Drone

 




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PL-XX.
The J-16 carries two VLRAAM for a test firing. 
In Nov 2016, a J-16 strike fighter test-fired a gigantic hypersonic missile, successfully destroying the target drone at a very long range.

Looking at takeoff photos, we estimate the missile is about 28 percent of the length of the J-16, which measures 22 meters (about 72 feet). The puts the missile at about 19 feet, and roughly 13 inches in diameter. The missile appears to have four tailfins. Reports are that the size would put into the category of a very long range air to air missile (VLRAAM) with ranges exceeding 300 km (roughly 186 miles), likely max out between 250 and 310 miles. (As a point of comparison, the smaller 13.8-foot, 15-inch-diameter Russian R-37 missile has a 249-mile range).
This is a big deal: this missile would easily outrange any American (or other NATO) air-to-air missile. Additionally, the VLRAAM's powerful rocket engine will push it to Mach 6 speeds, which will increase the no escape zone (NEZ), that is the area where a target cannot outrun the missile, against even supersonic targets like stealth fighters.

China J-16 fighter missile long range
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VLRAAM
The VLRAAM is one of the world's largest air to air missiles. Its other advanced features include an AESA radar, a infrared/electro-optical seeker (under the yellow-orange cover on the forward section above the nosecone), and satellite navigation midcourse correction. Popular Science  

The new, larger missile's added value is not just in range. Another key feature: its large active electronically scanned (AESA) radar, which is used in the terminal phase of flight to lock onto the target. The AESA radar's large size—about 300-400% larger than that of most long range air-to-air missiles—and digital adaptability makes it highly effective against distant and stealthy targets, and resilient against electronic countermeasures like jamming and spoofing.
The VLRAAM's backup sensor is a infrared/electro-optical seeker that can identify and hone in on high-value targets like aerial tankers and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) radar aircraft. The VLRAAM also uses lateral thrusters built into the rear for improving its terminal phase maneuverability when engaging agile targets like fighters.

China long range air to air missile
J8 at cjdby.net via Hongjian
Glide
This 2015 study in a Chinese scientific journal discusses the flight path and performance of a VLRAAM, which flies 15 km upward of its launching fighter to a 30 km altitude, and is guided by a combination of long range radars (like Chinese AEWC planes) and satellite navigation, before divebombing at hypersonic speeds onto enemy aircraft, including stealth fighters, stealth bombers and AEWC aircraft.

Interestingly, the ability to glide may be a key feature as well. A 2016 research paper by Zhang Hongyuan, Zheng Yuejing, and Shi Xiaorong of Beijing Institute of Control and Electronics Technology linked to the VLRAAM development suggests that the midcourse portion of the VLRAAM's flight will occur at altitudes above 30 km (about 18.6 miles). Flying at such low pressure, low drag high altitudes would allow the VLRAAM to extend its range (similar to hypersonic gliders). The high altitude also makes it difficult for enemy aircraft and air defenses to shoot it down midflight. Finally, high altitude flight means that the VLRAAM would have a high angle of attack against lower flying targets, which reduces the response time for enemy evasive action.


A U.S. F-35 fires an AIM-120. U.S. Navy photo

In any event, the weapon is much more substantial than is the U.S. military’s own longest-range air-to-air missile, the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. The AMRAAM is just 12 feet long and seven inches in diameter. The latest version of the American missile, the AIM-120D, reportedly boasts a maximum range in excess of 90 miles.

VLRAAM Reportedly relies on a powerful rocket motor than can propel the munition at “hypersonic” speeds of up to Mach 6 — half-again faster than the AIM-120D’s own top speed.    
The AIM-120D makes do with an older-style, and less effective, mechanically-steered radar.
While making huge strides when it comes to targeting, the U.S. military is falling behind in the advancement of air-launched munitions. 
The Pentagon has not yet begun developing a new long-range air-to-air missile to eventually replace the AIM-120D.

Of course, a very-long-range missile is useless in the absence of good targeting. Unless you’re willing to destroy every airplane within reach — whether they’re enemy warplanes, civilian passenger jets or even friendly forces — you need to identify opposing planes before attacking them.
The identification problem prevented the U.S. Navy from successfully deploying its own AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile in combat. The Navy retired the munition in 2004 in favor of cheaper and more practical AMRAAMs.

The Chinese military is apparently working on a solution to the identification problem, and has proposed building a targeting network around the high-flying Divine Eagle sensor drone. A Divine Eagle could pass targeting data to a VLRAAM-armed fighter — and potentially even to the missile itself, provided any operational version of the munition incorporates a datalink.
China UAV Drone Divine Eagle
Hongjian and henri K
Divine Eagle at War
The Divine Eagle is shown here in both offensive operations (providing targeting for smart bombs to strike enemy SAM, communications, bunkers and ballistic ICBMs) as well as defensive operations (detecting American stealth aircraft before they enter China airspace). This HALE drone, with radars optimized to detect stealth aircraft, would be part of a wider Chinese air defense network that would guide VLRAAMs against enemy stealth aircraft.

Another researched VLRAAM function is datalinking; the papers called for the VLRAAM to be embedded within a highly integrated combat networks. It is envisioned as just part of a larger wave of networked solutions aggregated through multiple Chinese systems. For example, a J-20 stealth fighter wouldn't mount the missile (the VLRAAM is too large to fit in the J-20's weapons bay), but could use its low observable features to fly relatively close in order to detect enemy assets like AEW&C aircraft (which are vital to gather battlespace data for manned and unmanned assets, but subsonic in speed and less able to evade missiles). Then before breaking off contact, the J-20 would signal a J-16 400 km (249 miles) away (outside the range of most air to air missiles) providing it the data needed to launch the VLRAAM at the target. This would offer China a longer range version of present U.S. tactics that involve using the fifth generation F-22 as a sensor for 4th generation fighters as the "shooters."

