Air Force orders for AMRAAM air-to-air missiles exceed $1 billion over last three months

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 25 March 2015. U.S. Air Force airborne weapons experts are ordering several hundred of the nation's most sophisticated radar-guided air-to-air missiles under terms of a contract modification announced Tuesday.

Air Force orders for AMRAAM air-to-air missiles exceed $1 billion over last three months
Air Force orders for AMRAAM air-to-air missiles exceed $1 billion over last three months
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 25 March 2015. U.S. Air Force airborne weapons experts are ordering several hundred of the nation's most sophisticated radar-guided air-to-air missiles under terms of a contract modification announced Tuesday.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Manager Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are awarding a $528.8 million contract modification to the Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN) Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., for Lot 29 production of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) for the U.S. and foreign militaries.

AMRAAM is one of the world's most advanced all-weather, all-environment medium range air-to-air missiles. The system is an active radar-guided intercept missile with inherent electronic protection capabilities for air-to-air applications against massed penetration aircraft and is designed to replace the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile.

Tuesday's order follows a similar AMRAAM deal three months ago for AMRAAM Lot 28 production. Since December the Air Force has placed AMRAAM missile orders with Raytheon worth more than $1 billion.

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The latest version of AMRAAM, the AIM-120D, was to begin fielding last year. Each AMRAAM lot typically contains between 400 and 500 missiles. The AIM-120D has improved accuracy via Global Positioning System aided navigation, improved network compatibility, and enhanced aircrew survivability via a two-way data link capability.

The AMRAAM missile has air-to-air and surface-launch versions. In the air-to-air role, the weapon's advanced active guidance section provides the aircrew find targets quickly in challenging environments, Raytheon officials say.

AMRAAM has scored combat victories in the skies of Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo, Raytheon says. It uses digital technology, micro-miniaturized solid-state electronics, and active radar guidance for air combat and air defense.

AMRAAM provides multi-shot capability, and can be launched day or night, in all weather conditions. Its autonomous guidance capability provides the pilot with launch-and-leave ability to provide fast engagement of follow-on targets or the option to fire first and then run from targets.

Related: Air Force starts process of replacing transponder module in AMRAAM air-combat missile

AMRAAM's capabilities include quick fly-out, immunity to countermeasures, and the ability to reject radar clutter to attack low-altitude targets. The missile has active radar guidance, multi-shot capability, and the ability to launch from aircraft or from surface-to-air missile sites.

Raytheon also is developing the AMRAAM Extended Range missile for ground-based air defense, AMRAAM-ER will enable intercepts at longer distances and higher altitudes.

Procured by 36 countries, the AMRAAM has been integrated onto the F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, and Harrier combat jets. The AIM-120C5 and AIM-120C7 are being integrated onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and will be ready to meet F-35B initial operational capability in 2015, company officials say.

On Tuesday's order, Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by January 2018. For more information contact Raytheon Missile Systems online at www.raytheon.com.

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