each and due to the nature of the beast only lasted for~ 100 runs.

          • vetww2

            HOPELESS, UNINFORMED STATEMENTS, I OWNED AMERICAN VECTOR CORP. IN 1965. We were an advanced mfg tech firm that specialized in EB, friction stir, Ti, unlike metal, MIG, TIG and auto welding. We contributed to C5A, 933, 963, c-140 and other advanced tech programs,

          • vetww2

            Just to add a bit to this line, I worked with the ME262 Program Manager, WALDEMER VOIGHT at MARTIN. Material and qualified pilot shortages prevented it from being a much greater air warfare problem. Thank Gxx.

    • TomD

      Yep. You’d have to resurrect Project Pluto if you want on the deck hypersonic flight, and no one is going to do that.

      • Secundius

        May not have too! In June 2015, the US Government received British SABRE (Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engines)…

        • TomD

          Looks cool, but like Pluto SABRE is only a concept.

          Still, SABRE still uses hydrogen fuel combustion. Pluto had a nuclear ramjet which would have run for months or years before failing.

          • Secundius

            Skylon made a Test Flight in 18 January 2010, using a SABRE engine. And achieved an altitude of ~28,500-meters at ~Mach 5.14. PLUTO had a Nuclear Reactor which would have lasted Months or Years in Operation, but still required a Reaction Mass of ~1-Million Pounds of Compressed Air for Sustained Flight…

    • vetww2

      X15 WAS NOT “HYPERSONIC.”

      • Secundius

        Your sure about that!/? The X-15A-2 (56-6671) reached ~Mach 6.72 (4,534mph) in 3 October 1967 by William J. “Pete” Knight. Or are you going by “Official Speed Record” only…

  • vetww2

    NEW? I did hypersonic miissile development in a shock tube, at Cornall Aero Lab in…READY?, 1952. It was for amissile called “Full House. EXPLANATION:
    1. You have a MISSILE. It has to be fast.
    2. To kill it, you have an (ANTI=MISSILE)=MISSILE, It has to be faster.
    3. To defend itself, the missle has to have an [ANTI-(ANTI-MISSILE=MISSILE)-MISSILE] It has to be very, very fast, maybe hypersonc.
    4. Hense the name, FULL HOUSE,,,, a pair of ANTIs and 3 MISSILEs.
    AA&MMM= a full house. Get it Poker players?

    • airider

      The 50’s and 60’s are full of examples of the US and others pushing forward with this research…. Bob Work keeps talking about the “third offset strategy” … Here’s a concept for you Bobby Boy, how about dusting off the history books a bit and realizing we’ve already made tons of investment in breakthrough tech … We just need to get off our butts and take advantage of it.

      • Curtis Conway

        Most of the righteous ideas and thinking have already taken place. It’s funding that is the problem. Lack of vision and funds. It’s like Kelley Johnson’s first jet fighter (L-133 Starjet) they never built, but did build to its Spec later . . . turning into the F-104 Starfighter.

        • vetww2

          You sound like the 1889 head of the patent office who wanted to shut it down because, “EVERYTHING USEFUL HAS ALREADY BEEN INVENTED,”

          • Curtis Conway

            I would never deny the innovative Spirit of the American People. Fundamental aspects of human endeavor (like defense) do not change. How we accomplish that does. Principles don’t change, but how you employ and accomplish the mission does. Hope I didn’t communicate that other message, for there is always SOMETHING new under the sun.

          • Curtis Conway

            Well, I’m not the first person to say there is ‘Nothing new under the sun’, and of course there is . . . but human nature never changes, and the principles of law remain constant . . . except for the Left. It changes all the time for them, and changes based on how they feel about things. Context is everything.

      • vetww2

        I could not agree more with you!

    • publius_maximus_III

      It two persons are facing each other from opposite ends of a flatcar rolling along at the speed of light, and one of them shines a flashlight toward the other, does he see it?

      • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

        Yes, because relative to each other, the velocity is zero…

        • publius_maximus_III

          But in order to “travel” from one end of the flatcar to the other, wouldn’t the light from the flashlight have to reach an absolute velocity greater than the speed of light, if pointed in the direction of travel?

          • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

            No. It only matters relative to each other. In addition, light is odd. According to Special Relativity, if I shine a light from a flashlight going c, the speed of light, the light only travels at c.

            It’s not intuitive but hence the term relativity. Gotta toss out Newton in that world.

    • Ed L

      Was that independent or in conjunction with the X-15 and other rocket plane programs

    • Refguy

      Interceptor does not have to be faster than the target (except to maximize f-[pole); If you get into a tail-chase situation, you’ve lost.

  • RunningBear

    Two characteristics of the hypersonic (>Mach5) missiles; a very hot exhaust plume streaking through the air and a very hot leading edges from friction with the air. Both of these intense heat generators allow the hypersonic missile to be detected and tracked by IRST systems that can be merged with AESA radars and provide detection and tracking guidance to the SM-3 IB/IIA “Hit to Kill” Interceptors. “The program has nearly 30 successful space intercepts, and more than 250
    interceptors have been delivered to the U.S. and Japanese navies.”

    IMHO
    🙂

    • airider

      Wouldn’t use SM-3’s where hypersonics are hottest….would use SM-3’s when they are post boost before they re-enter the atmosphere…once in the atmosphere, I’d switch to SM-6 or other options…

      • Curtis Conway

        Smart man. I wish we had a common control matrix for other systems . . . like PAC 3, and THAAD. We need a multi-service NIFC-CA.

