WARRIOR LEADERS Series -- Intvs with US Military Leaders, Program Managers and Weapons Developers - Unique Detail HERE.
--WARRIOR MAVEN & Brig. Gen. RASCH
--- Brigadier General Robert (Rob) Rasch is the Deputy Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space, Program Executive Office(PEO) Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, AL. He is responsible for the development, production, fielding, and life cycle management of the Army’s missile and space related systems. ---*****************
Warrior Maven: What is the current Army strategy for developing new vehicle-mounted Short Range Air Defense weaponry?
BG Rasch: We are lifting our head up after coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and looking at near-peer type threats. This has caused us to take a look at how Short Range Air and Missile Defense has taken a huge turn - especially in Europe. Russia has brought that back to the forefront, and when we look at long-range precision fires, we are outgunned in some cases by potential threats.
Warrior Maven: What were some of the latest findings emerging from the recent SHORAD demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, where a variety of munitions were fired at drone targets? Are there some preliminary results?
BG Rasch: Regarding SHORAD, the Army is looking for an interim and long-term solution. Current funding resources have been looking for the Army to come up with an interim weapon. Right now we have Avengers, 72 of them - they fire Stingers. Regarding the recent demo, right now have data collectors out collecting data. We are hoping to have something operational within the next few years. We want to build upon and improve what we are firing today. Right now HIMARS, GMLRS, ATACMS and Patriot are used more in theater today.
Warrior Maven: Any particular weapons showing promise at this point, regarding SHORAD (Short Range Air Defense)?
BG Rasch: Although results from the demonstration are not yet available, we are looking at using CROWS on Strykers, a Stryker-mounted 30mm cannon and a gun from Orbital ATK. We are waiting for the Army to go through various resources and pursue requirements for a long-term solution. We are looking at the realm of the possible and then we will go out and choose a solution.
Warrior Maven: What were some of the specific threats shown by Russia in its attacks on Ukraine?
BG Rasch: Russia was using electronic warfare, cyber weapons and drones as well - and utilizing them in a combined arms aspect. That is most worrisome. Any one of these capabilities would be fairly easy to address, but when you start combing those effects, it changes the scope of the battlefield. The issue is enemy drones are potentially seeing our forces. They act as reconnaissance. This forces us to look outside of the ground we are in and work on multi-domain warfare, which includes working closely with other services.
Warrior Maven: How is development of the new Long Range Precision Fires progressing? I understand this weapon is being engineered to strike targets as far away as 500 kilometers? How will this change land warfare?
BG Rasch: We are moving progressing with a technology maturation, risk reduction phase which we will take all the way through prototypes. Each of the weapons (Raytheon, Lockheed) will go to the range and shoot off their solutions. We will down select from there and go into the EMD phase. We have already done early design work. The live fire prototype demo is scheduled for the 2020 timeframe. Our objective range is 499 kilometers. If you look at the ATACMS, this would be a replacement on HIMARS. We are going to double the range and get two rounds for each rocket launching missile pod. This will bring us twice the load out in the same amount of space. This brings longer legs to our maneuver forces and reduces the logistics footprint, bringing tremendous relief to the artillery forces.
Warrior Maven: What are some of the other innovations or attributes fundamental to the emerging LRFP weapon?
BG Rasch: The weapons is modular, so that down the line it will be easier to add warheads as seeker technology changes. Also, this will double the amount of missiles in a launcher. The missile will be half the size of existing weapons but shoot more than twice as fare. It will use various new guidance technologies such as inertial measurement. It will use better propellants, better rocket designs and improve the efficiency of the motor. It uses a dual-pulse motor. One motor gets the weapon out initially and then, once you get to lighter air, the second motor kicks in. Ultimately, it is about out-ranging the enemy, because we are not necessarily guaranteed aerial superiority. This also gives you long-range strike ability if you are in a combat situation where you cannot use a ship or submarine-launched Tomahawk.
*** More Brig. Gen. Rasch - InfoPrior to this position, BG Rasch served as the Military to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Redstone Arsenal. Prior to that he was Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.***
Warrior Maven: What is the latest with Patriot missile modernization?
BG Rasch: We modernized the Patriot in Korea. We upgraded the electronics, radar and implement Post Deployment Build 8. Our Missile Segment Enhancement upgrade just completed another operational test and we are getting ready for full rate production. Advanced Patriots can fire to higher altitudes and achieve greater range. Our modernization effort also reduces the size of the hardware and brings the latest RAM, faster processing speeds and smaller motherboards. Newer radar and command and control technology utilizes a ground station which then talks to the launcher.
Warrior Maven: What kinds of combat advantages will IBCSbring?
BG Rasch: IBCS is an integrated end-to-end system. When it fields, there will be a network component wherein various launchers will connect with other nodes such as the Sentinel radar and Multi-Mission Launcher. This will bring a more robust airbdefense command and control capability, as we bring sensors into our formations and take advantage of all that they bring. They will fuse into a single track so that operators do not have to discern between different radars. We plan another LUT in 2022 timeframe. We are making sure all the memory issues were taken care of. We just completed a soldier “check out” event at WSMR. The software performed well.
Warrior Maven: I understand the pace of attacks againstbISIS has depleted the stock of Army-produced Hellfire missiles? What is being done to address this?
BG Rasch: We have increased Hellfire production capacity by 30-percent. It will reach a 50-percent increase by 2019. There is so much demand for that missile, as it involves more than 20 nations. JAGM is the replacement, which has the same back end as Hellfire and will use the same production line.
Warrior Maven: I understand the emerging Multi-Mission Launcher has fired an AIM-9X sidewinder missile, Hellfire and MiniatureHit-to-Kill Missile? When will this weapon be ready?
BG Rasch: MMLis part of IFPC (Integrated Fire Protection Capability). We have been developing prototypes and conducting missiles shots. We are coming up on Milestone B (Tech Development phase), and we are transitioning from research up to an Army depot. We are currently looking at a second interceptor for IFPC Inc. 2. Could be the Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile, Raytheon’s Sky Hunter or an AI 3. Inc. 1 is slated for 2021 and a second interceptor will be ready by 2023. This technology will give our forward deployed soldiers a massively increased ability to locate and destroy incoming enemy fire such as mortars, artillery or even enemy drones and lower-flying aircraft.
-- Kris Osborn - Managing Editor, WARRIOR MAVEN - can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org --Army PEO Missiles & SPACECLICK HEREt