China long range air to air missile
Chinese Internet via WeChat
The Future is Here
In operation, the VLRAAM will provide J-20 stealth fighters with long range "aerial artillery" to even the odds against numerically superior air forces, while giving new life to J-11 and J-16 fighters. It can also give J-15 carrier fighters a long range interception capability. Popular Science             



THE US AIRFORCE WANTS HYPERSONICS MISSILES IN JUST FOUR YEARS 

Experimental unmanned aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force have already gone hypersonic during tests off the Southern California coast, flying at more than five times the speed of sound.
X-51A WaveRider. dailymail.   
Experimental unmanned aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force have already gone hypersonic during tests off the Southern California coast, flying at more than five times the speed of sound.

Experimental unmanned aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force have already gone hypersonic during tests off the Southern California coast, flying at more than five times the speed of sound.
The Air Force said last year that the X-51A WaveRider flew for more than three minutes under power from its exotic scramjet engine and hit a speed of Mach 5.1.
The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of a program to create a missile that will destroy targets anywhere on Earth within hours - travelling at speeds in excess of 3,500 miles-an-hour or Mach 5.
It is being created alongside other demonstration projects being developed by DARPA, including the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept and the Tactical Boost Glide, both of which have test flights scheduled for 2018 or 2019.
The same technology could also revolutionise air travel - although military bosses have their own goal.
'We are the Air Force. What do we want to do with this technology? We want to weaponize it,' Ryan Helbach, an official with the Air Force Research Laboratory, said.
'The follow-on program to this is the High Speed Strike Weapon effort. It's taking a lot of the lessons learned and the technology and moving to a weapons acquisition.'



RS-28 Sarmat missile
The test flight comes just weeks after Vladimir Putin has launched a supersonic missile that could reach the UK in 13 minutes, according to Russian missile experts.
The Object 4202 rocket was fired thousands of miles from the Yasny Launch Base in Russia to the far-east peninsula of Kamchatka with Kremlin officials calling the test a 'success'.  
It is all but invisible to US anti-missile systems and moves at such high speeds it is virtually impossible to intercept.
Boasting about their new weapon, Russia's Tactical Missiles Corporation claimed it would make the Hiroshima nuclear bombs look like 'popguns'.
 
Russia unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France last month. A contract for the weapons was signed in 2011, and they are expected to be ready in 2018
Russia unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France last month. A contract for the weapons was signed in 2011, and they are expected to be ready in 2018

It could reach the west coast of the United States in 12 minutes.  
The super weapon is being designed to sit atop Russia's largest ever nuclear missile, dubbed 'Satan 2' by NATO.  
The RS-28 Sarmat missile - which was unveiled last month - has a top speed of 4.3 miles (7km) per second and has been designed to outfox anti-missile shield systems.
The new Sarmat missile could deliver warheads of 40 megatons - 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The Russian President is reportedly planning to replace the country's older SS-18 Satan weapons with the new missiles amid a string of recent disagreements with the West

Each missile contains 16 nuclear warheads, according to pictures revealed online from the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. It is also able to evade radar.

If a Sarmat missile were fired at London it would wipe out most of Britain, as well as northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands
If a Sarmat missile were fired at London it would wipe out most of Britain, as well as northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. dailymail
The new Sarmat missile could deliver warheads of 40 megatons - 2,000 times as powerful as the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Satan 2 super-nuke that is capable of wiping out England and Wales and 2,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. 
It is expected to have a range of 6,213 miles (10,000 km), which would allow Moscow to attack London and other European cities as well as reaching cities on America's west and east coasts.
Igor Sutyagin, an expert in Russian nuclear capability at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told MailOnline: 'The SS-18 is more than 30 years old. It is past its sell-by date. 
'So even if you had the warmest relations in the world with Nato you would want to update your missiles. 
'But (President) Putin of course is happy for it to be portrayed as an aggressive move. He wants to stress his unpredictability and his importance.'

Dr Sutyagin points out that the SS-18 missiles which the Russians currently rely on were designed in 1988 during the Soviet Union and were built at a factory in Dnipropetrovsk, in what is now the Ukraine.
He said the Russians cannot totally rely on the Ukraine-based maintenance engineers and he said Sarmat were designed and built by Russians at the Khrunichev plant just outside Moscow.
Dr Sutyagin said they would be no match for Nato systems like Aegis Ashore, the controversial missile defence shield which the US is deploying to Romania.
He said: 'Not only are they too fast but they have got rid of the predictable flight path. 
'It manouevres all the way so it is terribly difficult for any missile defence system to shoot it down.'
The Russian Defence Ministry plans to put the Sarmat into service in late 2018 and remove the last SS-18 by 2020. 


Tensions between Russian and the West are at breaking point with Theresa May attacking Putin for 'undermining the West's efforts' to tackle the Syria crisis.
Russia has welcomed the election of controversial Donald Trump as president and Putin and 'The Donald' are set for talks on crucial issues such as ISIS, the Ukraine issue and the global terror threat.
Trump has spoken of his admiration for Putin and there is concern in Europe the US could pull back from sanctions against the Kremlin aimed at preventing further military action on the country's borders after the seizure of Crimea.  dailymail.co.uk


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