AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) is a new generation
air-to-air missile. It has an all-weather, beyond-visual-range capability and
is scheduled to be operational beyond 2000. The AMRAAM is being procured for the
Air Force, Navy, and America's allies.
AMRAAM program improves the aerial combat capabilities of U.S. and allied aircraft
to meet the future threat of enemy air-to-air weapons. AMRAAM is compatible with
the Air Force F-15 and F-16, Navy F-14 D/D (R) and F/A-18 C/D, German F-4 and
the British Sea Harrier aircraft.
AMRAAM is a follow-on to
the AIM-7 Sparrow missile series. The missile is faster, smaller and lighter,
and has improved capabilities against low-altitude targets. It incorporates an
active radar with an inertial reference unit and micro-computer system, which
makes the missile less dependent upon the fire-control system of the aircraft.
Once the missile closes on a target, its active radar guides it to intercept.
This enables the pilot to aim and fire several missiles simultaneously at multiple
targets. The pilot may then perform evasive maneuvers while the missiles guide
themselves to their targets.
The AMRAAM program completed its conceptual phase
in February 1979 when the U.S. Air Force selected two of five competing
contractors, Hughes Aircraft Company, and Raytheon Co., to continue
into the validation phase.
During the 33-month
validation phase the contractors continued missile development by building actual
hardware to demonstrate their technological concepts. The program phase concluded
in December 1981 after both contractors demonstrated that their flight-test missiles
could satisfy Air Force and Navy requirements. The Air Force competitively selected
Hughes Aircraft Co.'s Missile System Group, Canoga Park, Calif., as the full-scale
During the full-scale development phase, Hughes
Aircraft Co. completed missile development and went into production. More than
200 of the test missiles were launched during flight tests at Eglin AFB, Fla.,
White Sands Missile Range, N.M. and Point Mugu, Calif. AMRAAM is combat tested,
scoring two kills during Operation Southern Watch.
is operational on U.S. Air Force F-15 and F-16 aircraft.
Primary Function: Air-to-air tactical missile.
Hughes Aircraft Co., Raytheon Co.
Power Plan: High performance
143.9 inches (366 centimeters)
Launch Weight: 335 pounds (150.75
Diameter: 7 inches (17.78 centimeters)
20.7 inches (52.58 centimeters)
Range: 20+ miles (17.38+ nautical
Active radar terminal/inertial midcourse
Warhead: Blast fragmentation
Date Deployed: September 1991