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F-16 uses APKWS to shoot down simulated cruise missile at Eglin

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posted on Dec, 27 2019 @ 09:28 PM
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The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron shot down a subscale drone using an AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket Dec. 19, providing a proof of concept for using rockets queued from an F-16 Fighting Falcon targeting pod as viable munitions to perform cruise missile defense.

“The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD,” said Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing commander. “This is a prime example of how the 53rd Wing is using resources readily available to establish innovative ways that enhance combat capabilities for our combat units.”

Originally, the AGR-20A was developed as a low cost, low collateral damage air-to-ground weapon for use in Afghanistan and Iraq; adapting the system for counter-air use is momentous. The AGR-20A is a fraction of the cost of the AIM-120 missile, commonly used for cruise missile defense. Additionally, the AGR-20A can be loaded faster than an AIM-120 and an aircraft can carry two-to-three times the number weapons.


AF.MIL



So that's an interesting development. No word on the engagement setup, but very interesting any way you slice it.




posted on Dec, 27 2019 @ 09:51 PM
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posted on Dec, 27 2019 @ 10:18 PM
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Classic story. We've come a long way. Surprised the Navy isn't leading this effort, to be honest. I imagine you'd have to close pretty near-in to successfully engage, on second thought, and I don't think the Navy is terribly interested in that as opposed to handing it off to ship/shore batteries.



posted on Dec, 27 2019 @ 11:48 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

With the advent of lasers, our insanely accurate radar and other sensors, and advanced computational abilities I could see this actually being a thing close in. I don't even see why it has to score a direct hit, if it's properly fused.

Good on them for working this out...well played 85th!
edit on 27-12-2019 by RickyD because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2019 @ 11:54 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Isn't the new solid state laser produced by NG intended to be able to zap them out of the sky relatively fast? Just has to fry the electronics and down it goes?



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 02:47 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert
Why should they? Nothing wrong with Sidewinders.

This is a useless niche capability.
The subsonic cruise missile threat can already be handled by half a dozen existing defensive systems, most of which are far more capable than this gimmick.
Using a low-cost rocket to shoot down cruise missiles sounds good on paper until you factor in everything that's required to get a fighter jet within 5km of the threat in the first place.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 02:51 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Is the APKWS a development of the old 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rocket ?

Cheers



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 03:35 AM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert


The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron shot down a subscale drone using an AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket Dec. 19, providing a proof of concept for using rockets queued from an F-16 Fighting Falcon targeting pod as viable munitions to perform cruise missile defense.

“The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD,” said Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing commander. “This is a prime example of how the 53rd Wing is using resources readily available to establish innovative ways that enhance combat capabilities for our combat units.”

Originally, the AGR-20A was developed as a low cost, low collateral damage air-to-ground weapon for use in Afghanistan and Iraq; adapting the system for counter-air use is momentous. The AGR-20A is a fraction of the cost of the AIM-120 missile, commonly used for cruise missile defense. Additionally, the AGR-20A can be loaded faster than an AIM-120 and an aircraft can carry two-to-three times the number weapons.


AF.MIL



So that's an interesting development. No word on the engagement setup, but very interesting any way you slice it.


I like that they are pursuing this angle, but in reality this system is only really any good against weapons systems that are two or three generations old. The new systems are too fast and can fly evasive patterns. The latest Russian missile can also fly so low that you would need to already have interceptors in the air to target them. And what russia has today china and iran will have tomorrow.

The best defense remains good foreign relations. You don't need to shoot down the missile that is never launched.

Failing that, you keep a nuke in your back pocket and let everybody know that if you die, everybody dies.


Peace or mutually assured destruction has kept us safe for seventy years.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 11:15 AM
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originally posted by: AaarghZombies

originally posted by: RadioRobert


The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron shot down a subscale drone using an AGR-20A Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket Dec. 19, providing a proof of concept for using rockets queued from an F-16 Fighting Falcon targeting pod as viable munitions to perform cruise missile defense.

“The test was unprecedented and will shape the future of how the Air Force executes CMD,” said Col. Ryan Messer, 53rd Wing commander. “This is a prime example of how the 53rd Wing is using resources readily available to establish innovative ways that enhance combat capabilities for our combat units.”

Originally, the AGR-20A was developed as a low cost, low collateral damage air-to-ground weapon for use in Afghanistan and Iraq; adapting the system for counter-air use is momentous. The AGR-20A is a fraction of the cost of the AIM-120 missile, commonly used for cruise missile defense. Additionally, the AGR-20A can be loaded faster than an AIM-120 and an aircraft can carry two-to-three times the number weapons.


