Monday, April 5, 2021

LRASM Update

Once the hottest item on the Navy’s weapons wish list, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM, AGM-158C) was intended to be air launched from F-18s and then quickly adapted to shipboard vertical launch from standard Mk41 VLS systems.  Of late, however, the LRASM seems to have faded away.  Air launch tests have been conducted but the vertical launch effort appears to have ceased.  The most recent vertical launch progress I can find is a 2017 Lockheed funded test that demonstrated that a LRASM could push through a VLS vertical launch cell cover.(4)  The Navy also conducted a test firing of the LRASM from a container mounted at an angle, similar to the Mk141 Harpoon rack launcher.(3)  I’ve found no mention of anything more recent.


LRASM

 

The Air Force appears to have certified the missile for use and awarded Lockheed Martin a $414M contract earlier this year to produce 137 LRASM for its B-1 bombers.(2)

 

DOT&E cites numerous problems with LRASM development and a paucity of testing.  A DOT&E Quick Reaction Assessment (QRA) report covering tests from 2017-2019 stated that the assessment had limited operational realism and that testing had demonstrated multiple hardware and software failures.(1)  Further, the Navy’s Modeling and Simulation (M&S) effort for the missile is incomplete and, therefore, inadequate to determine whether the system meets its key performance parameters (KPP).

 

Unfortunately, that’s all the information there is as the details are classified.

 

The LRASM is now being described as an interim anti-surface solution in response to a Pacific Fleet  2008 Urgent Operational Need request.  2008?  It’s now 2021 and the LRASM is still undergoing testing.  If this rate of progress is what passes for urgent it’s no wonder the Chinese are building their fleet far faster than we are!  Urgent?  What a travesty.

 

The description of the missile as an interim solution is also telling and indicates the Navy’s sudden loss of interest.

 

While I have no problem – and would applaud – a cessation of interest due to technical problems that cannot be solved or would cost too much to do so, I also note that this is symptomatic of the Navy’s tendency to jump from one shiny toy to the next.  Recall how the Navy went from describing the Zumwalt as the single foundation upon which the future fleet would be built to completely unwanted in the span of a few months?

 

Of course, without the classified details I can’t determine whether the program has run into insurmountable technical issues or just the Navy’s wandering attention span.

 

In any event, it now appears that the Tomahawk anti-ship missile (once called TASM but now referred to as the Maritime Strike Tomahawk in the Navy’s never ending quest to appear to be developing something new despite the TASM having been in service for years prior to being removed in 1994) has overtaken the LRASM in the Navy’s eyes and now seems to be the focus of development.

 

  

 

___________________________________

 

(1)Director, Operational Test and Evaluation,  2020 Annual Report, Jan 2021, p. 161

 

(2)https://www.defenseworld.net/news/29027/U_S__Air_Force_Orders_400_JASSM_ER__137_LRASM_Missiles#.YFJsyvZFyM8

 

(3)https://strategypage.com/htmw/htairw/articles/20200316.aspx

 

(4)https://news.usni.org/2017/08/18/lrasm-succeeds-sea-b-1b-bomber-tactical-launch-test


71 comments:

  1. This is kinda scary since the Tomahawk isn't really stealthy. I wonder if a possible way of making things a little better would be to launch them in pairs:

    (1) to carry the warhead
    (2) to carry a bunch of MALD decoys (since the Tomahawk has a longer range than the MALD). The MALD's would be released when the missile gets into the hazardous range, and at least present a lot more targets for the Chinese integrated air defense system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "a bunch of MALD decoys"

      ?? A single MALD is 10 ft long and weighs close to 300 lbs. How is a Tomahawk going to carry 'a bunch' of these? Or even one?

      I like the concept of an electronic warfare / jammer / decoy Tomahawk but MALD might not be the right mechanism. A dedicated 'penetration aid' Tomahawk might be the better approach.

      Delete
    2. Oops. Perhaps a modified mald, more like the original which was 7 feet long, 6 inches diameter, and weighed 100 pounds. It also had a range of 285 miles so if it hitchhiked most of the way, it could probably be shorter and carry less fuel for shorter range (figures all from Wikipedia). Since the Tomahawk warhead weighs 1000 pounds, there's plenty of weight capability for several of these. I agree fitting them in may still be problematic. Some other long range penetration aids might be better, as you suggest.

      Delete
    3. Mild correction.

      The Tomahawk warhead does not physically weigh 1000 pounds, it has a Net Explosive weight eqivelant to 1000 pounds of TNT.

      Its a standardized system in place to allow for safe storage and mission planning.

      Delete
    4. "The Tomahawk warhead does not physically weigh 1000 pounds"

      I have not heard that. Do you have a reference?

      Delete
    5. That 1000 lbs. equivalent would make sense with today's explosives. That would make the warhead about 750 lbs.

      Delete
    6. "I have not heard that. Do you have a reference?"

