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Thread: Call me crazy... Air Launched SM-6?

  1. #1
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    Call me crazy... Air Launched SM-6?

    Call me a bit nutzooo..... but it's st. Paddy's day... and I was thinking... and drinking a tad...

    But did any one notice the recent launch of an SM-6 in an anti shipping role. I believe I read that the test was successful and they sank an OHP.

    Couple that with the aresenal plane talk and it got me thinking... what about an air launched version? Estimated ranges are significant (200 miles?).

    Just how big is an SM-6?

    How effective would it be if you loaded up an 'arsenal' plane with a dozen of these?

    Or even mout them externally on an AWACS or the the P-3?

    Long range air defense and an anti shipping/ground attacknowledge element?

    A B-21 stealthy operating close in to an enemy with a couple dozen mach 3 air to air missiles?

    Surprise surprise..... have a bad day....

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    SM-6 is mostly propellant. The warhead is rather small if you want to use it against a large target like a ship, and mostly shrapnel at that. Unless it's a solid shot used strictly against incoming ballistic missile, then there may not be any explosives at all.

    This idea seems...weird.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    SM-6 is mostly propellant. The warhead is rather small if you want to use it against a large target like a ship, and mostly shrapnel at that. Unless it's a solid shot used strictly against incoming ballistic missile, then there may not be any explosives at all.

    This idea seems...weird.

    http://breakingdefense.com/2016/03/a...hip-navy-sm-6/



    'The supersonic SM-6 Standard Missile, designed to shoot down incoming aircraft and cruise missiles, has sunk a target ship in a test. The decommissioned frigate Reuben James went down off Hawaii in the January event, just disclosed today. The test was part of the Navy’s effort to rebuild its firepower to destroy enemy fleets, a concept called Distributed Lethality. Repurposing defensive missiles as offensive ones also reflects a Pentagon push to make old weapons do new tricks for a minimum added cost.

    The USS John Paul Jones test-fires an SM-6 in June from a Vertical Launch System (VLS)
    The USS John Paul Jones fires an SM-6 in an earlier test.

    After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, the US Navy refocused from fighting hostile fleets to striking land targets. Air defense for carrier task forces and ballistic missile defense for friendly nations also became ever-higher priorities. As a result, destroyers and cruisers increasingly filled their missile tubes with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and defensive Standard Missiles — leaving less and less room for anti-ship weapons. What’s more, the anti-ship weapons we do have are almost all variants on the venerable Harpoon, which is outranged by newer Russian weapons and their Chinese copies. So with the return of Russia’s navy and the rise of China’s, the shortfall in fleet-vs.-fleet firepower has become painfully apparent.

    The SM-6 is the latest variant in the Raytheon-built Standard Missile family. The SM-6 derives from the venerable SM-2 anti-aircraft missile but is souped up to take on low-flying cruise missiles. SM-2 always had some capability against surface ships, but this is the first time the more potent SM-6 has proven itself against such a target. The third sister, SM-3, is specifically designed to intercept ballistic missiles above the atmosphere — but the SM-6 has also proven versatile enough to shoot down ballistic missiles in some parts of their flight as well.

    The SM-6 isn’t necessarily the ideal anti-ship or anti-ballistic missile weapon. But the more missions a single missile can perform, the more flexibility commanders have in combat. The Navy is also testing an upgrade to the Tomahawk that allows it to target moving ships as well as static targets ashore; while slower than the SM-6, and therefore easier to shoot down, the anti-ship Tomahawk has longer range, making them complementary. Having anti-ship capability in both weapons means Navy ships could do all three of their main missions — hitting land targets, fighting other ships, and anti-aircraft/missile defense — with just two sets of missiles. That effectively increases firepower by leaving fewer missiles unused because the ship isn’t currently doing the mission they’re made for.

    Another effort to increase flexibility is called Cooperative Engagement Capability, in which one ship fires at a target it can’t see based on radar data from another ship or aircraft. In another January test disclosed today, SM-6s from the John Paul Jones shot down five targets at record-breaking ranges using data provided from the USS Gridley via CEC.

    The Navy’s ultimate goal here is what admirals call “distributed lethality.” Instead of enemies being able to focus on our aircraft carriers, they’ll have to worry about every ship in the fleet, because any ship can hurt them — and if even one US ship spots them, it can call in firepower from the rest of the fleet. Hopefully, that kind of threat will deter adversaries from attacking altogether.
    '

    my primary thought was the air to air aspect of the SM-2 being carried by the Aresnal Plane, B-21, B-2, AWAC's, P-3 etc etc etc and the long range and high speed it provides in that role.

    The anti ship aspect is just an added bonus.
    Last edited by bfng3569; 17 Mar 16, at 19:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    my primary thought was the air to air aspect of the SM-2 being carried by the Aresnal Plane, B-21, B-2, AWAC's, P-3 etc etc etc and the long range and high speed it provides in that role.

    The anti ship aspect is just an added bonus.
    Why not just use AIM-120D?

    SM-6 is twice the length, 3 times the diameter, and 10 times the mass of an AIM-120. Even without the first stage booster rocket, the missile itself is still substantially larger and heavier than any air to air missile in the west.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    The F-105G carried those all the time in Vietnam, except they were used as an anti-radiation missile, and they were called an AGM-78 Standard ARM missile. It is a fairly large missile, but the F-105G is also a fairly large aircraft, and could actually carry two of them on the wing inboard stations; however, it usually only launched with one onboard (with a drop tank on the opposite pylon). I imagine the SM-6 is slightly larger due to it's intended role:


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    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Why not just use AIM-120D?