        • airider

          I’d settle for common C2 right now….

          • Curtis Conway

            We could install a National Aegis Ashore Network and provide ATC and BMD at the same time. The Little Green Men from Space would have to file a flight plan to enter our airspace, because you can’t hide from Aegis SPY-1 Radar, and you are sure not going to hide form the SPY-6 Radar. It would be one of the smartest synergistic investments the American people could make. We have already spent many times the budget of building a SPY-1 National ATC System with the investments in the failed systems to date, and those investments are quantifiable and significant.

          • This site is hostile to posting links, so I’ll ask you to search for “FAA Advanced Automation System” and “IT disasters”. The money that was wasted could have purchased an aircraft carrier with aircraft (circa 1993). IBM was the prime, more than $1.5 billion was wasted. My take – too many PhDs, not enough pilots.

          • Curtis Conway

            AND . . . it was not the first and only attempt. This little fiasco has been going on for decades, and it could have ended in the mid 90’s with a National Aegis Ashore Program for FAA ATC.

          • High power S-Band can disrupt cell phones (one of the reasons that the Euroweenies keep European Aegis Ashore off the air). One of the reasons we took the SPS-49 off of CSEDS was it would wipe out the (then) AMPS cell phone band. Even at Wallops Island, they have to blank the 49 except in a small sector to the east.

            BTW – it looks like the Japanese are going with a Lockheed radar. Not a SPY (the missile [SM-3] already out flies that radar), I’m thinking something more like a “Godzilla” radar (maybe even one with bad breath).

          • Curtis Conway

            The West Med (South of France to the Italian Coast) had the same restrictions.

          • Curtis Conway

            The -49 was a lower frequency L-band radar for long range detection of air targets… with some really interesting modes. Tico really had the bases covered with our SPY-1 (S-band), SPQ-9 (X-band), and the 49. The 49 made some real bananas though.

          • Secundius

            As I recall, we discussed the Same Thing back in 2014. And determined that it would require a minimum of 206 units just to protect the Lower 48-States alone. Which the US Hse.of Rep. would never fund, let alone find the Manpower to Billet those Facilities. Strategically placing an Aegis Ship at various locations would probably be Cheaper…

      • Phugoid!

    • Detection isn’t the issue. The bigger problem, it how do you hit something maneuvering at Mach 5+ with a missile that is traveling at Mach 3-4? Also, SM-3 is exoatmospheric only so it’s useless against airbreathing hypersonics like the X-51.

      • Curtis Conway

        Photons.

      • Matthew Schilling

        Well, if it’s coming at you, you just have to vector to it for impact. Catching it from behind is a separate issue.

      • Especially if it can change directions on you.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    “…a promising revenue source….” And at least a generation behind the power curve. And that is all we need to know.

  • Leroy

    Hypersonics equals deterrence. This type weapon evokes fear. Especially if armed with a nuclear warhead. So like ICBMs, just staying locked in their launchers provides value. I say fund it!

  • tim

    … with all our laser development … I think those weapons will only be useful in bad weather … as lasers “blink” them out.
    Thinking of what was the last Russian invention that stirred us … I remember reading about a hypersonic torpedo that was highly maneuverable in Proceedings, but never heard what became of this. Wonder whether this is also such a white elephant?

  • Chesapeakeguy

    “……are suddenly being touted by defense contractors as a promising revenue source…”. Soooo, nothing about how effective they will be, or whether they are truly needed, but it’s all about the money! Geezz….

  • vetww2

    Nice first, hypersonic birds do not maneuver well, if at all. Conversations, based on somewhat questioable data with advertising quality info. Don’t be;ieve it, just because it has the imprimatur of some manufaturer or govt agency.
    With no malice, I attribute many such reports to some of my correspondents at USNI. I fought long and hard, with some powerful friends on the inside to cut the DD1000 buy from 14 to 3.(the keels already laid). Having savvy people repeat spurious data does not help the Navy nor the science.
    You people are the key. We have thousands of hours of applicable experience here. Let’s not waste it.Thanks to a former Marine Commandant we got President Clinton to cancel the ridiculous resuscitation of the 4BBs. saving several billions.
    We lost the battles of V-22, and LCS due to bought Congressmen and dishonest data. We need intelligent, Courageous people to evaluate, not just repeat exagerated claims. We have them here.

  • vetww2

    I’m a bit tired of having my items shoved way down so I am quitting commenting. The editors are like many in the press. Ignorance of the subject precludes acceptance of facts and including trash and misunderstanding of the real situation. I have NEVER put in a comment that I was not 100% capable of backing up. So, ADIOS for now.

  • vetww2

    vetww2 • a day ago
    Nice first, hypersonic birds do not maneuver well, if at all. Conversations, based on somewhat questioable data with advertising quality info. Don’t be;ieve it, just because it has the imprimatur of some manufaturer or govt agency.
    With no malice, I attribute many such reports to some of my correspondents at USNI. I fought long and hard, with some powerful friends on the inside to cut the DD1000 buy from 14 to 3.(the keels already laid). Having savvy people repeat spurious data does not help the Navy nor the science.
    You people are the key. We have thousands of hours of applicable experience here. Let’s not waste it.Thanks to a former Marine Commandant we got President Clinton to cancel the ridiculous resuscitation of the 4BBs. saving several billions.
    We lost the battles of V-22, and LCS due to bought Congressmen and dishonest data. We need intelligent, Courageous people to evaluate, not just repeat exagerated claims. We have them here.