Cyrus the great wrote:
I guess I was terribly unfair comparing recently developed missiles to those that have been in service for decades. If a top-attack trajectory is so difficult to deploy beyond reasonable range, why doesn't the US just scrap that particular requirement and get on with it? That's probably a stupid question seeing as how the top-attack trajectory is in vogue now. A 20 km variant of the Khrizantema for rotary aircraft would be a game changer. Thanks for your extensive reply.
Well the top-attack requirement isn't the issue here, the issue with the Hellfire is does not have a direct-launch profile mode. It has three missile launch profiles, low trajectory, the missile still tries to gain altitude considered Top attack even tho the missile does not hit tanks roof armor, not even close. The other profiles are mid and high, they both gain again altitude the difference with mid and low trajectory is the missile launch profile and trajectory of gaining altitude and going down on target is still rather flat, but the high trajectory was initially designed to be used behind cover so the missile will not hit trees, obstacles or nearby buildings which is the actual top attack, all other profiles do not even hit the weak roof armor, it gives them still some advantage due better angle to armor but that is essentially the case for any heliborne launched missile/rocket.
They did not see it as a big problem because it is not a big problem, most engagements of Apaches vs tanks are done between 30-700m at such altitudes the operators can't even see nor designate targets further away than 3-4km and that is the case for all Helicopters, they all have a similiar requirement to deploy to battlefield with high valued targets like MBT's with NoE (Nap over Earth) flights, because it is crucial for helicopters to stay undetected with very good intel of enemy forces for succesful and effective use of helicopters. Russians, Chinese, US and any other country try to reduce the chances of being spotted or targeted by MANPADS by flying low to their targets and they usually remain lower than 1km altitude for many reasons, not being spotted, it is far more effecient with combat load to fly at lower altitudes due better and denser air which gives better flight performance and fuel effecient flight. They usually tend to gain altitude 2-3km away from tanks and then launch their ATGM's, but that is not always the case and will not be always the case due the increasing capability of defense suites and when non isolated targets appear, where a full strike against a variety of targets is necessary, the US has adopted the same thing the Soviets/Russians did and still do with Hinds, which provides the highest and most effecient way of dealing with quite often occuring targets of different value in formation or fortification.