Category Archives: Rocket

Over-the-horizon radar

The U.S. Navy selected Raytheon Technologies, to be the lead systems integrator for the improved maritime enhancements to the relocatable over-the-horizon radar, which will provide long range detection to prevent drugs from entering the United States.

ROTHR
Raytheon Technologies selected as lead systems integrator for maritime over-the-horizon radar

As the lead systems integrator, Raytheon is responsible for integrating the hardware and software of the radar, which includes digital receivers, high power transmitters, advance maritime tracking capability, and advanced clutter mitigation. These capabilities, when combined, will be able to identify and track ships or aircraft up to 3000 kilometers/1864 miles away that may be attempting to bring drugs into the United States.

«As a leading defense integrator with more than 30 years of experience working with over-the-horizon radars, Raytheon Missiles & Defense is uniquely positioned to lead the systems integration for the Maritime capability», said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power, Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «Across the company, we are continuing to improve our technologies and capabilities to provide next-level solutions and over-the-horizon radars are no exception».

Raytheon is the original equipment manufacturer on the ROTHR system. Since deploying the Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar, ROTHR, in the 1990s, for the U.S. Navy, Raytheon Technologies continues to provide key integration, sustainment, operations, and advancements for ROTHR.

Static test fire

Northrop Grumman Corporation conducted its first full-scale static test fire of the Sentinel stage-one solid rocket motor at the company’s test facility in Promontory.

LGM-35A Sentinel
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center conducted its first full-scale static test fire of the LGM-35A Sentinel stage-one solid rocket motor at the Northrop Grumman test facility in Promontory, Utah, March 2, 2023. The Air Force plans to replace the fielded Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile with the next-generation Sentinel system currently in development. The Sentinel acquisition program represents the modernization of the land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

This development test will further prove the Sentinel team’s design approach and gain confidence to move to the next stage of testing. The motor fired for the anticipated duration and met performance parameters and objectives within expected ranges.

«This static fire highlights the advances we’ve made in digital engineering and gives us confidence in our ability to translate that into hardware build and test as we continue to make progress on the path to flight testing», said Sarah Willoughby, vice president, Sentinel, Northrop Grumman. «The results allow us to validate and anchor our stage-one motor performance before entering qualification testing and completing system analyses, key to lowering risk as we mature the Sentinel design and advance towards critical design review».

Northrop Grumman also leveraged advanced testing equipment that allowed for increased data collection to better understand motor characteristics.

«Our investments in digital design, test and advanced manufacturing help to ensure we develop this next-generation missile more affordably and with innovation at its core, delivering to the Air Force a safe, secure, reliable and flexible capability», added Willoughby.

The Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system is the U.S. Air Force’s program to modernize the land-based leg of the strategic triad, replacing the Minuteman III system that has been in service for more than half a century.

The Sentinel missile features a three-stage booster, with Northrop Grumman producing stages one and two. The booster is a new design, using the latest materials and design technologies to ultimately improve performance, reliability, safety and sustainability.

E-7 program

Boeing will begin development of two new U.S. variants of the E-7 Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft through a $1.2 billion Undefinitized Contract Action.

E-7A AEW&C
An artist’s depiction shows the E-7A AEW&C in flight. The E-7A AEW&C will allow the U.S. Air Force to retain air dominance for decades to come (Boeing image)

The E-7 provides a fully integrated, combat-proven, flexible command and control node that delivers multi-domain awareness in the most challenging operational environments. The E-7’s open systems architecture and agile software design enable the aircraft’s capabilities to evolve and remain ahead of future threats.

«The E-7 is a proven platform», said Stu Voboril, E-7 program vice president and general manager. «It is the only advanced aircraft that is capable of meeting the U.S. Air Force’s near-term Airborne Early Warning & Control requirement while enabling integration across the joint force».

The E-7 tracks multiple airborne and maritime threats simultaneously with 360-degree coverage via the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor. MESA provides the warfighter with critical domain awareness to detect and identify adversarial targets at long range and dynamically adjusts to emerging tactical situations.

Other E-7 operators include the Royal Australian Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force, Turkish Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

The E-7 uses a well-established supply chain which significantly reduces maintenance and logistics costs and increases mission readiness on day one. Converted from the Next-Generation 737-700, the E-7 capitalizes on existing commercial derivative aircraft design, certification and modification processes, allowing E-7s to be fielded to meet Air Force needs.

