Ask the insider: The Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile 

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Jim Smith had significant technical roles in the development of the UK’s leading military aviation programmes. From ASRAAM and Nimrod, to the JSF and Eurofighter Typhoon. We asked him about the concept behind the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile 

Why did Australia choose the ASRAAM? 

“I had a significant role in this program. As manager of the Air Superiority and Anti-Air weapons research program, and then as Science adviser to the MoD Customer, technical lead  for the UK on the UK-Aus collaborative Group, and latterly as a member on that Group for Australia, I have a good understanding of both the technical capability, and of the partnership between Industry, Governments and research agencies underpinning the programme.

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However, my past roles make it not possible for me to be very explicit on ASRAAM matters.

I will, however, observe, that the collaboration between UK and AS on ASRAAM has been one of full disclosure and access at the deepest technical level. This has been of benefit to both Nations. Australia has added new capabilities to the weapon, and has worked in cooperation with UK MoD and research agencies to ensure the capability of the weapon against advanced countermeasures.

This level of cooperative development is simply not available elsewhere.”

Does it need a thrust vector control to be effective against future threats?

“No. The missile seeker and kinematic capabilities make it highly capable at much greater range than other systems. It also has demonstrated all aspect capability.”

How is it different in concept to say- AIM-9X and IRIS-T?

“Primarily in the high-speed low-drag airframe coupled with highly advanced processing enabling long range all aspect engagements against targets deploying countermeasures.”

Is it effective? 

“Known as ‘the death dart’ in the F3 community. Stated to be well-ahead of any competing IR weapon. The weapon brings a pre-merge capability to the ‘SR’ AAM.”

Two Up

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“Two Up is a collection of anecdotes and stories drawn from our more than 50-year experience of photographing, flying, analysing, designing and generally working with aircraft. The 26 episodes in the book cover everything from schoolboy expeditions to photograph aircraft in England; to Ron’s visit as Westland’s Chief Future Project Engineer to Russia and Poland to examine their helicopter industry; my learning to fly aerobatics in the Chipmunk; Ron’s flight to Oshkosh on Concorde; and many more.

Two Up Down Under focuses on a visit Ron made to Australia to enjoy an aviation and photographic road trip around the Riverina, leading to our visit to the Australian Antique Aeroplane Association’s fly-in at Echuca, Victoria. There is something for everyone in here, whether you are interested in Volkswagen kombis, recreational and antique aircraft in Australia, flying, photography or classic cars. In his later career, he was a well-regarded analyst working primarily on Land Systems for BAe Systems. Both Ron and I have been private pilots. He has owned a number of interesting aircraft, including a 1938 Tipsy B, and is also a winner of the Dawn to Dusk Trophy. My flying experience highlights include Chipmunk aerobatics and flying recreational aircraft in Australia.”

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Have a look at How to kill a RaptorAn Idiot’s Guide to Chinese Flankers, the 10 worst British military aircraftThe 10 worst French aircraft,  Su-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

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Copyright: Geoffrey Lee, Planefocus Ltd

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