Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
User avatar
kitplane01
Topic Author
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 am

Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:06 am

The USAF just tested launching cruise missiles from cargo planes. This involves much more than just pushing them out the back!

1) Verify the plane has the right data link installed. Seemingly, USAF C-130s and C-17s already do, but a 737 off the back lot might not.

2) Load the plane with a munitions dispenser carrying the missiles. This is much more than a large box.

3) Fly to the right place.

4) Push the munitions dispenser out the back. With missiles it weighs several thousand pounds, so plan for this.

5) It deploys a parachute. I imagine some electronic things occur to tell the missiles it's time to fly. It drops the missiles.

6) Bang.

It's not obvious how expensive the munitions dispenser is, but it does have flight safe, mission critical electronics. It's also not obvious how hard it would be to put some pylons on a select portion of our cargo fleet.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/4 ... -in-action

Image
Image
 
User avatar
flyingturtle
Posts: 6170
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:39 am

A cool idea for the military cargo planes, for sure!

The USAF once launched a Minuteman ICBM from a flying C-5:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96A0wb1Ov9k
 
User avatar
Francoflier
Posts: 5909
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 12:27 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:36 am

kitplane01 wrote:
1) Verify the plane has the right data link installed. Seemingly, USAF C-130s and C-17s already do, but a 737 off the back lot might not.


Well... you'd think that the biggest issue with using a 737, other than the datalink, would be the lack of a hole to push the missile crate out of.
:biggrin:

More seriously, while an interesting concept, wouldn't this be more of a 'last resort' kind of strategy when on the backfoot in a conflict and running out of pointier attack airplanes?
I can't imagine a slow and relatively defenseless Herc would be a general's first choice to deploy his missiles...
 
User avatar
cjg225
Posts: 2198
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:59 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:31 am

I'm not sure what this gets you other than a surprise maybe one time.

I'd think we'd want to use our transport aircraft for, ya know, transporting stuff.
 
zanl188
Posts: 3864
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:05 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:51 am

Parachutes, and associated equipment, are heavy. Why not just launch off the 130s ramp and jettison dispenser?

Of course if you’re using a 130 for this the situation is already desperate.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:48 pm

zanl188 wrote:
Of course if you’re using a 130 for this the situation is already desperate.


Not necessarily. There may be time when you need a surge of ordinance. At the begining of an operation where you may want as many missiles in the air at one time to suppress air defenses, you may be able to spare a few dozen Hercs. After that they can go back to their regular duties.

We are taking about cruise missiles with hundreds km of range.

bt
 
LightningZ71
Posts: 623
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:59 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:18 pm

That's more of what I was thinking. This would be useful for a one time saturation attack when your opponent isn't expecting to have to deal with one at the moment. Remember, some things in war are more about just having and demonstrating a capability instead of actually using it. Much like nuclear missiles, your opponent will have to account for each attack vector. Considering how many missiles this would allow even just 10 C-130s to put on a target set, your opponent would have to expend a considerable amount of resources on missile defenses, in depth, to deal with the swarm, and any leakers from outer rings of defenses.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:54 pm

Heck the system seems simple enough to be able to translate to the C-17or A400.

bt
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:58 pm

zanl188 wrote:
Parachutes, and associated equipment, are heavy. Why not just launch off the 130s ramp and jettison dispenser?


I'm thinking they may want to time the launches to coincide with each other and with the delivering aircraft at a further distance from the launch site.

With the launches closer to the ground, ground base radar would less likely pick them up.

bt
 
User avatar
kitplane01
Topic Author
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:07 pm

zanl188 wrote:
Parachutes, and associated equipment, are heavy. Why not just launch off the 130s ramp and jettison dispenser?

Of course if you’re using a 130 for this the situation is already desperate.


I don't think they want a rocket motor going off *inside* a C-130. Consider the failure modes.

I don't think you'd need to be desperate at all. Most scenarios involve a C-130 flying to within 500 miles of an enemy to offload supplies. Once it's time for the attack, using the C-130s and C-17s for the one-off initial bombing attack seems reasonable. Then they can go back to running supplies.

One can buy something like 50 C-130s for the price of a B-21. If the mission can be done by a C-130 ....

(Please don't remind me how much more a B-21 can do. I already know. But if the mission doesn't need those capabilities, the C-130 is soooo much cheaper.)
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 7:19 pm

Just thought of a tech reason for the parachute.

You also don't want the missile to launch directly from the crate. The exhaust would fry the crate and may damage or interfere with the launch of the next missile. With the chute, the missile can drop from the crate and free fall a bit so when the rocket ignite it would not cause collateral damage. Your crate then can be made cheaply instead off being resistant to extreme heat.

bt
 
mxaxai
Posts: 2763
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:29 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:30 pm

It's not a particularly new idea, though I don't think it's ever gone beyond studies and experimental prototypes. The UK was considering the A400M to launch Storm Shadow cruise missiles back in 2003. https://www.flightglobal.com/mbda-to-ev ... 12.article An experimental UAV launcher was developed by Airbus recently. https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/airbus- ... transport/ In those cases, the missile or UAV simply gets pushed out the back and ignites the engine once sufficient separation has been achieved.
 
User avatar
Spacepope
Posts: 5461
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Fri Sep 24, 2021 3:44 am

bikerthai wrote:
zanl188 wrote:
Of course if you’re using a 130 for this the situation is already desperate.


