Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) missiles subsidiary LFK has been carrying out windtunnel tests on a model of a hypersonic bunker-buster concept which it hopes to turn into an international demonstrator programme.

The missile has the working name ASS 500. It is based on a concept for a Mach2.5-4 weapon which could be launched from a Panavia Tornado. The missile would be Ìtted with a 500kg kinetic-energy-penetrator warhead for use against point targets at ranges of up to 500km (270nm).

According to LFK head of aeromechanics Peter Gleich, the concept was drafted with the intention of creating a high-speed cruise missile capable of penetrating bunkers similar to the well-hidden, heavily protected headquarters of the former East German National People's Army.

At the moment, the ASS 500 is a technology study funded entirely by company funds. The programme has already aroused the interest of the national defence procurement agency, the BWB, however. Test results to date will be presented to BWB in the hope of attracting funds for a demonstrator programme on an international basis. While LFK recognises that Germany would not be able to self-finance such a programme, it says that so far no discussions have been held with possible partners.

Technology developed from a proposed demonstrator programme could be applied to a weapon with a likely in-service date of 2015.

According to Gleich, such a weapon would be guided by a combination of navigation systems, including an inertial/satellite-based package, infra-red sensor and a phased-array radar with a conformal antenna, capable of generating a radar image of surface features as it approaches the target area.

The concept is intended to address a target set which has no recognisable surface features of its own. The missile's radar would use known surrounding features for aiming-point selection.

Source: Flight International