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Whipsnake Long Range Air-to-Air Missile

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Nachmere
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Whipsnake Long Range Air-to-Air Missile

Postby Nachmere » Thu Mar 18, 2021 6:13 am

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Type: Long Range Air-to-Air Missile
Length: 370cm
Diameter (Body):20cm
Fin span: 70cm
Weight: 200kg
Propulsion: Throttleable Ducted Rocket
Range: 300km
Speed: Above Mach 4
Warhead: 12kg blast-fragmentation
Guidance: Active radar seeker, IIR seeker, INS/GPS and 2 way RF link.
Launch platform: Aircraft (Ground/Ship launch with boosted version) .
Price per unit: 2,500,000NSD.
DPR: 600,000,000NSD.



Whipsnake is a dual seeker, long range, air to air missile. It is intended for use by fighter and air superiority aircraft at medium to very long ranges against all manner of aerial targets, using it’s ducted rocket propulsion to remain highly maneuverable and retain energy far beyond that of similar sized solid rocket missiles. The dual seeker arrangement and 2way link offer excellent kill probability against targets using countermeasures or in other challenging conditions.


Layout and propulsion

Whipsnake is an asymmetrical missile with a “dolphin head” shaped front section and 4 stabilizing and maneuvering fins on the rear section.
The missile is propelled by a ducted rocket engine. As the missile is propelled forward air is collected by the intakes on the bottom of the missile, and compressed by ram effect. The compressed air is then combined into the exhaust of the missile adding thrust. In this way the system gains additional fuel from its environment without carrying it as internal weight. In addition the system is throttleable, meaning it can efficiently spend the fuel as needed, preserving thrust for the final stages of engagement and greatly extending the range of the missile. A solid state booster is used for the start of flight to reach speeds allowing the ducted rocket to start operating.

Control of the missile in flight is done aerodynamically by four fins mounted near the exhaust. The system is optimized for high turn rates to engage manuvering targets, while at the same time maintaining the ducted rocket intake of air.

Guidance

In a time of low RCS targets, longer range BVR engagements, and massive application of electronic countermeasures, Whipsnake is equipped with every possible advantage to assist in tracking and hitting aircraft, unmanned aerial platforms, and even ballistic missiles. The missile relies on three separate but co-operative guidance methods.

Firstly the missile can be guided or cued on to a target by the launch platform or another platform using RF data link and on board GPS and INS systems. The data link allows for trajectory changes and retargeting mid-flight, and also sends data from the missile to the launch platform such as kinematic status or target acquisition. The datalink electronics are mounted in the starboard intake fairing. The antenna is mounted in the rear of the fairing.

In its unusual, asymmetric nose, the Whipsnake carries two seekers. The IR seeker is based on the Viper 5 seeker, although it has been further miniaturized. Unlike older generations of infrared homing missiles this seeker “sees” the entire target, not only the hot exhaust of the engine. The 320×240 pixel dual waveband electro-optical imaging seeker can detect and lock onto targets at an angle of up to 90 degrees off boresight. Combined with advanced computer software and hardware, the seeker is extremely resilient to countermeasures, and capable of locking on even to very small targets like larger class I UAVs (this ability has been combat proven). The seekers sensitivity and advanced software make it capable even in adverse weather, cluttered background look-down scenarios. The IIR seeker affords Whipsnake carrying aircraft a fearsome ability within visual range and in short BVR even against low RCS targets, and also acts to overcome radar countermeasures affecting the launching platform’s radar or the Ka band seeker.

The active radar seeker is the main means of tracking and hitting targets. This Ka band AESA seeker offers highly accurate identification and tracking of all aerial targets, and high immunity to electronic counter measures thanks to it’s low probability of intercept and lock-on-jam capability.

Using these various sensors and systems the Whipsnake can constantly switch from one mode to another. Typically it will be launched at a target identified by the platform carrying it, on a trajectory designed to bring it within range for its seekers to pick up the target and engage it independently. If it encounters jamming or interference against one seeker type it will switch to the other making it extremely difficult to “shake off”, especially when considering it’s long range, high speed and maintained maneuverability even at long ranges.

Fusing and warhead

Whipsnake, thanks to its dual seeker arrangement and the capable nature of the IIR seeker, is a hit-to-kill missile, intended to directly hit aircraft, cruise missiles and even ballistic missiles. In theory thanks to the high energy of the missile and its ability to hit specific parts of the target, the missile is able to destroy most of these threats even without a warhead. Despite this, Schwerpunkt has opted to equip the Whipsnake with a somewhat light, 12kg, blast fragmentation warhead. This is fused to detonate by two methods - a radar proximity fuse and a backup impact fuse. If the missile fails to detonate at the ideal moment, it is still extremely likely to make contact with the target and detonate.

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Last edited by Nachmere on Sat Oct 30, 2021 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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