Aircraft missile experts at Raytheon Technologies are gearing-up to produce upgraded versions of the U.S. Air Force and Navy AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) that will extend the missile’s lifetime well into the 2020s.
Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., announced nearly a billion-dollar order last week for a redesigned radar-guided AMRAAM missile with a new guidance section.
The Air Force is awarding the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., a $972.2 million order for AMRAAM production lot 36, as well as for AMRAAM Telemetry System (ATS), initial and field spares, and other production engineering support hardware and activities.
This order involves AMRAAM sales to Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Each AMRAAM lot roughly consists of 400 to 500 missiles.
Since AMRAAM lot 32, Raytheon AMRAAM production has involved missiles that integrate the form, fit, function refresh (F3R) of the AMRAAM guidance section, which seeks to mitigate the effects of parts obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources in the missile’s guidance section.
The Air Force and Navy AMRAAM is one of the nation’s most sophisticated radar-guided air-to-air missiles, and one of the world’s most advanced all-weather, all-environment, medium-range air-to-air missiles for engaging enemy aircraft and missiles from beyond visual ranges.
AMRAAM is an active radar-intercept missile with inherent electronic protection capabilities for air-to-air applications against massed penetration aircraft. AMRAAM has been in service since 1991, and was designed to replace the AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided air-to-air missile.
Mitigating the effects of obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources can involve the substantial redesign of subsystems by replacing electronic chips and other components that the original manufacturers no longer can produce.
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In 2015 Raytheon experienced technical difficulties with the AMRAAM F3R application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design, hardware integration, and guidance section performance demonstration, which delayed the program’s critical design review (CDR) for a year.
In January 2017 Raytheon officials announced a project to develop a new signal processor for the AMRAAM under the F3R project to help ensure AMRAAM production well into the 2020s.
On this order Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by August 2025. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.aflcmc.af.mil.