AMRAAM: Deploying & Developing America’s Medium-Range Air-Air Missile
January 16/20: Lot 33 Spares Raytheon Missile Systems won a $10.6 million contract modification for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Production Lot 33 spares. The modification provides for the production Air Force and Navy spares. The AMRAAM missile is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, it is the baseline weapon on the NASAMS launcher. In the air-to-air role, no other missile compares to the AMRAAM missile. The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in the most combat challenging environments. Work will take place in Tucson, Arizona. Estimated completion date is in March 21, 2022.
Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.
One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam 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 “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade.
Some MRAAM History, and AMRAAM’s Design Approach
Customers & Performance
AMRAAM: Upgrades & Derivatives
Other AMRAAM-Related Systems
AMRAAM’s International Competitors
AMRAAM Program: Technical Challenges
AMRAAM: Contracts & Key Events
FY 2015 – 2020
FY 2005 and Earlier (Partial)
Additional Readings & Sources: Current Missiles
Additional Readings & Sources
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)