The concept suggests that the missile head can change its direction of flight to hit highly maneuverable targets, including future fighters.
The US Air Force is exploring a new concept for increasing hit probability in air combat. For this, rockets will be made bendable. It is reported by The War Zone.
The new concept assumes that the rocket will have a bendable nose. This will allow hitting highly maneuverable targets, including future combat aircraft, including 6th generation fighters. The Air Force Research Laboratory has revealed details of the articulated nose (MUTANT) missile conversion project. It is noted that the last 6 years in the United States have been developing a foldable rocket, and the very concept of such ammunition was laid down in the 1950s.
The US Air Force is trying to change the basic calculation: for greater missile efficiency, you need to have a greater range, maneuverability and responsiveness of the airframe with a limited weight. All three indicators are affected by the missile control system.
The new concept suggests that the MUTANT rocket will have a section in the front of the rocket body, which will allow it to deviate from the central axis. For this, a special hinge is made, similar to the exhaust nozzle in the F-35B fighters. There is an obstacle in the way of this concept in the form of materials. An air-to-air missile requires a structure to withstand high temperatures and overload due to high speeds. In addition, the entire front of the missile must be able to withstand the impact of a rapid change in flight direction.
The relationship between temperature and speed
Therefore, AFPL are working on a composite structure that includes a metal inner frame filled with elastomer. The final version of the development will be able to fly at high supersonic speeds and withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius.
U.S. foldable rocket tests continue
The developers have already conducted a number of ground tests of various components of the rocket, but more tests are required. Initially, the missile is based on a deeply modified air-to-air AGM-114 Hellfire. By the end of 2024, they plan to complete the next stage of testing, during which the fins and nose of the rocket will be controlled for maneuvering.
Recall that on March 8, the US Air Force revealed the details of the concept of achieving air superiority in the future.
On September 27, the media wrote that the United States was striving to overtake China in creating a 6th generation fighter.
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