      This proved challenging to prove/disprove using open sources. The following is a Master's Thesis published by a US Navy officer, and gives a warhead weight (including case, fuze and arming device) of 1090 pounds for the TLAM-C (p96). The units are specified as pounds (p28), and used for weight/volume analysis, rather than pounds-equivalent.

      https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/36717141.pdf

      However, there seems to be a long tradition of "pound class" warheads and payloads being something other than what they are described as, so it is possible the author made a basic mistake, that I am repeating.

      Delete
    7. I don't know if this is a recent development, but I've noticed a chime on the nosecone of the Tomahawks that is parallel with the wings and wraps around nosecone itself. Could that be some means to make the Tomahawk stealthier when viewed head-on?

      Delete
    8. "nosecone of the Tomahawks"

      Yeah, I've seen that. I don't think it's stealth related. It seems more likely just to be a packaging accommodation for internal sensors.

      Delete
  2. "While I have no problem – and would applaud – a cessation of interest due to technical problems that cannot be solved or would cost too much to do so, I also note that this is symptomatic of the Navy’s tendency to jump from one shiny toy to the next."

    CDR Salamander (cdrsalamander.blogspot.com) describes this tendency as "transformationism". It's devastated the US military, as new systems and platforms that were made to work after significant expenditure of time, effort, and resources, are prematurely retired in favor of an illusory "next"- see the F-22 vs. the F-35, the Seawolf class versus the Virginia class (I doubt the USAF and USN saved any money trying to replace high-end systems designed to fight the Cold War, with something "more affordable" for post-Cold War conflicts).

    The doublespeak the generals and admirals used to justify such behavior, has also devastated Congress' trust in the US military. You think we can still afford a large fleet of single-role ships and aircraft? Not if Congress has any say in the defense budget- a sadly justified attitude, after the EPIC FAILure of the Zumwalt and the LCS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The F-35 was supposed to compliment the F-22 like how the F-16 and F-18 complimented the F-14 and F-15 not replace it.

      That it has been set up as a replacement is terrifying as the F-35 is just incredible limited.

      Delete
    2. And yet the F-35 is on the verge of have the program cut short due to the USAF looking at building a new aircraft instead.

      We're stuck in development hell.

      Delete
    3. The F-16 at least shares the F-15's engines; the F-35 does NOT share the F-22's. The insistence on redesigning the F-22's engines to optimize them for lower speeds, lower altitudes, but greater fuel efficiency- the result being engines too thick to fit in the F-22 fuselage- greatly delayed the F-35's entry to service.

      The services could've designed spacers so the F-35 could use the Pratt & Whitney F119 (F-22 engines) until the F135 was ready. That could've gotten the F-35 into service earlier.

      Delete
    4. If F35 development finishes US allies will be a little miffed.

      Delete
  3. Is anyone surprised? anyone under 35 has been indoctrinated by the 'education' system to be more worried about diversity and everyone being equal than excelling. I can't see things getting better for any US armed service and can just imagine the catastrophe of any future peer conflict.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Breaking News April 2 "Can Army Triple PrSM Missile’s Range?"
    It would appear Army developing the Lockheed Precision Strike Missile is talking of extending its range from 500 km/300 miles to 1,600 km+/1,000+ miles with a "new advanced propulsion systems [using new gen high energetic propellants?] – without making PrSM too big to fit in HIMARS launchers – will dramatically increase the range" and also new RF seeker to track moving targets on land and sea.

    If the Navy wants the effective capability to stay in the long range land and sea attack missions would suggest passing its missile development over to the Army:). Don't know the dimensions of the PrSM but hint that it might fit a Mk41 VLS cell and be a fraction of the cost of the expensive CPS hypersonic missile which require dedicated large VLS cells to launch and as said previously Tomahawk long past its sell by date.

    Would also note why is the Navy spending so much of its treasure on long range land attack capabilities, reading recently War on the Rocks "CONVOY ESCORT: THE NAVY’S FORGOTTEN (PURPOSE) MISSION" by David Alman, Zumwalt when CNO placed the control of sea lanes second only to the assured nuclear second-strike capability, “Heavy reliance on sealift is an integral part of the U.S. role as a sea power. It emphasizes the absolute need to be able to control the seas if the nation is to exist.” and he deprioritized power projection. Navy has limited number of ships suitable for convoy escort, in future a nominal number of the ASW LCS and in 2030s the FFG-62s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every service is trying to move into the other service's lane(s). The Army has no business engaging in 300-1000 mile strike. Their focus should be 0-30 miles directly in front of them because that's where the enemy's armored division will appear and roll over them.

      There is no significant role for the Army or Marines in a China war so both are trying desperately to create one in order to protect their funding.

      "If the Navy wants the effective capability to stay in the long range land and sea attack missions"

      I've said this repeatedly and I'll say it again. It does no good to have a million mile missile if you've got 20 mile sensors. You have to be able to find a target. If the Navy wants to be in the long range game they need to concentrate on long range sensors. Right now, we don't have any.