Reconfigurable Sensor

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully moved its first Electronically-Scanned Multifunction Reconfigurable Integrated Sensor (EMRIS), a new ultra-wideband sensor, into integration and test. Northrop Grumman’s sophisticated multifunction sensors, including EMRIS, enable warfighters to accelerate decision timelines and act collectively.

EMRIS
Electronically-Scanned Multifunction Reconfigurable Integrated Sensor (EMRIS) in a Northrop Grumman testing range

«The sensor’s architecture is easily scaled and reconfigurable, including a variety of mounting configurations, for a wide applicability across platforms and domains», said Krys Moen, vice president, advanced mission capabilities, Northrop Grumman. «By developing EMRIS in an open-architecture construct, we can rapidly add new or improved capabilities to increase performance while avoiding redesign. This supports decades of fielded use and continued access to industry best-in-class capabilities for the warfighter».

EMRIS’s fully digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) utilizes technology from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program combined with government open-architecture standards. By applying the flexibility of a digital AESA, EMRIS can perform functions including radar, electronic warfare and communications simultaneously.

Multifunction apertures consolidate multiple functions into a single sensor, decreasing both the number of apertures needed and the size, weight and power requirements for the advanced capabilities. Sophisticated multifunction apertures like EMRIS can deploy several functions simultaneously. As part of EMRIS’s integration and test phase, Northrop Grumman is demonstrating the ability to quickly leverage technology developed for other programs to adapt multiple fielded capabilities into EMRIS.

EMRIS was designed using common building blocks and software containerization allowing for rapid, cost-effective production. The sensor’s design leverages commercial processes and materials, including 5G tech base, driving down cost and increasing the quality and reliability of the components.

Conventional Prompt Strike

Lockheed Martin is partnering with the U.S. Navy to integrate hypersonic strike capability onto surface ships.

Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS)
Artist rendering of Conventional Prompt Strike

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than $2 billion, if all options are exercised, to integrate the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon system onto ZUMWALT-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs). CPS is a hypersonic boost-glide weapon system that enables long range missile flight at speeds greater than Mach 5, with high survivability against enemy defenses.

«Lockheed Martin continues to advance hypersonic strike capability for the United States through this new contract», said Steve Layne, vice president of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin. «Early design work is already underway. Our team looks forward to supporting the warfighter by providing more options to further protect America at sea».

Under this contract, prime contractor Lockheed Martin will provide launcher systems, weapon control, All Up Rounds (AURs), which are the integrated missile components, and platform integration support for this naval platform. The company, along with industry partners including subcontractors Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Mission Systems, is on track to provide the CPS surface-launched, sea-based hypersonic strike capability to sailors by the mid-2020s. The contract also provides for additional AURs plus canisters for the U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) testing, training and tactical employment.

 

A Shared Missile

CPS shares a common AUR with the Army LRHW and can be launched from multiple platforms including surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers.

Lockheed Martin is the prime systems integrator for the CPS and LRHW weapon systems. The company leads a team of industry, government, and academic partners to make critical progress in design and development to meet this urgent warfighter need in both land and sea domains.

 

A National Imperative

Hypersonic vehicles or hypersonic missiles can travel faster than five times the speed of sound and are highly maneuverable. The combination of the CPS capability, and the stealth and mobility of the ZUMWALT-class destroyer, will provide the nation’s first sea-based hypersonic strike capability.

Fielding CPS on the ZUMWALT-class destroyer will be a necessary and important step toward equipping the warfighter with a capability that embodies Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security vision in support of our customers.

Lockheed Martin is leveraging its corporate history of system integration on naval platforms and our more than 60 years of hypersonic strike experience to accelerate development on an unprecedented timeline.

Sentinel Missile Design

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed a series of wind tunnel tests of the LGM-35A Sentinel InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Using scaled models of the vehicle, stressed under environments from sub to hypersonic speeds, the robust test campaign validated digital modeling and simulations and proved design maturity of the missile.

