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Hypersonic cruise missile scores US$175m DARPA cash

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Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept

All you need to do it give a 5 year old kid a few glasses of red cordial, and deny it TV privileges, and you have your HAWC right there.

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Re: Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept

So when they grow up the become a Negasonic Teenage Warhead?

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Re: Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept

Have you considered asking DARPA for a blank cheque to fund further development? Like do they get upset if it's a REALLY big TV? And what is the role of extended holidays on secluded tropical island paradises in all this?

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Re: Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept

Now I understand AKIRA

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Unhappy

SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

Let's see if they can make it work this time.

People have noted 2 things about these concepts.

1) A regular ramjet is good enough already (and has been for the last 30-40 years) to do M5 cruise

2) M5 in the atmosphere is like continual reentry. All the options for dealing with this are limited and either heavy (ablatives, thick heat sink skins) or complex (active cooling).

It'll be fascinating to see what the come up with and wheather $175m gets DARPA some actual hardware or just another bunch of power points.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

And for re-usable spacecraft.

It saves a lot of fuel if you can get to a reasonable percentage of orbital velocity while breathing high-altitude air.

However, I'm pretty sure that it's only worth doing if you can go ahead and do it several times with little more than a refuelling stop, as a rocket system is much cheaper!

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Flame

Re: as a rocket system is much cheaper!

It's maybe not about cost. If you don't have to carry the oxidant for the fuel (rocket motors), then either you have more range, or more payload or smaller craft. Or some compromise mix of those.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

My money is on PowerPoints. Bad ones.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

Is there any other kind of powerpoint?

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

Really bad ones?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

Now a re0usable weapon would be a new concept... but I suspect it may need a bit more thinking through :)

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Conan here

Let me introduce you to my sword.

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Childcatcher

Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

...a re0usable weapon would be a new concept...

It's called a "club". For the effect DARPA is after, I suggest purchase of the Archimedean model. It is very, very large and hits very, very hard. In fact, it can make the Earth move.

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Unhappy

Re: Is there any other kind of powerpoint?

Yes, but they are so rare as to be totally lost in the tsunami of terrible ones. You can actually find properly-formatted word-processing documents too, but you'll have to dedicate yourself to a long search.

Powerpoint as an Outline is fine, it simply provides a visual placeholder and some organization to an otherwise long rambling talk. Properly used graphics can help share information, being only an update of overhead transparencies. Too bad most people use it as "every frickin' word of the talk on slide after slide". Graphic capability is wasted on Shiny Pictures For No Discernible Reason.

It ain't the first program given a bad rep by stupid users.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

It'd be nice to go back to Max Faget's completely reusable DC-3 concept for the Space Shuttle which avoided all the problems later introduced by a delta wing design. The final 1960s design used something like 10 SSMEs on the booster, but scramjets would work to haul the orbiter to high altitude.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

PowerPoints are going to get worse. 3D Powerpoints are part of Windows 10 Creator Update, coming next year.

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Re: as a rocket system is much cheaper!

Mach 5 impact of even a peanut would be enough to cause impressive damage. So If the rocket is about 500kg with a heavily reinforced nose, you might even do without a warhead...

:

"The system described in the 2003 United States Air Force report[citation needed] was that of 20-foot-long (6.1 m), 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m) tungsten rods, that are satellite controlled, and have global strike capability, with impact speeds of Mach 10"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment

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Re: Is there any other kind of powerpoint?

Yes, there is.

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Re: SCRamjets have only really ever looked good for weapons systems

"And for re-usable spacecraft."

Claimed by SCramjet advocates for the last 60 years.

First off you need something else to get them to that velocity. So no you need a rocket anyway.

Second off fixed geometry ramjets usually have a Mach range of 3. Widening this requires making the whole structure variable geometry, mostly of parts operating at re-entry temperatures.

Despite billions of dollars spent on SCramjet research (NASP was $1Bn+) since 1960. they took till 2005 to demonstrate positive thrust IE thrust from engine exceeded drag it produces when operating.

Ramjet missiles have been operational from the 1950's. No SCramjet has ever been fielded.

The only thing SCramjet research has been good for is producing hypersonic PhD's, which it has in abundance.

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"but scramjets would work to haul the orbiter to high altitude."

No they won't.

Fixed geometry is only good for about 3 Mach numbers. You'd be better off staying with a subsonic combustion ramjet and saving the oxidizer load but it's debatable if it's worth it. You can't treat the engine as separate you have to treat the vehicle, tanks and engines as a complete system for getting to orbit and optimize appropriately.

When fully funded Reaction Engines Limited have made more progress than any SCramjet project has.

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Windows

Why is that even news?

175 million?

Spare change down the sofa.

The National Endowment for Democracykeeping Raytheon's share price at elevated levels will eventually make sure that this is money well spent. Because you can't just JDAM the Russkies or the Chinks.

Now. We were talking about USD 20 trillion of debt?

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You mean, since they decomissioned the AIM-54C?

Which was a perfectly capable Mach 5 plus guided weapon envelope. Never missed a drone (unsurprising given the CEP of it's warhead), although never used in combat - I guess the Russians never did send fleets of bombers our way.

And that was designed before 1972. I'm fairly certain they could scale it up and update it hugely without effort by comparison to the time of sliderules.

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Re: You mean, since they decomissioned the AIM-54C?

@Falanx

Wikipedia has a section on the combat usage of the Phoenix. Does not look like a success to me. It also was not very long range, only 190KM.

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"Never missed a drone (unsurprising given the CEP of it's warhead),"

I think you're thinking of the Genie, the only nuclear armed AAM the US ever fielded.

It's pretty obvious that delivering it's capabilities today would have a much lighter electronics package (all that TTL replaced by PowerPC and a couple of ASICs) but of course then they'd want to "upgrade" it in various ways.

BTW While the only listed live shoots by the US missed the Iranians claimed their F14's were quite active in the Iran Iraq war and hit quite a lot. Obviously quite tough to verify.

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Come again?

"affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile"

This is clearly some strange new usage of the word "affordable" I was not previously aware of

Doffs hat (black fedora again) to the late, great Douglas Adams

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Mushroom

Re: Come again?

This is clearly some strange new usage of the word "affordable" I was not previously aware of

If it's cheaper and works better than the F-35, then it's affordable. <roll eyes>

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Holmes

At what speed is the supersonic-hypersonic border

At Mach 2, the Concorde was called a supersonic plane, but at Mach 5, a missile is deemed "hypersonic". Wouldn't it require at least an order of magnitude in speed gap? Otherwise Mach 7 will become subluminic...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At what speed is the supersonic-hypersonic border

So far the classification for hypersonic goes to at 10 and up to 25 has been referred to as high hypersonic, after that as far as craft we have flying through atmosphere has just been called re-entry speed. With the segments being logical dividers for how the crafts are designed given the limits of materials we have and the environment created by the speed through the atmosphere.

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