      Delete
    2. Nick, you are missing the point. The US and its English-speaking allies have no reserve forces to carry nor the fleet of ships to carry them with. Convoy escort is not needed because the war will be OVER long before the convoys and their cargoes could ever be constructed. The Navy is seriously talking about a war with China (Taiwan falling) being over in 72 hours.

      Delete
    3. "The Navy is seriously talking about a war with China (Taiwan falling) being over in 72 hours."

      CDR Salamander stated, "One of the most dangerous yet commonly held beliefs about a future conflict with China is that we could somehow hold China back by convincing them we could defeat them in 72-hrs," in http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2020/12/fullbore-friday_11.html

      He studied the histories of WWII and the Korean War. He believes China will continue fighting longer than 72 hours- how much longer is unknown, but likely long enough to make the President fire the generals and admirals who told him, "We will win [in a 72-hour timeframe]!"

      Delete
    4. "Every service is trying to move into the other service's lane(s). The Army has no business engaging in 300-1000 mile strike. Their focus should be 0-30 miles directly in front of them because that's where the enemy's armored division will appear and roll over them."

      Like I said months ago, this is symptomatic of the Army no longer believing that the Air Force can guarantee CAS and BAI on-call. And with the proliferation of long range rocket artillery and tactical ballistic missiles in the 100-300 mile range, if the Army no longer believes it can rely on the Air Force to supply long-range fires, then it has to come up with its own solutions for that.

      Delete
    5. Don't have a problem with Army going out a couple 100 miles, 1000 miles does seem to be more USAF job though, my problem is more with close range artillery, US Army should definitely worry about what's directly in front of it. Also counter-UAV should be one of it's top priorities as shown by 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war,is the US Army ready to face an onslaught of all kinds and sizes of enemy UAVs? I don't think we can count on USAF to shoot every thing down....

      As for LRASM,its tough what to think since there's such a paucity of information. Did USN lose interest? Why? Technical reasons or tactics? Or just simple it's not USN and more an USAF program so USN doesn't care about it? That we have to fall back on Tomahawk is disheartening,its really USN just can't come up with anything new that works, USN keeps falling back on old designs like Burkes and Tomahawk to move forward...if the USN can't get its head straight, forget having a war with China, we won't need one to be defeated, USN just won't show up with anything that works!!!

      Delete
    6. "if the Army no longer believes it can rely on the Air Force to supply long-range fires, then it has to come up with its own solutions for that."

      No, because that leads to the Army developing their own navy and air force and every other capability. If there is a serious belief (not just institutional jealousy) that a service cannot perform its assigned role then the solution is fix that service, not develop a duplicate capability. That's sheer lunacy in addition to being fiscally unaffordable.

      Delete
    7. "If there is a serious belief (not just institutional jealousy) that a service cannot perform its assigned role then the solution is fix that service, not develop a duplicate capability. That's sheer lunacy in addition to being fiscally unaffordable."

      Well said. Congress should've told the USMC this, before the Marines tried to make themselves a second Army AND a third Air Force (after the USN's carrier-borne aviation) AND a second Navy AT THE SAME TIME.

      Delete
    8. CNO - If China did invade Taiwan would not an Army 300-1,000 mile PrSM be useful weapon in targeting mainland airfields and ports, no problem in targeting fixed sites, remember in Gulf war none of the Iraqi TEL launching Scud missiles was ever found to be targeted even though USAF had total air supremacy. Expect Army would need many thousands of PrSMs to be effective, Taiwan would need large convoys for food, fuel and armaments if it were to mount effective resistance to Chinese invasion. Think Army TELs would be the most simplistic and cost effective means of launching thousands of PrSMs compared to ships and a/c.


      "It does no good to have a million mile missile if you've got 20 mile sensors" Intrigued with USCG developing its "Passive Acoustic Non Cooperative Aircraft Collision Avoidance System, PANCAS, for UAVs to be used on its Cutters with no helo/fight deck, targeting 6.5 hour flight ops, PANCAS uses sound rather than radar to detect a/c up to ~30 nm+ range . If passive EW and IR sensors added for ISR it would be great in EMCON mode ops, with its small RCS compared to a helo and if operational at 2,000 feet would give a surface range of ~52 nm, sure there will be some drawbacks but as said impressed, French some years ago looked at a quad copter tethered to ship.

      Delete
    9. "If China did invade Taiwan would not an Army 300-1,000 mile PrSM be useful weapon in targeting mainland airfields and ports, no problem in targeting fixed sites, remember in Gulf war none of the Iraqi TEL launching Scud missiles was ever found to be targeted even though USAF had total air supremacy."

      Iraq is not Taiwan. Iraq is an expansive desert on which the Scud TELs can travel with minimal difficulty, and towards which USAF aircraft must fly a great distance from bases in allied nations to even reach.

      Taiwan is a mountainous little island, with limited numbers of roads on which the Army's missile launchers can travel. China can simply plaster the area with ballistic missiles- a near miss will be sufficient to cause landslides that'll render a road impassible for truck-mounted launchers- while the Army's missiles will have difficulty shooting back, as they have few places to hide on a mountainous little island, and China's expansive territory offers its own TELs many places to hide.

