Future missiles

#1
Team CW set to proceed on UK's Seawolf/Sea Skua replacement programme
Richard Scott

Plans to replace the UK Royal Navy's Seawolf point-defence missile system and Sea Skua helicopter-launched anti-ship missile are being taken forward by MBDA-led Team Complex Weapons (CW) as part of a package of assessment phase contracts announced on 15 July.

Seawolf's planned successor, the Future Local Area Air Defence System (Maritime) - FLAADS(M) - will leverage MBDA's Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) concept.

Meanwhile, Thales' Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) and MBDA's Sea Skua IR (infrared) concept are being developed to meet the respective Light and Heavy elements of the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) requirement.

Team CW - which includes Thales UK, QinetiQ and Roxel as well as MBDA UK - was established in response to the UK government's Defence Industrial Strategy, which defined the need for the UK to retain operational sovereignty in the complex weapons sector.

Working with the Ministry of Defence, Team CW has been awarded two framework contracts worth an aggregate GBP74 million (USD148 million) to fund the startup of six new complex weapon programmes, including FLAADS(M) and FASGW, in its first year.

FLAADS(M) is intended to replace Seawolf aboard Type 23 frigates around the end of the next decade; it will also equip the projected C1/C2 variants of the Future Surface Combatant. The CAMM missile at the heart of the system will offer a range in excess of 20 km and use a combination of mid-course guidance updates and active radar homing.

The FASGW programme is required to deliver a solution to replace the Sea Skua missile from 2015. Current plans call for this capability to be delivered by two systems deployed from the Surface Combatant Maritime Rotorcraft variant of the Future Lynx helicopter: a FASGW (Light) to defeat small surface threats such as fast inshore attack craft or soft-skinned vehicles ashore; and a FASGW (Heavy) to engage larger targets up to corvette size.

LMM is a lightweight, laser-guided weapon drawing on technology previously used in the Starstreak surface-to-air missile. The 100 kg-class Sea Skua IR system would similarly build on the pedigree of the current Sea Skua but would offer extended range and introduce an imaging IR seeker and a two-way datalink.
Ok. I'm by no means an expert being TA but wouldn't it make sense for the Navy to go for Aster 15 to support the Type 45 on the FSC / C1 Type 23/23 succesor. Wouldn't this lead to savings ease of logistics etc
Nuts
 
#2
These are utterly pointless projects… expensive vanity developments of the worst kind.

You are indeed right. ASTER 15 will do this job perfectly and is a world leader in it's class.

The anti surface capabilty can be done perfectly well with HELLFIRE and PENGUIN. Both missiles are in service and world class.
 
#3
The problem being, if we keep the Aster for the T22/23 replacements it will be so out of date by the time the hulls are ready.

They have not even been looked at yet. Expect it to be at least 2020 or later before new hulls might appear in the current climate.

We would then have fallen into the same old process of new ships with old equipment as we have in the past.

Trying to balance the two is the trick
 
#4
Nope, ASTER is cutting edge stuff and can be updated. In 2020 it will still be an outstandingly capable SAM and there is no intention of replacing it in the T45's.

Same with HELLFIRE and PENGUIN, both class leading missiles with a sound history of capability developments.


THis new 'el cheapo' SAM that MDBA want's to develop is little to do with what we actually need, and lots to do with selling into an export market.
 
#5
With O-S on this. The US have kept the basic SM1/2 missile viable for decades, spending most of the money on either the CS or the bit that goes bang.

AIUI CAMM is some sort of amalgam of all the "best" features of MBDA current SAM portfolio, nailed together to avoid the £1m a pop ASTER.
 

jrwlynch

Lantern Swinger
#7
Oil_Slick said:
These are utterly pointless projects… expensive vanity developments of the worst kind.

You are indeed right. ASTER 15 will do this job perfectly and is a world leader in it's class.
ASTER30 is excellent, but ASTER15 is *very* expensive for a point-defence fit. We can barely afford enough ASTER for even six T45s, let alone a decent-size fleet of FSCs (and the expensive bit is the dart, not the booster). Also, ASTER needs the whole PAAMS suite, which also rules out a decent-sized fleet of FSCs on cost grounds.


The drive on CAMM is twofold. Firstly, Sea Wolf, Rapier and ASRAAM all go out of life at the same time, and there's a chance for some useful saving by developing one system and adapting it to three jobs (and then seeing what else it can achieve). Secondly, CAMM as a system is designed to be *cheap* which means we have more hope of a useful number of ships with a decent loadout each. It's basically a case of run with CAMM - where we can have significant influence on the system design - or buy off-the-shelf and hope it does what we want, which still remains an option if CAMM doesn't deliver.