LGM-35A Sentinel
Live-fire results with scaled missiles correlate with digital models, offering further proof of design maturity

«This wind tunnel campaign is an opportunity to put our digitally engineered designs to the test, under conditions that mimic a missile launch», said Sarah Willoughby, vice president and program manager, Sentinel, Northrop Grumman. «Predictions from the modeling correlated with the testing results, giving us confidence in our model-based engineering approach. Data from these tests will inform future engineering decisions as we mature the design and continue on a path to deliver this critical capability to the Air Force».

Wind tunnel testing is a key early step in any missile development program because it determines how a vehicle will perform during flight. A team of engineers created seven comprehensive test campaigns, each with a unique set of requirements, to measure how the missile would respond to various atmospheric, load and speed conditions. Tests simulated everything from firing the missile, to stage separation and various flight maneuvers. The team is now updating models to enable full scale predictive environments for the development of Sentinel flight hardware.

«Tests were conducted at industry and government-run facilities across the U.S. in under a year», said Willoughby. «This is an extremely complex effort proving the value of digital engineering in helping us move to the next phase with certainty».

The U.S. Air Force’s Sentinel weapon system is a critical modernization of the current land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, replacing the Minuteman III ICBM system that has been in service for more than 50 years. The program represents advancements in technology with the use of digital engineering, advanced tooling, and a modular, open-architecture approach.

Air Surveillance Radar

The Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) antenna landed on the future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29), January 16, 2023.

EASR
Future USS Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD-29) Successfully Installs EASR Antenna

This marks the completion of EASR system deliveries for what will be the first LPD-17 Class ship and the first U.S. Navy install and activation of the SPY-6(V)2, rotating variant, S-Band radar.

«The progress made is a testament to the collaboration across multiple organizations in bringing this next-generation radar to the LPD program. The U.S. Navy and our industry partners look forward to systems activation and testing as LPD-29 continues on the path to sea trials later this year», said Captain Cedric J. McNeal, Amphibious Warfare Program Manager, Program Executive Office (PEO Ships).

SPY-6(V)2 provides the U.S. Navy with a common hardware variant for carrier and amphibious ships. In addition to providing hardware and software commonality, the radar will also contribute to increased engagement and overall ship self-defense.

As with all incremental technology enhancements, the U.S. Navy is applying an increased focus to ensure that the system is provided on schedule, integrated into the ship/combat system and activated. Ultimately, EASR will be made ready as an integral sensor in an integrated Ship Self-Defense System to support the ship’s employment.

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.

GM200 radar

On Wednesday, 1 February 2023, French defence minister Sébastien Lecornu and his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov met at the Thales site in Limours, south of Paris, a centre of excellence for air defence in Europe, to sign a contract for the delivery of a complete short-range air defence system, including a Ground Master 200 (GM200) radar, to help protect Ukraine.

GM200 radar
«Thales is proud to be playing a part in the protection of Ukraine, in particular by providing air defence systems», Patrice Caine, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

As a recognised European leader in systems-of-systems integration, Thales draws on its air defence expertise to help nations guarantee their sovereignty and protect their citizens and territorial interests.

Thales’s air defence technologies provide protection from all types of air threats at all levels of the airspace and cover the entire decision-making chain, from detection and identification to neutralisation.

 

Supporting Ukraine’s air defences

The contract signed by the Ukrainian defence ministry, the French defence ministry and Thales covers the delivery of a complete short-range air defence systems, including a GM200 radar, a command-and-control centre, a radio communications system and air target designators.

The visit to Limours by the two defence ministers included a tour of Thales’s military radar design, production and support facilities.

Today, Thales’s Limours site is recognised as Europe’s largest centre of expertise in the field of air defence.

 

A complete threat detection and protection system for Ukraine

To keep populations and the armed forces safe, threats must be detected as early as possible whenever and wherever they arise – at sea, in the air or on land.

To defeat modern threats, which are more discreet, more manoeuvrable and faster than ever, air defence systems must be capable of detecting and tracking any type of target and providing actionable data on objects in motion in the air, on land or on the surface of the sea.

Thales has long-standing expertise in every aspect of air defence, from drone countermeasures to anti-ballistic missile defence: surface radars, airborne radars, command centres, communication systems and equipment, and different types of effectors.

The GM200 and the other surface radars in the Ground Master family offer an effective response to the types of threats faced by Ukraine, which include drones and long-range threats such as cruise missiles, helicopters and combat aircraft.