      Any "air supremacy" to be had in this war, will be China's. As stated, Taiwan's terrain offers its defenders limited basing options; neighboring nations will likely declare neutrality in a Sino-Taiwanese War, and forbid US military aircraft from striking China from their territory. If you could convince China's neighbors to support the US in such a war, why haven't they ALREADY formed a military alliance to deter "Chinese aggression"? Because China's diplomats are obviously more skilled than those of the US- the President of the US calling that of Russia a "killer" IN PUBLIC, is an unforgettable gaffe.

      Delete
    10. "If China did invade Taiwan would not an Army 300-1,000 mile PrSM be useful weapon in targeting mainland airfields and ports"

      When China invades Taiwan, Taiwan will need every weapon it has targeting the guys that are 50 yards in front of them, nevermind across the strait on mainland China. There will be no resources left over for mainland strikes. Taiwan will have to hope that the US or Japan opts to jump in and take the mainland strike role.

      "PANCAS"

      Where did you get 30 nm for acoustic detection? I've not seen that. I saw a 30 mile range for operating a PUMA UAV but that was a comm issue, not acoustic detection.

      Regardless, the idea of a small, passive UAV is one I've called for so that's good.

      Delete
    11. "When China invades Taiwan, Taiwan will need every weapon it has targeting the guys that are 50 yards in front of them, nevermind across the strait on mainland China. There will be no resources left over for mainland strikes. Taiwan will have to hope that the US or Japan opts to jump in and take the mainland strike role."

      If Chinese are successful in making a landing and establish a bridgehead to pour in more troops and supplies Taiwan will be lost due to Chinese overwhelming numbers, Taiwan needs to take out the majority Chinese before they land and if Chinese do establish a bridgehead, Taiwan will need concentrated artillery firepower to hold and thousands of PrSMs and other missiles to take out follow-on troops/supply ships in originating ports and at sea, odds will be stacked against the Taiwanese, thinking of the Battle of Anzio and Normandy landings.

      PANCAS
      "Where did you get 30 nm for acoustic detection? I've not seen that. I saw a 30 mile range for operating a PUMA UAV but that was a comm issue, not acoustic detection."

      Your correct, re-reading it was the max distance the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) was able to control the PUMA UAV with the prototype long-range directional antenna. PUMA fitted with PANCAS enabling to operate safely at that range to give its extended BVLOS

      Delete
    12. "PANCAS"

      My only slightly educated guess would be that acoustic aircraft detection is only good for a few to several miles. Think about it. How often have you seen moving contrails in the sky indicting an aircraft but could hear no sound? I've seen it a lot. That should suggest something about acoustic detection of aircraft.

      Delete
    13. "No, because that leads to the Army developing their own navy and air force and every other capability."

      But they aren't duplicating the Navy and Air Force's capabilities. They're not making ships and strike fighters, they're making longer range artillery and extending the range of tactical ballistic missiles. It's about increasing the range of organic fires controlled by the army. Arguably you could see this as the army waking up to how it has an artillery gap with the rest of the world, because it's been so reliant on the Air Force to act as its long range artillery.

      There's plenty to criticise in the Army and how they do things, we don't need to flail at strawmen of what they're not doing.

      Delete
    14. They absolutely are duplicating Air Force and Navy capabilities, if not exact equipment. Deep strike is the Air Force's mission and naval strike is the Navy's. Now, the Army, along with the Marines, want to conduct deep strike, anti-ship, and even anti-submarine. The Army is now 'stealing' the Marine's forward based, small unit, anti-ship missile mission that the Marines have appropriated from the Navy. The Army is also working to base themselves on Navy amphibious ships. They are wandering well outside their lane.

      Delete
    15. "They absolutely are duplicating Air Force and Navy capabilities, if not exact equipment. Deep strike is the Air Force's mission and naval strike is the Navy's."

      From a certain point of view, I'd say the Army's move to make their TBMs antiship capable is just returning to the old Coastal Artillery mission, a mission which has been neglected for quite some time. Although I do agree that's probably budget spin.

      The problem is that deep strike is delivered by the Air Force using strike fighters, and as you've opined, that is no longer viable in peer war ( https://navy-matters.blogspot.com/2021/03/why-do-we-need-strike-aircraft.html ). However, cruise missiles are not yet responsive enough to support the army in CAS and BAI, so if strike fighters are completely off the table, then the only way the Army is getting supporting fires is with tube and rocket artillery and its own attack helicopters (which have clear limits in range, endurance, payload, and survivability).

      Delete
    16. "if strike fighters are completely off the table, then the only way the Army is getting supporting fires is with tube and rocket artillery and its own attack helicopters"

      The issue is not HOW to provide the necessary support; the issue is WHO provides that support. The US military clearly defines the roles of the various services. The Army is moving well outside its lane and intruding into both the Air Force and Navy areas of responsibility.