There are definite advantages to commissioning a system rather than buying MOTS, though: when you funded development you can talk to the design authorities, get some scenarios run in their simulators, and generally get a useful working relationship. Buy an overseas system, and you get a black box which you're not allowed to open, and much less interest and support.
 
#8
nuts_mcauliff said:
...assessment phase contracts....... two framework contracts worth an aggregate GBP74 million (USD148 million) to fund the startup....
Ok. I'm by no means an expert being TA but wouldn't it make sense for the Navy to go for Aster 15 to support the Type 45 on the FSC / C1 Type 23/23 succesor. Wouldn't this lead to savings ease of logistics etc
Nuts
In terms of the MOD acquisition lifecycle this is quite early, and quite low cost. That said, I'm surprised that there isn't another candidate bidder in the package as well. During the assessment phase it makes sense to have some competition; noting that actually there isn't much potential competition in the UK at the moment, in this market.

Part of the assessment phase is the requirement to demonstrate that this is a viable direction to go, so they'll need to present a number of options. I don't recall where the gateway reviews fit, but the business case needs to demonstrate, pretty robustly, that this route is more cost effective than others, potentially including the Aster solution for the afloat short range segment of the requirement.

I can see some value in the assessment phase, and there is potential value in a modularised solution package, but I also recognise the risk that it might end up just not being ideal for any of the roles it's supposed to fulfill.
 
#9
jrwlynch said:
Oil_Slick said:
These are utterly pointless projects… expensive vanity developments of the worst kind.

You are indeed right. ASTER 15 will do this job perfectly and is a world leader in it's class.
ASTER30 is excellent, but ASTER15 is *very* expensive for a point-defence fit. We can barely afford enough ASTER for even six T45s, let alone a decent-size fleet of FSCs (and the expensive bit is the dart, not the booster). Also, ASTER needs the whole PAAMS suite, which also rules out a decent-sized fleet of FSCs on cost grounds.

.


Then Quad Pack ESSM is a better option.
 

jrwlynch

Lantern Swinger
#10
Oil_Slick said:
jrwlynch said:
ASTER30 is excellent, but ASTER15 is *very* expensive for a point-defence fit. .
Then Quad Pack ESSM is a better option.
Except it's a semi-active system, so you're back to Sea Wolf with limited channels of fire. ESSM is a good system, but it's been around for a while - it may be a little long in the tooth by 2015 or so.

Now, come decision point, CAMM has to show itself as adequate compared to systems like ship-launched Mica, ESSM, a mooted active ESSM variant, and so on. But CAMM is (if development goes anywhere near plan) compact, affordable, and can handle raids that would saturate ESSM.


The other issue is the usual one - if we buy ESSM, can we get the covers off to find out how it works in interesting circumstances? Or do we get sold a sealed black box on a basis of "it works, trust us"?
 
#11
jrwlynch said:
Oil_Slick said:
jrwlynch said:
ASTER30 is excellent, but ASTER15 is *very* expensive for a point-defence fit. .
Then Quad Pack ESSM is a better option.
Except it's a semi-active system, so you're back to Sea Wolf with limited channels of fire. ESSM is a good system, but it's been around for a while - it may be a little long in the tooth by 2015 or so.

Now, come decision point, CAMM has to show itself as adequate compared to systems like ship-launched Mica, ESSM, a mooted active ESSM variant, and so on. But CAMM is (if development goes anywhere near plan) compact, affordable, and can handle raids that would saturate ESSM.


The other issue is the usual one - if we buy ESSM, can we get the covers off to find out how it works in interesting circumstances? Or do we get sold a sealed black box on a basis of "it works, trust us"?

Then buy VL MICA…
 

jrwlynch

Lantern Swinger
#12
Oil_Slick said:
Then buy VL MICA…
Which may, or may not, work; come in on cost and time; meet our requirements; and give us access to some important design parameters.

CAMM may or may not work as advertised, but there's no particular magic attached to the other contenders that make them guaranteed to meet the RN's needs either. Taking it through the assessment phase keeps options open: otherwise, we lose UK-based design capability which becomes a problem if we want to modify any of the foreign contenders.
 
