The US Air Force and Raytheon announced on July 10, 2023 that they had successfully completed operational and development testing of the latest version of the American AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) missile.
The AMRAAM one of the flagship missiles of the American air force
The AMRAAM is an air-to-air missile which entered the American forces in 1991 and has known different versions, from the AIM-120A/B and C to the AIM-120D which is the version currently used by American forces. Its range is estimated at 160 kilometers for the AIM-120D, the version currently used by hunters in the American Air Force (USAF or US Air Force) and the American Navy (US Navy).
AMRAAM missiles are compatible with:
- the F-15C Eagles,
- the F-15E Strike Eagles,
- the F-16 Fighting Falcons,
- the F/A-18 C/D Hornets,
- the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets,
- the F-22 Raptors,
- the Eurofighter Typhoons,
- the JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado and Harrier.
Its characteristics are as follows:
- Length: 366 centimeters
- Launch weight: 150.75 kilograms
- Wingspan: 52.58 centimeters)
- Speed: supersonic
- Guidance System: Active terminal/inertial mid-course radar
- Warhead: Fragmentation
The AIM-120D-3: the latest version of AMRAAM
The AIM-120D-3 is a modernized version of the AMRAAM; for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, the upgrade of which falls under the Form, Fit, Function, Refresh (F3R) program under which 15 circuit boards of the missile were upgraded to address its obsolescence. It also uses the latest System Improvement Program (SIP) software and will continue to receive continuous improvements according to Raytheon.
Completion of operational and development testing for the AIM-120D-3
Defense manufacturer Raytheon announced on Monday July 10 the end of operational and development tests for the missile. These tests included transport and live fire from fourth and fifth generation USAF and US Navy platforms and were successfully conducted.
The success of these tests was a challenge for Raytheon, which received the production contract for the modernized AMRAAMs in August 2022. If the AIM-120D-3 variant is reserved for the American forces, a contract of 972 million dollars awarded to the manufacturer provides for software and hardware updates for the version of the missile dedicated to foreign sales, the AIM-120C8. In addition, at the end of June 2023, Raytheon announced that it had signed a contract worth $1.15 billion for the supply of missiles to the US Air Force and the US Navy, as well as to 18 countries, including Ukraine. This is the largest contract ever awarded to the American company for its air-to-air missile.