      If you're trying to make the argument that the Army has no choice but to provide its own deep strike because the Air Force and Navy can't (the strike aircraft issue you allude to), the solution is NOT to duplicate capabilities but to adjust the HOW of the lacking service(s).

      Make no mistake, this is not a case of the Army trying to provide for a gap in US military capability; this is a case of the Army seeing a potential war (with China) that they won't be invited to because there is little or no use for ground forces. This is a budget grab intended to sustain their relevance and, hence, budget justification.

      As a somewhat related note, you're also conflating multiple missions. Deep strike, for which I've stated manned aircraft are inappropriate, is a different mission than CAS or BAI and I've made no statement about the relevance or wisdom of manned aircraft for those roles. However, that's a different subject so I'll leave it be unless you want to discuss it.

      Delete
  5. "The Navy is seriously talking about a war with China (Taiwan falling) being over in 72 hours."

    I think that is the same Rand study that reported that 1 Reb can beat 10 Yankees or the one that the Japanese couldn't build a fighter to match the Brewster Buffalo.

    Nico, the Navy thinks the updated Tomahawk is new Douglas Devastator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The Navy is seriously talking about a war with China (Taiwan falling) being over in 72 hours."

      I don't know what they're drinking, but I want some.

      Delete
    2. Are you sure they're saying that WE would win in 72 hours? My initial interpretation was that the CHINESE would win in 72 hours?

      Delete
    3. Once Tawain loses the ability to launch aircraft, for all intents and purposes, the war is over. I foresee that not even taking 72hrs.

      Anything past that point is pacification operations...

      Delete
    4. "Once Tawain loses the ability to launch aircraft, for all intents and purposes, the war is over. I foresee that not even taking 72hrs."

      I'm not sure it's quite THAT bad (although it IS bad). An amphibious landing opposed by a competent military remains an extremely difficult, complex, and risky operation even if you have air superiority.

      Delete
    5. Let's not forget that Taiwan has ferry docks and ports; China only needs enough amphibious lift to secure a beachhead and take the ports, then they can ship in reinforcements with ro-ros.

      Delete
    6. "I'm not sure it's quite THAT bad (although it IS bad). An amphibious landing opposed by a competent military remains an extremely difficult, complex, and risky operation even if you have air superiority."

      Given Tawain public lamentations on the state of its Army, limited private ownership of firearms, and geographical limitations... I suspect distribution of arms, coordination of units, and the establishment of assembly points for counterattacks will be impossible without any form of resistance in the air.

      Delete
    7. For me, Taiwan's fate is already decided. There is no hope for them and relief is not coming. The US Navy (currently) lacks any ability to surge and even if we want to, we will just be cannon folders (because of tactics and training) with their overwhelming power. It's like Germany in the beginning of WW2, it's hard to see anyway out for Poland.

      Delete
  6. I think LRASM was always just increment one of a 2 increment project where it didn't become what will be increment 2. Much of the talk is always the contractor showing what's possible to sell more. I think part of the complication became LCS being unable to support the weight or space of a LRASM installation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I think part of the complication became LCS being unable to support the weight or space of a LRASM installation."

      I've never heard that. Do you have a reference?

      Here's what Lockheed had to say about dropping out of the Over The Horizon missile competition for the LCS:

      "... it became clear that our offering would not be fully valued ...

      Lockheed Martin, frustrated by changing requirements the company feels are skewed to a particular competitor [Kongsberg’s NSM], is dropping out of the U.S. Navy’s over-the-horizon missile program"

      I've heard nothing about weight/space issues.

      Delete
  7. The Navy has never taken anti-surface missiles seriously. I don't know where the problem lies, but for some reason it always gets stuck on the back burner with mine warfare and NGFS, among others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After WW2 no non-allied countries had carriers so for anti ship duties it's carrier aircraft would do that job.

      Time has now moved on and between both the decrease in US carrier numbers and shrinking air wings while ship launched SAM's are getting vastly more effective and prolific means the US now truly needs anti ship missiles.

      Delete
  8. Breaking Defense had a recent article asking where US Army and also applies to USMC when it comes to basing missiles and similar counter China systems because it sure looks like most Asian countries are like NIMBY!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Basing has been the consistent problem with the Marines, and now Army's, vision. THERE ARE NO VIABLE BASE LOCATIONS! The Marines, and now Army, just hand wave the problem away (along with targeting issues) and no one except us on this blog, is calling them out on it.

      Delete
  9. On 7 February 2020, the US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of up to 200 LRASMs and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$990 million.[59] This sale was confirmed in June 2020.[60] From Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-158C_LRASM.


    Also we might be building it

    The federal government will invest $1 billion to build new missiles and guided weapons in Australia, in a bid to quell fears the military would quickly exhaust its supply of munitions during a conflict.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit defence companies in Adelaide on Wednesday to announce the plan to fast-track the development of a local missile manufacturing industry, which the government has designated a “sovereign capability” for the Australian Defence Force to achieve self-sufficiency.

    Under the plan, Defence, in close consultation with the US military, will select a foreign defence company to build a suite of missiles locally for use across the army, navy and air force. A location is yet to be selected.