#13
correct me if wrong but is not Thales a French electronics firm?same one that is putting all the electronics in our new carriers.
Can't we build a bloody missile or develop software without depending on the French?
I remember at Whale Island there was a whole room full of discarded missiles developed and discarded at great cost.
I would have preferred to buy the Yank ones than from the French,we don't need their help we can do it ourselves if we try.
Having said that one of my sons was there when they tested a new missile from a Harrier on a Scottish Loch,everyone was in smiles till it homed in on a Post Office van driving around the shore!
Failsafe came in very quickly and the MOD went to lunch.
 
#14
seafarer1939 said:
correct me if wrong but is not Thales a French electronics firm?
Thales UK, it's part of the Thales group, which is French, but it's constituted as a legal entity in the UK. I'm not sure of the ownership model.
 

chieftiff

War Hero
Moderator
#15
Karma said:
seafarer1939 said:
correct me if wrong but is not Thales a French electronics firm?
Thales UK, it's part of the Thales group, which is French, but it's constituted as a legal entity in the UK. I'm not sure of the ownership model.
I get the impression Thales is France's version of BAe, they have fingers in every pie, I've a friend working for Thales Training & Simulation - part of the Thales Group that includes rail, management consultancy, electronics, weapons, aviation, land etc etc, you can almost map it to BAe's model.
 
#16
seafarer1939 said:
Can't we build a bloody missile or develop software without depending on the French?
.

Unlike us, the French have a long track record of designing and making extremely good missiles that work as advertised on the box…
 
#17
seafarer1939 wrote:
Can't we build a bloody missile or develop software without depending on the French
Relax,

The LMM is a Thales Air Defence Ltd (formely Shorts Missile Systems) product which will be designed and built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, by UK engineers. Like BAE Systems, Thales is an international conglomerate of various companies. Just because the company is called Thales shouldn't unfairly start ringing alarm bells, as was the case during the design phase with the two new carriers.
 
#18
more from janes

Common aim: CAMM missile seeks cost reduction without compromise
Richard Scott

MBDA UK, working as leader of the UK's sector-wide industrial construct Team Complex Weapons (Team CW), is embarking on a second phase of technology demonstration activities intended to mature and de-risk critical subsystems proposed for a new and radically different anti-air guided weapon: the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM).

CAMM is intended to enter service in the latter half of the next decade, meeting multiple user requirements across land, sea and air environments.

Hardware development, integration and demonstration efforts already undertaken have given confidence that novel engineering approaches and a series of 'breakthrough' technologies can realise a future air target engagement weapon offering high-end capability while concurrently delivering significantly reduced unit production costs and lower through-life overheads. Additionally, there is a growing belief within MBDA that the CAMM missile round itself could be fully interchangeable and interoperable across the land and maritime domains.

CAMM is also highly relevant to the future sustainment of the UK's complex weapons sector, and very firmly aligned to the principles outlined in the complex weapons chapter of the Defence Industrial Strategy. The advent of Team CW - comprising MBDA UK, QinetiQ, Roxel and Thales UK - marks a shift in weapons procurement from a 20-year policy of competition towards one based on securing the most effective mix of military capability, value for money and operational sovereignty. Accordingly, CAMM was identified by name as the basis for the projected Future Local Area Air Defence System (Maritime) - FLAADS(M) - requirement when Team CW signed its landmark teaming agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in July 2008.

"The CAMM programme offers a good fit within the wider complex weapons package because it intrinsically addresses many of the ideals we have set out to achieve in the UK's complex weapons sector," explains Dr Phil Miller, business development manager, air defence and naval, for MBDA UK. "These include rationalising the inventory through cross-service missile commonality, a reduction in total weapon stocks, a more aggressive re-use of technology and the maintenance of top-end skills."

Dr Miller continues: "Another objective is to better exploit technologies pulled through from research funded by the UK MoD. We also see an excellent alignment between the MoD's requirement and future export opportunities."

Common vision
The CAMM vision emerged from studies undertaken by MBDA five years ago to examine future ground-based air-defence (GBAD) requirements for the replacement of the UK's current Rapier and Starstreak short-range air-defence (SHORAD) systems. "It was realised that this would entail reasonably substantial costs but only deliver benefits in one area," says Dr Miller. "So we began to look across domains to assess whether other air-to-air and naval point-defence requirements could be 'collectivised' in a largely common missile."

Out of this came CAMM, a concept for a tri-service air-defence missile and associated weapon system that could replace the ground-based Rapier SHORAD system and the Royal Navy's Seawolf point-defence missile system, and additionally provide technology insertion opportunities for an evolution of the Royal Air Force's Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM).

