NCADE: An ABM AMRAAM – Or Something More?

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SM-3 seeker: target!(click to view full) A lot has been written in recent years about the improvements in air-air missiles. Short-range air-air missiles (SRAAMs) have received particular attention due to their vastly improved wide-angle seekers, computer processor improvements driven by Moore’s Law, and the ability to pull several times more ‘gs’ than manned fighter aircraft when maneuvering. Some analysts now believe that close-in aerial combat may at last be threatening to fulfill missile engineers’ old claims of “see, fire, and kill” – a development that would make cheap aircraft with new missiles a very significant threat, if true. Medium range AAM (MRAAM) designs have also made significant strides in performance. How big are these strides? Normally, hitting a missile in the atmosphere or in the lower echelons of space requires large mid-course interceptor rockets, or theater defense missiles like IAI/Boeing’s Arrow 2 or the USA’s THAAD, or the naval SM-3. But what if all the energy required to get off the ground and up to speed was already taken care of, line of sight was expanded considerably by being at altitude, and the defensive missile could be moved very close to the enemy launcher? If that was true, could you […]

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