    Potential partners include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BAE Systems and Kongsberg.

    The missiles could also be a source of secondary supply to the US military.

    https://theconversation.com/australias-plan-for-manufacturing-missiles-to-be-accelerated-158160 (the link is from an article you are allowed to read but the quote is behind a paywall.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Perhaps LRASM is slowly fading away because the service is looking at other missiles? There's JSM, the air-launched variant of NSM, which fits in the F-35's weapons bay. And maybe the Navy's hedging its bets with hypersonic missiles? There are now British and Japanese hypersonic AShM development programs ongoing, and I can see some rationale there - if you're going to be reducing your RCS by carrying external missiles, better those missiles be hypersonic to close the gap faster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Perhaps LRASM is slowly fading away because the service is looking at other missiles?"

      That could well be. The concern/danger is that there is always some new toy on the horizon and if you always jump to the next promised toy, you'll never have a current capability. Hypersonic missiles may or may not be the next great thing (recall lasers which have been in development for decades and rail guns which the Navy jumped at and has now abandoned?) but, regardless, they are well into the future. We need an effective anti-ship cruise missile today.

      Delete
  11. LRASM was deemed as an interim solution because from day 1, it failed to meet Navy's demands but there was no ready solution on-hand. Another interim solution now use is Norway's NSM anti-ship missile.

    For a long time, Navy felt Harpoon was good enough as it can be launched by F/A-18 therefore a long range anti-ship missile fired from a ship is not necessary. Meanwhile, several other nations were keen on surface and submarine launched long range anti-ship missiles, largely because they didn't have carriers.

    LRASM is a long range cruise missile with stealthy frame. To effectively conduct long range strike, reconnaissance close to enemy ships are crucial but cannot be done by the missile itself. For instance, use E-2D to locate enemy ship and send information to LRASM. If E-2D is knocked down, then, game over although there is only one nation now has capability to knock down E-2D in open sea. Another short coming is its speed - too slow thus give enemy time to react (intercept, etc.). To make it both long range and fast, new engines must be ready, for instance, ramjet, scramjet, ... etc. but we know despite Pentagon talked many time and even some version did come out (ramjet for SR-71), still no available one for cruise missile.

    If we dig deeper, such as why an urgent project could not be delivered, we should look on quality of military related R&D capabilities. It has been a long time that smart high graduates generally don't choose STEM. I was shocked to learn that F-22's R&D team's average age was close to 60!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's plenty of nations that can knock out an E-2 over the open ocean - maybe you would be right if you said that there's only one nation currently hostile to the USA that could take out a E-2 with carrier aircraft. However, the USN isn't talking about open ocean, it's talking about the South China Sea and the main threat is land-based aircraft.

      Delete
    2. " use E-2D to locate enemy ship and send information to LRASM"

      E-2's do not conduct surface search missions. They monitor and manage the aerial warfare situation.

      "ramjet"

      The Navy had a ramjet missile, the RIM-8 Talos, back in the 1960's-1970's.

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous

      " It has been a long time that smart high graduates generally don't choose STEM. I was shocked to learn that F-22's R&D team's average age was close to 60! "

      Err you work with many senior researchers or engineers. You don't get that job out of your 4 year degree. Even once you are 30ish have a PhD or the equivalent you are still likely to be expected do the equivalent of one or more post doc jobs before you get to in the cutting edge of something.

      The more narrow the field and the more onerous the requirements the more likely you drift the age up even more. A fair amount of people don't like the day to day hassle of a government/national security job.

      Delete
    4. E-2D can perform sea surface search.

      https://www.militaryaerospace.com/sensors/article/14178508/radar-signal-processing-e2d-aircraft

      Delete
    5. "E-2D can perform sea surface search."

      Of course it can. That's not the issue. Operationally, it doesn't. It does not go out on surface searches. It stays with the carrier to monitor and manage aerial operations.

      Delete
  12. Your bringing up the sensor problem made me ask another question; just what are these targets we are trying to hit from 1000NM. Let us say the Admiralty's fantasy of 1000nm missiles is met with an improved tomahawk. Part of the strength (and weakness) of TLAM's was use of terrain guidance. If kept updated that works great for land targets and isn't as easily jammed as GPS. But it only fixed land targets. That means strategic targets such as their equivalent of the Pentagon or an older fixed array radar, or power stations. All valuable targets but with government centers also being population centers and the Brass terrified of civilian casualties how many would they actually use? In the case of fixed defense sites, that's nice but has no effect on frontline operations where air defense is mobile. So in that case long range fires as the Army likes to call it are relatively limited in scope.
    Ok, since everyone is talking Taiwan, let's say we targeted the landing beach. Off go 1000 missiles from 1000 miles away, making 1000 separate craters on the beach. Very battleship like. Can they target a specific landing tank? NO. Are they area denial weapons for thousands of Infantry? for the first wave of troops yes. For the second wave NO. Because they are unitary warheads. To stop a beach invasion you need cluster munition warheads like the ones the Army once threatened the Soviets with on the M270 MLRS. Once threated. We are kinder and gentler now and have withdrawn those warheads for the most part and are even looking at signing agreements limiting our use of cluster munitions.
    Because our entire military is STILL fighting Afghanistan and Iraq where we were trying to fight precisely against small enemy units and have air superiority.
    The Navy might have a better idea of what we actually need if instead of "China"--a very big country--they started really looking at the targets like Taiwanese beach heads, or mobile missile launchers or taking out ships in harbor so they have no reinforcements. Instead it is nebulous weapons against nebulous targets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "long range fires as the Army likes to call it are relatively limited in scope"

      You're one of the few people who grasp that. Well done!