The naval and land-based threat sets, while not identical, have significant overlap. In the naval domain there is a requirement to defeat increasingly stealthy, low-flying anti-ship missiles approaching at both subsonic and supersonic speeds. There is also a need to counter high-performance combat aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small surface craft.

On land the threat is characterised by attack helicopters, UAVs, standoff weapons and manned strike and close-support aircraft. A capability to interdict land-based targets of opportunity has also been studied, although it is acknowledged that this should come at no cost to the core air-defence capability.

The solution, as it exists today, is an all-weather, local-area defence missile system that embodies selected new technologies and techniques in the missile round and its launch sequence, while maximising use of, and integration with, legacy components as appropriate. What is more, the missile itself would be common for both shipborne and land-based applications.

"As well as addressing the UK's capability requirements for future land-based and naval anti-air weapons, the MoD was attracted by a common approach that could offer significant benefits in terms of cost of ownership," says Dr Miller.

The MoD committed approximately GBP10 million (USD20 million), through the Joint Sensor and Engagement Networks Integrated Project Team, to seed the CAMM programme under a three-year technology demonstration programme (TDP01) that began in late 2004. MBDA UK has in turn contributed about GBP4 million to this first phase.

The need to drive out cost has underpinned the CAMM engineering approach and system architecture. "We needed to understand the legacy cost drivers in terms of procurement, use and support," says Dr Miller, "and then look hard at how we attack these big cost areas."

These costs are not just associated with the production of the missile in isolation. "We took cognisance of the wider weapon system architecture," explains Dr Miller. "On board a frigate, for instance, that includes the integration of the weapon system with existing radars and combat management system infrastructures. So we identified early on the need for CAMM to be able to integrate with these legacy combat system components.

"Another driver was to avoid having to have regular inspections of the missile. Our aim is to have an all-up-round that has a shelf life of 10 years or more inside its storage and firing canister," says Dr Miller.

The tail-guided missile round itself, a little over 3 m in length and 166 mm in diameter, shows a clear lineage from ASRAAM and incorporates a number of subsystems pulled through with relatively minor changes from that weapon. These include the low-signature solid rocket motor (Roxel); the laser impact/proximity fuze (Thales); and the blast fragmentation warhead (MBDA TDW).

Key technologies
TDP01 has seen focused investment in critical technology areas: notably a low-cost active radar seeker, a dual-band two-way datalink and an open-architecture internal communications bus. In addition, a programme of hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) integration has been conducted at the CAMM integration facility set up at MBDA's Stevenage site. Dr Miller says these critical 'breakthrough' technologies have now been matured to Technology Readiness Level 5-6.

He identifies the new active radar seeker as key to achieving both the cost and performance targets demanded of CAMM. "Present-generation active radar seekers are very complex electromechanical devices. The CAMM seeker reduces the level of electromechanical complexity - the moving part on the gimbal is very simple.

"Instead, the high-end performance required is achieved through complex algorithms and waveforms. It is essentially a software-driven seeker that has the additional advantage that new software-based functionality can be easily introduced through life."

MBDA's seeker group has in fact been working on this technology for more than a decade and believes it represents a significant leap forward in seeker architecture with applications extending far beyond CAMM. The same is true of the datalink, characterised as a low-cost, dual-band low-probability-of-intercept system, which will provide for two-way communications between the missile and the firing control unit (uplinked messages being sent via a dedicated transmitter group).

The other 'breakthrough' technology refined and matured through TDP01 is an open system architecture that enables the various electronic subsystems within the missile to interface and communicate via a standard bus. Known as PrOTeUS (Programmable Open Technology for Upgradable Systems), this is another generic technology that has been the subject of joint MoD and MBDA research for some time, but its maturation has dovetailed neatly with the CAMM programme.

"PrOTeUS essentially gives the missile designer far more freedom than before by using a standard commercial bus to exchange message traffic between the electronics units," Dr Miller says. "It means we can build up the prototype missile in the lab using available COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] technology, and then use exactly the same technology in the real missile rather than have to totally redesign the architecture as before.

"Currently we have baselined on IEEE 1394 Firewire technology," he adds, "but the approach is inherently adaptable to enable change as bus technology evolves."