As a recognised European leader in systems integration, Thales has the capability to integrate air defence systems-of-systems and to manage compatibility with other defences, which is a real advantage for users needing to deploy their assets quickly and efficiently.

Weapon Concept

The joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Air Force Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) completed yet another successful flight test. The Lockheed Martin version of the missile, with its Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet, capped a program that accomplished all of its initial objectives. It was the final flight test for HAWC, which is providing critical data to inform Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) hypersonic technology maturation efforts.

Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC)
Artist’s concept of Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) vehicle

«This month’s flight added an exclamation point to the most successful hypersonic airbreathing flight test program in U.S. history», said Walter Price, an Air Force deputy for the HAWC program. «The things we’ve learned from HAWC will certainly enhance future U.S. Air Force capabilities».

The Lockheed Martin missile again flew at speeds greater than Mach 5/3,836 mph/6,174 km/h, higher than 60,000 feet/18,288 m, and farther than 300 nautical miles/345 miles/555.6 km. This latest flight demonstrated improved capabilities and performance. The nation’s hypersonic portfolio now has two feasible hypersonic airbreathing missile designs (Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) to improve and mature in the future.

«The HAWC program created a generation of new hypersonic engineers and scientists», said Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, the HAWC program manager. «HAWC also brought a wealth of data and progress to the airbreathing hypersonic community. The industry teams attacked the challenge of scramjet-powered vehicles in earnest, and we had the grit and luck to make it work».

Even though the HAWC program has executed the final phase of the program, there is still data to analyze and more opportunities to mature the technology. DARPA plans to continue that maturation in the More Opportunities with HAWC (MOHAWC) program by building and flying more vehicles that build upon HAWC’s advances. Those missiles will expand the operating envelope of the scramjet and provide technology on-ramps for future programs of record.

«We had our share of difficulties», said Knoedler. «Through a pandemic, a strained supply chain, and atmospheric rivers, our industry partners forged ahead, mitigating the risks where they could and accepting others. They delivered on their promises, proving the feasibility of the concept».

POINT BLANK

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has unveiled its POINT BLANK electro-optically guided missile, that can be carried in a soldier’s backpack. The system answers the battlefield requirement to provide tactical units ranging in size from small tactical teams to battalion level, with an independent and organic capability to increase their lethality.

POINT BLANK
A multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense to IAI to develop and deliver the new hybrid electro-optically-guided missile

POINT BLANK allows these units to attack a variety of targets in real time with great precision and high lethality, without the need for support. The missile is hand-launched, operated by a single soldier, and can take off from and land vertically back to, the soldier’s hand.

IAI, as prime contractor, has been competitively awarded a multi-million-dollar contract by the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to rapidly develop and deliver “ROC-X” a version of the POINT BLANK system that meets specific U.S. DoD requirements for the purpose of increasing the organic precision strike lethality and survivability of small tactical teams. IAI will provide the first prototypes and training to DoD for Operational Testing & Evaluation in FY 23.

POINT BLANK weighs about 15 lbs./6.8 kg and is about 3 feet/91 cm long. The missile can fly at altitudes above 1,500 feet/457 m, at a maximum speed of 178 mph/186 kph and can hover or loiter in the air while the target’s nature and exact position is confirmed prior to attack. Thanks to IAI’s advanced manufacturing technologies, the missile can carry electro-optical systems to validate and collect surveillance information in real time, and it is also being developed to be equipped with a warhead to destroy the target.

IAI’s Executive VP Systems, Missiles & Space Group, Mr. Guy Bar Lev said: «POINT BLANK joins Israel Aerospace Industries’ family of missiles, to provide ground-based tactical forces with more precise capabilities to undertake offensive operations especially against short-lived targets. We wish to thank the IWTSD for its support and cooperation in the field of precision munitions, confirming, yet again, the importance of tactical missiles to the modern army. IAI continues to develop and improve a wide range of offensive systems which provide precision operational solutions, and stands firmly to support our U.S. customers».

IAI is both a national and world center of excellence in the fields of offensive missiles, air defense, radars, satellites, remotely controlled platforms, civil aviation, and cyber, supplying end-to-end solutions for use on land, in the air, at sea, and in space.