      "Taiwan, let's say we targeted the landing beach. Off go 1000 missiles from 1000 miles away,"

      I know you're making a generalized statement, not an actual firing plan but let's keep firmly in mind that we can't even do that. Guam, our nearest base, is 1700 miles from Taiwan - our of reach of thousand mile cruise missiles! The Philippines is in reach but we don't have basing rights there nor are we likely to get them in any foreseeable future … and so on with other possible locations.

      All the talk from the Army and Marines about these forward bases ignores that we have no bases and no country is going to let us establish such bases.

      Let's also bear in mind the cost for using Tomahawks as area weapons - again, I know you weren't actually recommending that. A thousand missiles, at $2M apiece (I don't have the exact cost in front of me), is $2B!!!!! That's not affordable.

      "cluster munitions"

      The TLAM-D is a cluster munition dispenser.

      Delete
    2. The only islands of any real possible use would be the Senkaku Islands of Japan. And then ONLY if the Japanese themselves felt really threatened enough to allow us there. at around 800km or so to the Chinese mainland they could do again limited strikes. But since Taiwan also claims the Senkaku Islands those mythical long range missiles would not be used to help with a Taiwanese invasion. And once they fired the waters around them would be full of Chinese subs sinking ships carrying reloads.
      There is limited usefulness against Russian staging areas and forward air bases while firing from friendly soil and moving on European roads for the Army. But China and by the Marines? Commandant "Klink" needs an Atlas very badly.

      My question for the TLAM-D is would we use it? We are moving into a diplomatic hole discussing restrictions on cluster munitions--the Air Force has destroyed many of theirs and the Army has been backing away as well.

      The Naval weapon that might be of most use protecting Taiwan, Japan, or anyone from invasion is the one we have no actual capacity with--Naval mines.
      As you astutely pointed out our 1000 missile barrage would be 2 billion worth of ammo. A few hundred mines at a tenth the cost would do far more to deter an invasion than a few marines firing a few dozen harpoons of the back of a truck. A fact the Chinese do realize as they actually have minesweepers.
      Mines could also seal off ports so that there are no resupply for the Navy or reinforcements for Chinese Marines.
      But I have seen 0 mention of anything except long range missiles or magic cannon shells that turn a mere 6" gun (155mm) into a battleship gun. A few suggestions of mines in Proceedings but certainly not be the Admiralty.

      Delete
    3. Why are amateurs like us putting more thought into this, than anyone working for the Departments of State (which determines WHO we should defend) and Defense (which determines HOW we should defend them)?

      Delete
    4. "amateurs like us"

      Just as a point of clarity, a professional is someone who puts time, effort, and study into a subject. That makes 'us' professionals. I would suggest that makes many of us more professional than military leaders. What 'amateurs like us' lack is the details about equipment performance. I would also like to believe we lack training but seeing the quality of what passes for training in the military, I don't think that's a valid issue to any great extent. In fact, much of the training the military receives is so badly flawed as to be counter-productive meaning worse than no training at all. The military is developing bad habits which is worse than no habits - as any athlete will attest.

      Delete
    5. I think Johnnie Z raises an interesting point if I can piggyback on his comments: what exactly are we targeting here? Seems to me all the services are all over place, developing somewhat similar missiles, mostly hypersonic since its the latest fashion but what are we targeting? Is it necessary? Is there other ways to reach these targets? What is that important 1000 miles out to the battlefield? What about closer range? Do we have missiles for that? The example of 1000 beachhead missile attack isn't realistic, we know that BUT I think the point still remains: its really expensive to do MASSIVE FIRES with missiles and we don't have the inventory to do that for very long.

      DoD as usual is spending a lot of money on all these missiles but what exactly are they doing?

      Delete
    6. Johnnie Z. I don't consider myself a "professional" since I don't publish fancy articles in BD or own a blog like CNO BUT I don't consider myself an "amateur" either since I was in the Army (military experience) and probably been reading history since I was a little kid, collecting for a few decades a very extensive military library. I'm sure that fits most people here in general. So I don't know what exactly we should call ourselves....interesting question.