    SM-6 is twice the length, 3 times the diameter, and 10 times the mass of an AIM-120. Even without the first stage booster rocket, the missile itself is still substantially larger and heavier than any air to air missile in the west.
    is the range their though?

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    is the range their though?
    AIM-120D supposedly has a "greater than" 160km range.

    SM-6 has a near 400km range.

    Is that range needed? Is that range practical? Maybe it should be more of a niche weapon?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
    The F-105G carried those all the time in Vietnam, except they were used as an anti-radiation missile, and they were called an AGM-78 Standard ARM missile. It is a fairly large missile, but the F-105G is also a fairly large aircraft, and could actually carry two of them on the wing inboard stations; however, it usually only launched with one onboard (with a drop tank on the opposite pylon). I imagine the SM-6 is slightly larger due to it's intended role:
    Sure, carrying one (or two) is not a big problem. But what happens if it's not launched? Coming back with a 3000lb bomb under the wing may not be desirable. Unlike an anti-radiation missile, air to air missile is more situational. It's used when a suitable opponent shows up. Anti-radiation missile usually is launched at a known, stationary, existing target.

    The whole idea just seems like a solution in search of a problem.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Sure, carrying one (or two) is not a big problem. But what happens if it's not launched? Coming back with a 3000lb bomb under the wing may not be desirable.
    Yeah, especially in an F-105! That thing had the glide ratio of a brick . . .
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    AIM-120D supposedly has a "greater than" 160km range.

    SM-6 has a near 400km range.

    Is that range needed? Is that range practical? Maybe it should be more of a niche weapon?
    Shoot, if you're going to go that route, just use a Meteor AAM; it has approximately twice the range of the AIM-120, and is roughly the same size.
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    I am just retired Army, not a flier. But it has seemed to me that we should at least consider the Meteor. In just about everything I have read it is a superior missile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    AIM-120D supposedly has a "greater than" 160km range.

    SM-6 has a near 400km range.

    Is that range needed? Is that range practical? Maybe it should be more of a niche weapon?
    Is that range needed? I don't know, but isn't it good to have it?

    Especially in the Pacific?

    It would be like flying around a Patriot Sam system that can plunk surface targets too.

    Would seem to fit the distributed lethality concept... just in a different way.

    Load a couple dozen or more(?) Onto an AWACS or P3 (with the right sensors) and you've got a mobile air platform that can shoot 400 km with an a proven effectiveffective missile.

    Seems like a pretty potent force projector/multiplier. plus factor in the speed of chinese/Soviet anti ship missiles... the new chinese quasi '5 th gen' aircraft, their militarized of the South China sea..... I can't see were longer range wouldnot be desirable.

    I don't see it as a solution in search of a problem. But rather the oppisite.
    Last edited by bfng3569; 17 Mar 16, at 22:40.

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    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    Is that range needed? I don't know, but isn't it good to have it?

    Especially in the Pacific?

    It would be like flying around a Patriot Sam system that can plunk surface targets too.

    Would seem to fit the distributed lethality concept... just in a different way.

    Load a couple dozen or more(?) Onto an AWACS or P3 (with the right sensors) and you've got a mobile air platform that can shoot 400 km with an a proven effectiveffective missile.

    Seems like a pretty potent force projector/multiplier. plus factor in the speed of chinese/Soviet anti ship missiles... the new chinese quasi '5 th gen' aircraft, their militarized of the South China sea..... I can't see were longer range would not be desirable.

    I don't see it as a solution in search of a problem. But rather the opposite.
    Actually, I could see loading up a B-1B (B-1R?) with a bunch of SM-6's; I'm pretty sure the three bombays on the B-1 would accommodate, what, 24 of them (eight per launcher)?

    As long as we're messing around with the "airplane with a big-ass A-to-A missile on it" thing, did you ever see the Iranian F-14's flying around with a frickin' HAWK missile hanging off of it?

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    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

  14. #14
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bfng3569 View Post
    Is that range needed? I don't know, but isn't it good to have it?

    Especially in the Pacific?

    It would be like flying around a Patriot Sam system that can plunk surface targets too.

    Would seem to fit the distributed lethality concept... just in a different way.

    Load a couple dozen or more(?) Onto an AWACS or P3 (with the right sensors) and you've got a mobile air platform that can shoot 400 km with an a proven effectiveffective missile.

    Seems like a pretty potent force projector/multiplier. plus factor in the speed of chinese/Soviet anti ship missiles... the new chinese quasi '5 th gen' aircraft, their militarized of the South China sea..... I can't see were longer range wouldnot be desirable.

    I don't see it as a solution in search of a problem. But rather the oppisite.
    Is it really practical for AWACS or P-3/P-8 to carry these missiles? Each one is 3000lb. How many can an E-3 or P-8 carry? What if they weren't used on a mission? A P-8 landing with 12000lb of bombs under the wings might not be a good idea.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Is it really practical for AWACS or P-3/P-8 to carry these missiles? Each one is 3000lb. How many can an E-3 or P-8 carry? What if they weren't used on a mission? A P-8 landing with 12000lb of bombs under the wings might not be a good idea.

    I don't know? You tell me?

    I didn't do an engineering analysis on size and weight and volume.

    Maybe those aspects would make it not practical.

    And maybe those points would be moot.

    What's the load carry capacity of an awac's or p3 or the b21 or b52 or b1 vs the size and weight of an SM6?

    The practicality of it is beyond me, which seems to be what you atree focusing on.

    Do you think having one of your most potent and longest ranged anti air missile flying around on a mobile platform projecting a 300-400 km engagement range is a bad thing?

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