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Boeing’s Mystery Missile

by John Reed on January 13, 2012

Could this be the secret new strike weapons Boeing executives told a bunch of us reporters the company was working on during the Farnborough air show in 2010?

I spotted the mystery weapon in Boeing’s booth at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference here in Washington. I’d never seen the design or the name before so I promptly asked about it; no one staffing the booth claimed to know any more than I did about the weapon (they did, however, give me a refresher on their railgun tech).

Here’s what Bill Sweetman wrote at Av Week after a Boeing official’s admission that it had a secret new strike weapon (I’ve got to admit, I was in the room, but chose to write about the new stealthy Super Hornet that Boeing unveiled at the same press conference.):

Boeing is in production on at least one “proprietary” strike weapon system, claims Shelley Lavender, vice president and general manager of global strike systems. But Lavender refused July 20 at the Farnborough International Airshow to provide more information when pressed.

“I have nothing further for you on that,” the executive said.

Could it be a Tomahawk cruise missile/AGM-86 replacement; a part of the so called, “family” of next-gen strike systems being designed for use by the Navy and the Air Force?

Maybe it will be a stealthy, stand-off cruise missile meant to fit inside the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s internal weapons bay. Remember, the stealthy AGM-158B Joint Air to Surface Stand-off Munition is too large to be carried inside the F-35, meaning that it would compromise the jet’s stealth if carried aboard the wings. Norway is already working on a stand-off missile that would fit inside the F-35’s weapons bay. Competition?

Maybe it has to do with this penetrating weapon that’s intended to be a mini–MOP carried by the F-35.

It could also be some new, new name for the Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Munition, though the air-breathing weapon above doesn’t look much like an air-to-air missile.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

monk January 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm



Sev January 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Jet powered long range stealth missile?


Nick January 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm



Nick January 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Sorry that was for Monk


steve January 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Loose lips STILL sinks ships and kill troops. Guess the press forgot that, but the who saisd the press cares about US security anymore? Not me, that's fopr sure!……


ChuckyTee January 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

“I have nothing further for you on that,” the executive said.

Might be said executive should have not said anything at all?


jiopppo January 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

air breathing missile? i think they're thinking too far ahead…


blight January 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

TLAM uses a turbofan. Airbreathing, but not particularly fancy (like a ramjet, for instance).


Lance January 14, 2012 at 2:19 am

No this is improvement of the old ALCOM missiles used on B-52s.


William C. January 14, 2012 at 3:44 am

I'm betting on it being a semi-stealthy replacement for the AGM-86 ALCM and possibly the BGM-109 Tomahawk. I wonder if that means a nuclear variant will be developed as well?

Besides for the Joint Strike Missile (based off the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile), the JSOW-ER would also fit in the internal weapons bay of the F-35A/C.


major.rod January 14, 2012 at 4:02 am

Yes! Let's speculate to new levels! It's the world's largest sex toy!


jamFRIDGE January 14, 2012 at 8:20 am

Maybe it’s a “fire-and-forget” missile used over long distances? Also for stealth missile strikes


STemplar January 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Inside an F35s weapons bay and range to at least match JASSM ER I bet.


Torpedo8 January 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

This sucker will be taking the place of Saturday delivery going forward for the USPS.


Kevinjm January 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

This should be the T-3 missile which is being competitively developed by both Raytheon and Boeing. The missile is considered to be air-breathing since it uses a propulsion stage developed by Aerojet (both the Raytheon and Boeing concepts use the same motor) which uses a solid rocket motor for its first stage, which boosts the missile speed up past Mach 3-4. After it reaches that speed, a second, very slow, very fuel rich solid propellant grain ignites in another chamber. The combustion gasses from this second propellant are routed to the now empty first stage combustion chamber where they are mixed with air fed in through a ram scoop. The high temperature of the fuel rich combustion gasses from the second propellant causes the new fuel/air mixture in the empty first stage chamber to autoignite, and produce thrust out of the first stage nozzle.

Its a very interesting cruise and more traditional solid rocket based missile technology and the idea of using a secondary propellant to generate high temperature fuel rich gasses to be combusted with ambient air is a solid step towards long range and high speed missiles which need only carry fuel instead of fuel and oxidizer, be it sepearte liquids or together in solid form.


Cthel January 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

A propulsion system that's proved very successful in the SA-6 Gainful


SalZ January 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm

An air breather to take out mouth breathers!


blight January 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hopefully it's an air breather to take out hard targets of value, moreso than generic mouth breathers, of which there are plenty on this green earth.


miche January 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

that suck money of the people by politicians and militaire!


Mitch S. January 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Perhaps they meant a Joint-Air breathing missile.
The pro-cannabis crowd is always looking for new uses for the plant and this missile could circle the target area before impact thereby pacifying those near the target.
The AF might want to have one of these circle the Capitol just before they tell congress how much the F35 is really going to cost.


Musson January 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

Why would you need to put a standoff missile on a jet fighter?

By definition, a standoff missile would be used by an aircraft that did not need to penetrate hostile air space. So, fit a long range commercial aircraft with a bomb bay door – and drop them by the dozen.


Mastro January 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

The problem with the 767 whatever- is that you might not know exactly where hostile airspace is. The enemy might have a fighter CAP with long range missiles, maybe some brave pilots that penetrate into your airspace.

Assuming that a line on a map magically becomes safe/dangerous is not a great idea- and basically violates a major rule of maneuver warfare- which aviation certainly is.

Much better to fly older F16's/F15's whatever with the standoff missiles- then they can turn tail if need be.

Also not that the bomb truck you imagine would be a radar mirror and the enemy might prepare when it flies near him.


Infidel4LIFE January 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Is there a variation of the B1-B that can be used as a bomb truck, or air to air? Planes targeted by Raptors, and missles fired from a plane miles away? A 767 is very large. A B1-B is alot smaller target on radar.


Mark January 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

What good is this missle when the F-35C can't stop when it lands on a flight deck? The tailhook does not catch the wire under ideal conditions. Making the tail hook longer destroys it's stealth capabilities.


blight January 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I wonder who's left with manufacturing experience on the B-1A and the B-1B. Lots of relearning things from scratch.


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