AF.MIL



So that's an interesting development. No word on the engagement setup, but very interesting any way you slice it.


I like that they are pursuing this angle, but in reality this system is only really any good against weapons systems that are two or three generations old. The new systems are too fast and can fly evasive patterns. The latest Russian missile can also fly so low that you would need to already have interceptors in the air to target them. And what russia has today china and iran will have tomorrow.

The best defense remains good foreign relations. You don't need to shoot down the missile that is never launched.

Failing that, you keep a nuke in your back pocket and let everybody know that if you die, everybody dies.


Peace or mutually assured destruction has kept us safe for seventy years.


Fair enough, but aren't there lots more potential adversaries that will have older missile systems versus the state of the art stuff? The odds of us getting into a real conflict with Russia and/or China are pretty low, specifically because of MAD. In that case, isn't it prudent to keep developing means to combat the older systems, which are a lot more plentiful and which will be fielded by adversaries we're much more likely to actually get into conflict with?
edit on 28 12 19 by face23785 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

This is actually an awesome capability that fills a lot of issues right now.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 12:59 PM
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a reply to: glib2

Please tell me why.

The threat isn't there these days. The capability generates a ridiculous logistical footprint. Existing systems are more capable and versatile. Economics isn't relevant in a near-peer conflict. It's a bad implementation of a bad idea. It exists to create another narrative for the fighter mafia.

I could go on.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 01:11 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

The use I've heard for these is as a replacement for heavier air to ground missiles. A lot of targets in southwest Asia got hammered with heavy ordnance like Hellfire missiles and there was too much collateral damage. The smaller warhead on the 70mm rockets will get the job done without firing something that can total a tank.

Cheers



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 01:28 PM
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a reply to: F2d5thCavv2

That's their original purpose. This is adding a purpose to them. It makes sense for a non near peer conflict. Something like Iran. They're around anyway, so it's not like it's costing a lot of money to develop a new system.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 06:51 PM
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originally posted by: mightmight
a reply to: RadioRobert
Why should they? Nothing wrong with Sidewinders.

This is a useless niche capability.
The subsonic cruise missile threat can already be handled by half a dozen existing defensive systems, most of which are far more capable than this gimmick.
Using a low-cost rocket to shoot down cruise missiles sounds good on paper until you factor in everything that's required to get a fighter jet within 5km of the threat in the first place.



This isn't going to eliminate or replace AAM's. It just adds a proven capability to APKWS.
If you happen to be over the gulf and run across a medium-sized UAV or what have you, then why not use a APKWS instead of a sidewinder or AMRAAM, which as you note, has a broader engagement envelope you may need later. And there are a far greater number of platforms that carry APKWS than are cleared to use an AMRAAM, for example. Nice to have the capability in your pocket. Especially when many missions are already lugging APKWS.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 06:57 PM
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originally posted by: F2d5thCavv2
a reply to: RadioRobert

Is the APKWS a development of the old 2.75-inch folding fin aerial rocket ?

Cheers


Yes. It's basically a laser-guided Hydra rocket. Just big enough to make a mess of a technical or boat or gun emplacement or small building.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 06:58 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

It makes a lot more sense to use a $22,000 weapon than one that runs $300,000+ too.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 07:04 PM
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History tells us dollars and cents rarely get factored into tactical decisions, but I'm sure it makes the beancounters happy.



posted on Dec, 28 2019 @ 11:31 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

It would be better if we had AI flying around looking for drones. Re-tasking an aircraft to check out a UAV when they are conducting CAS because someone has a bone to pick with Iran is annoying.



posted on Dec, 29 2019 @ 03:26 AM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert
If you happen to be over the gulf and run across a medium-sized UAV or what have you, then why not use a APKWS instead of a sidewinder or AMRAAM, which as you note, has a broader engagement envelope you may need later.

Only you'd likely carrying APKWS instead of a Sidewinder and should use your onboard guns against low tier air threats like UAVs.



posted on Dec, 29 2019 @ 12:34 PM
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originally posted by: mightmight

originally posted by: RadioRobert
If you happen to be over the gulf and run across a medium-sized UAV or what have you, then why not use a APKWS instead of a sidewinder or AMRAAM, which as you note, has a broader engagement envelope you may need later.

Only you'd likely carrying APKWS instead of a Sidewinder and should use your onboard guns against low tier air threats like UAVs.


Everyone surged APKWS in Sandistan already, and the Navy and Marines have been keen in addition because of the small boat threat. Odds are good that assets will already be available. I agree that the notion of loading up flights dedicated to anti-cruise missile defense with APKWS is not going to happen. But it's a nice niche capability for a missile being frequently lugged about already.




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