$200M for 434 More AMRAAM Missiles
Raytheon Company has announced a $200 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for continued production of 434 more AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missile (AMRAAM). Work will be performed at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ and will be complete by the end of 2007.
AMRAAM was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind.
One of the key lessons learned from that conflict was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a missile which required a constant radar lock on one target. In addition, as enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own, the fighter must be free to maneuver after launch and still be confident that its missile would strike the target.
In beyond-visual-range engagements, AMRAAM is guided initially by its inertial reference unit and microcomputer. During midcourse flight, AMRAAM receives target location updating directly from the launch aircraft radar system. In the final phase of tracking, the internal active radar seeker independently guides the missile. This autonomous guidance capability provides the pilot with critical range-preserving launch and leave capability, and improves the pilot’s survivability. AMRAAM is a joint U.S. Air Force and Navy program, and 28 other countries have also procured AMRAAM.