Another innovative concept embodied in CAMM is that of 'soft vertical launch' (SVL), whereby the missile is ejected 'cold' from its launch canister prior to main motor ignition. The base of the launch canister, containing a gas charge and piston, is effectively a low-pressure gun barrel that ejects the missile upwards to an altitude of 80-100 ft. As it ascends, the missile orientates itself by means of firing small tail-mounted thrusters mounted just aft of the fin surfaces, to steer the round through its turnover manoeuvre before the main motor is fired to begin powered flight.

SVL is seen to offer a multiplicity of benefits: safety is improved because there is no efflux to manage; there is no risk of a hang-fire; the shipboard footprint is much reduced; and there is a significant performance benefit from having all of the rocket motor's energy expended efficiently in the direction of intended travel.

A series of hardware demonstration trials, performed by MBDA in 2002 under an earlier TDP jointly funded with the MoD, have proved the underpinning technology. These culminated in a proof-of-principle test conducted using ASRAAM-based missile hardware (using a cut-down motor to meet range safety limitations) and a representative box canister.

"CAMM canisters could be quad-packed to fit in an existing Sylver or Mk 41 vertical-launch cell," says Dr Miller. "Alternatively we can offer the option of fitting the SVL launch canister in small standalone clusters or patterns that best suit the deck area and topside characteristics of the host ship.

"As for land-based applications, we have already conceptualised a mobile configuration based on a 4-tonne flatbed truck. This would have 12 rounds [in two sets of six] stowed flat for transport and then erected for launch."

One area where the CAMM weapon system seeks to maximise the re-use of existing technology is in its command-and-control segment. "As far as possible we will re-use threat evaluation and engagement control functionality previously developed by MBDA for the UK variant of the Principal Anti-Air Missile System [PAAMS]," says Dr Miller, "modifying or 're-tuning' the PAAMS algorithms as necessary to match the CAMM missile performance envelope."

TDP02 plan
TDP01 achievements included seeker radio-frequency (RF) chamber and outdoor trials, outdoor testing of the datalink and laboratory proving of the PrOTeUS open architecture. These hardware demonstration and proving activities culminated in a programme of HWIL testing at the CAMM integration facility. Here, critical subsystems - the inertial measurement unit, electronics processing unit, control fin actuator, seeker and datalink communications - were progressively integrated on the bench and 'flown' in both naval and ground-based air defence 'environments' within a high-fidelity synthetic environment.

The MoD is now committing almost GBP15 million to a second phase of technology demonstrations (TDP02), intended to further mature and validate critical CAMM technologies. This programme, extending through to early 2011, will include captive airborne seeker trials (due to commence aboard an Andover testbed aircraft at the end of 2008), the manufacture of flightworthy subsystems, a mid-course guidance firing and further soft-launch trials.

"We have reached a very high state of maturity in the pre-demonstration and manufacture phase, performed successful early HWIL trials and pulled through customer-funded research efforts," points out Dr Miller, adding: "Many of the technologies embodied are ones that the MoD had picked out some years ago, showing the relevance of this long-term research. What we are now doing is leaving the research phase and transitioning into what I would call system definition as a precursor to full-scale engineering development.

He adds: "The CAMM vision for a single common missile for both the naval and land customer remains intact. Indeed, our evidence suggests that a single missile/single warstock is entirely feasible."
 

FlagWagger

GCM
Book Reviewer
#20
NigeMan said:
The LMM is a Thales Air Defence Ltd (formely Shorts Missile Systems) product which will be designed and built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, by UK engineers. Like BAE Systems, Thales is an international conglomerate of various companies.
As a UK engineer (now located outside the UK) I fear for the UK's long-term capability at engineering large-scale systems; yes Thales UK is UK based, however the parent company is not. Should the parent company "catch a cold" in their own country then the UK subsidiaries can suffer - just look at what happened to Alsthom in Birmingham (the bloody French again), the Alsthom turbine generator business in Leicester (would that be the French?), not to mention the rail industry in Derby (ok, that was the Canadians, but the French speaking part!). The UK has sold out its engineering industry (not to mention the utilities like gas and electric) to the highest bidder in favour of short-term profit and customer is now paying the price :( There's probably an element of survival in Thales' proposed missile - without new products, the Thales UK arm looks vulnerable and you can guarantee that the UK subsidiaries wil be cut before any French ones! If you want an clear example of the iniquity just look at the reports that UK customers of a French electric company are paying more for their power than French customers of the same company.



Just because the company is called Thales shouldn't unfairly start ringing alarm bells, as was the case during the design phase with the two new carriers.[/quote]
 

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