      Delete
    7. The US Army leader who were the experts in weapons procurement in 1861 soundly rejected repeating rifles. Lincoln with no military training or technical training insisted vigorously the introduction of Spenser and Henry rifles which often turned the tide of Battle.
      The Navy steadfastly opposed air power throughout the 1930's in favor of battleships. Much of the Navy opposed President Ronald Reagan's insistence on reactivating the New Jersey class battleships, but while contemporary British Ships in the Falklands worried about the Exocet missile, US Battleships off the coast of war-torn Lebanon could joke that would only chip their paint.
      Professionals are all capable of not just mistakes but major mistakes and amateurs often see weakness that professionals don't.

      Delete
    8. What to call us amateurs? Hmmm...Pontificators? The term was originally not meant to be an insult but rather a descriptor of someone who thought deeply about (pontificated) a subject.
      Nautical Savant? Maritime Sage? Unorthodox Advisor? Myself I tend to be merely an Enfant Terrible.
      Or maybe part of the problem is an over reliance on titles like expert or admiral and the failure to apply history, wisdom, and effort to thinking about challenges.

      Delete
    9. "Or maybe part of the problem is an over reliance on titles like expert or admiral and the failure to apply history, wisdom, and effort to thinking about challenges."

      Thumbs up!

      Delete
    10. George Friedman, in his recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM, describes a pending battle in the USA between experts and common sense, which he expects to come to a head sometime in the next decade. I think we have seen signs of that in the COVID debate. I'm not sure where it might next rear its head, but military and defense matters are ripe for it to happen there.

      Delete
  13. Titles are funny things. They are used to convey information about status or rank, but also responsibility or duty. Problems arises when someone who possesses a title does not accept the responsibility of the title. Those who fail to accept the responsibility are not worthy of the title they hold.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I also wonder if the LRSO (Long range stand off) cruise missile is going to have a conventional counterpart and if that may have some part in the decision making around the interim nature of LRASM. Having a production line that can produce a stealthy conventional weapon and a nuclear version may keep the cost down on the ongoing upkeep of the nuclear version. If you only produce 200 nuclear cruise missiles they will never be used and the production equipment to produce replacement components will soon be uneconomical to maintain. If there is a hot production line for the conventional version, upgrades to the nuclear version are likely.

    ReplyDelete
  15. There's a lot of comments on the nature of having a 1000 miles range missiles (whatever the type) but I believe the issue of implementation lies with the VLS system. Trying to fit a bigger and heavier missile in a smaller compartment does not work well. I am reminded that it's one of the inherent issues with advancing the SM-6 program, the size prevents it from carrying enough fuel to catch up with any ICBMs. Perhaps it's time we aim for a bigger or better launching mechanics (the crane?) for missiles.

    On the other hand, all this talking about which missile is better got me thinking about submarine-launched nuclear missiles. How exactly could any nation know that our 1000 miles missile couldbe nuclear in disguise? And in kind, respond with nuclear weapons? In the past, it's often very clear the method of delivery is the telling sign of it being nuclear or not. Now that we are discussing missiles that could cary a nuclear warhead if it wants, how exactly would the nuclear stakes change?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Mk57 peripheral VLS was intended to be a larger VLS system although no missile currently exists or is under development that is appropriate for the system so one has to wonder what purpose the Navy thought it would serve.

      I fully support ship launched ballistic missiles and if that requires a new launch system for larger missiles, that's fine.

      Traditionally, the 'warning' of nuclear missiles was that they would be carried on ballistic missiles and the flight trajectory would be the possible indicator. The Chinese, however, have developed and produced large numbers of conventional ballistic missiles (and nuclear) so the country/person you should be asking this question of is China. If they are unconcerned about our ability to discern nuclear versus conventional missiles, then we should not handcuff ourselves over the concern, either.

      As far as nuclear armed cruise missiles, there is no way to tell and that applies to both sides.

      The tempering factor in the nuclear identification issue is MAD. There is no reason for either side to use nuclear weapons, hence, there is no reason to be concerned with identification of missiles.

      Delete
  16. By coincidence, a UK paper published this today : https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1419614/china-news-masterplan-beijing-new-silk-road-uk-europe-eu-economy-trade-politics-spt . It's a reasonable visual summary of part of China's strategy but it also shows weaknesses and many of these lines are vulnerable. A 1,000 mile missile can hit railway junctions and ports (although you might argue that a 250 mile missile can do the same with little increase in risk). However, in the SCS area it's anti-ship weapons that are needed - basing more missiles in Taiwan (under Taiwanese control) makes sense but these don't need to be long-range. History tells us that the Defender should have the advantage, especially if they are well prepared - Taiwan needs mines and shorter range weapons plus deep fortifications. What the US needs depends on whether the US is really prepared to do politically. Will the US strike Chinese mainland bases in Defence of Taiwan? Will the US clear the Chinese out of their island bases in the SCS? If the US continues with a strategy of sitting outside the SCS and lobbing missiles in from 1,000 miles away (and only threatening from 1 single direction!), it's already lost. Russia was 'defeated' by surrounding it on all sides so it had so many threats it couldn't counter them all - we're only giving China 1 thing to defend against.

    ReplyDelete

Comments will be moderated for posts older than 7 days in order to reduce spam.