Not necessarily. There may be time when you need a surge of ordinance. At the begining of an operation where you may want as many missiles in the air at one time to suppress air defenses, you may be able to spare a few dozen Hercs. After that they can go back to their regular duties.

We are taking about cruise missiles with hundreds km of range.

bt


Now you’re talkin.

Think the first night of ODS. Load up a dozen or so C-17s and have them drop a wall of ALCMs. We are talking of hundreds of cruise missiles launched without having to tie up any strike aircraft with their delivery. A slightly more complicated version of what could be done with a GLCM, but without all those deployment logistics and treaty obligations.
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 7702
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 5:56 am

Spacepope wrote:
bikerthai wrote:
zanl188 wrote:
Of course if you’re using a 130 for this the situation is already desperate.


Not necessarily. There may be time when you need a surge of ordinance. At the begining of an operation where you may want as many missiles in the air at one time to suppress air defenses, you may be able to spare a few dozen Hercs. After that they can go back to their regular duties.

We are taking about cruise missiles with hundreds km of range.

bt


Now you’re talkin.

Think the first night of ODS. Load up a dozen or so C-17s and have them drop a wall of ALCMs. We are talking of hundreds of cruise missiles launched without having to tie up any strike aircraft with their delivery. A slightly more complicated version of what could be done with a GLCM, but without all those deployment logistics and treaty obligations.

Still seems better to have some tomahawks pooped out some B52s and B2s.
 
User avatar
Spacepope
Posts: 5461
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 11:10 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:55 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Spacepope wrote:
bikerthai wrote:

Not necessarily. There may be time when you need a surge of ordinance. At the begining of an operation where you may want as many missiles in the air at one time to suppress air defenses, you may be able to spare a few dozen Hercs. After that they can go back to their regular duties.

We are taking about cruise missiles with hundreds km of range.

bt


Now you’re talkin.

Think the first night of ODS. Load up a dozen or so C-17s and have them drop a wall of ALCMs. We are talking of hundreds of cruise missiles launched without having to tie up any strike aircraft with their delivery. A slightly more complicated version of what could be done with a GLCM, but without all those deployment logistics and treaty obligations.

Still seems better to have some tomahawks pooped out some B52s and B2s.


The B-2s will have other duties on that first night. Why waste strike and penetration aircraft on simple missile truck duties when they can be much more useful elsewhere?
 
User avatar
Aesma
Posts: 14746
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:14 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:23 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Still seems better to have some tomahawks pooped out some B52s and B2s.


The Tomahawk is a naval missile.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 2:13 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Still seems better to have some tomahawks pooped out some B52s and B2s.


You can poop it out or you can Montezuma revenge it :ill:

by
 
zanl188
Posts: 3864
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:05 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:17 pm

Spacepope wrote:

Think the first night of ODS. Load up a dozen or so C-17s and have them drop a wall of ALCMs. We are talking of hundreds of cruise missiles launched without having to tie up any strike aircraft with their delivery. A slightly more complicated version of what could be done with a GLCM, but without all those deployment logistics and treaty obligations.


So we're talking about a system we use once every 30 or 40 years.... There's a reason why these ideas don't get funded....

C-5s and C-141s were very busy elsewhere the first night of ODS.

We don't need to ignite the missile in the aircraft or in the dispenser. There are simple ways to do this. Cold gas generator for example. Or drag the whole lot of missiles out of the dispenser with a drogue.
 
cpd
Posts: 6802
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:46 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:12 pm

A 747 (MC-747) was also proposed for this idea. Only it would carry multiple missiles.

While another 747 was an airborne aircraft carrier.
 
MohawkWeekend
Posts: 979
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:46 pm

Wouldn't be the first time the Herc was used as bomber - dropping Daisy Cutters in SE Asia
 
johns624
Posts: 4047
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:40 pm

MohawkWeekend wrote:
Wouldn't be the first time the Herc was used as bomber - dropping Daisy Cutters in SE Asia
The Argentinians tried to bomb cargo ships a few times during the Falklands War with C130s.
 
User avatar
kitplane01
Topic Author
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 am

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:52 am

cpd wrote:
A 747 (MC-747) was also proposed for this idea. Only it would carry multiple missiles.

While another 747 was an airborne aircraft carrier.


This scheme had either 4 or 6 missiles per container, and the possibility of multiple containers per plane.
 
bam111998
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 3:09 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:18 am

Francoflier wrote:
kitplane01 wrote:
1) Verify the plane has the right data link installed. Seemingly, USAF C-130s and C-17s already do, but a 737 off the back lot might not.


Well... you'd think that the biggest issue with using a 737, other than the datalink, would be the lack of a hole to push the missile crate out of.
:biggrin:

More seriously, while an interesting concept, wouldn't this be more of a 'last resort' kind of strategy when on the backfoot in a conflict and running out of pointier attack airplanes?
I can't imagine a slow and relatively defenseless Herc would be a general's first choice to deploy his missiles...


P-8s have a bay for launching torpedoes, maybe something could be worked for launching a cruise missile.
 
User avatar
bikerthai
Posts: 4174
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Re: Cruise Missiles and Cargo Planes

Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:49 am

The P-8A bay is not that large. They can launch Harpoon from the wing pylons, but since it is based on a commercial wing, it can not handle that much weight out there.

https://www.businessinsider.com/us-navy ... tic-2021-6

bt

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos