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Future Warfare 20XX Wargame Series: Lessons Learned Report 2001

Future Warfare 20XX Wargame Series: Lessons Learned Report 2001

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Future Warfare 20XX
Wargame Series:
Lessons Learned
Report 2001
Future Warfare 20XX
Wargame Series:
Lessons Learned
Report 2001

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Published by: Space_Hulker on Feb 27, 2009
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While the basic concept of conducting rapid, global strikes from space was appealing, players
were less than enthusiastic about space-to-ground attack satellites capable of de-orbiting inert,
precision-guided projectiles. They favored trans-atmospheric vehicles (TAVs) or space planes,
which could achieve a similar result without the attendant financial, political, legal, and technical
burdens associated with permanently stationing terrestrial-strike weapons in orbit. Moreover,
since they could be launched into innumerable trajectories, TAVs were also considered to be
more survivable than satellites flying in very predictable orbits.

Through the mid-term, the only practical option for developing a rapid, global terrestrial strike
capability appears to be the Smart Hypersonic Vehicle (SHV). The SHV is envisioned as an
unmanned, rocket-powered, fully reusable, sub-orbital vehicle that would take-off and recover

The SHV would be based upon the same technology developed and tested under the

DC-X program in the 1990s.140

Atop the SHV could be placed either a Space Maneuver Vehicle
(SMV) upper-stage for space-control operations, or as many as ten expendable Common Aero
Vehicles (CAVs) for conducting precision strikes against terrestrial targets.

The SMV could refuel friendly satellites, repair damaged satellites, jam enemy satellites, launch
co-orbital ASATs, or conduct other offensive and defensive space control missions. The CAV is
currently under development and is slated to be flight tested in 2003-2004. It is basically a 12- to
16-foot long, cone-shaped, maneuvering reentry vehicle that could carry and dispense up to six


Dr. Donald Daniel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering,
Statement before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Hearing on
“Fiscal Year 2002 Air Force Science and Technology,” June 2001, p. 16.




Mark Hewish, “U.S. Air Force to Test Lockheed Microsatellite,” Jane’s International Defense Review,

September 2001, p. 8.


This system should not be confused with the SOV that was envisioned as a military spin-off of the recently
canceled X-33/X-34 technology demonstrator effort and the X-43 development effort run by NASA. For more
information on the SOV concept, see: Keith Hall, Statement of the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic
, March 8, 2000, p. 8; William B. Scott, “Is USAF Sandbagging Spaceplane Project?” Aviation Week &
Space Technology
, November 20, 2000, p. 60; Bill Sweetman, “Securing Space for the Military: Hypersonic
Military Spaceplanes Go Quietly about Their Business,” Jane’s International Defense Review, March 1999, pp. 49-


The DC-X experimental rocket, or Delta Clipper, was successfully flight tested several times before it was
destroyed in a NASA test. See Michael Dornheim, “DC-X Holds Promise: Big Questions Remain,” Aviation Week
& Space Technology
, August 28, 1995, pp. 56-59.


powered, Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS) munitions, three SDBs or other

Instead of acting as a PGM bus, the CAV itself could be hardened to serve as a unitary,
kinetic-kill projectile for attacking some classes of hardened and deeply buried targets.

If successfully developed, SHVs armed with CAVs could strike fixed and possibly mobile
targets as distant as halfway around the earth in tens of minutes after launch.142

A single sortie
employing six CAV-armed SHVs, for example, would be sufficient to engage up to 360 discrete
targets nearly anywhere in the world. Moreover, they could recover, refuel, rearm, and strike
again within a matter of hours. Given the retraction in U.S. forward basing overseas over the last
decade, the strategic need to project power to distant corners of the globe, often on short notice,
and the ever-present possibility of strategic surprise, this type of capability could be invaluable.

The key enabling technologies for the SHV have already been developed and evaluated under the
DC-X program. In fact, two different versions of the DC-X were flight tested between 1993-
1996. By leveraging this investment, DoD and industry sources estimate that a prototype SHV-
CAV system could be fielded within the decade with the requisite funding.143

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