Raytheon Missiles and Defense has won a contract valued $518 million to produce AMRAAM missiles to ten countries including Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Qatar. This contract involves unclassified Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and South Korea. The deal provides for the production of the Lot 34 AMRAAMs, Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs), guidance sections, AMRAAM Telemetry System (ATS), initial and field spares, and other production engineering support hardware and activities. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2023.
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM (pronounced AM-ram), is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with a 7-inch (180mm) diameter form-and-fit factor, and employing active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance, it has the advantage of being a fire-and-forget weapon when compared to the previous generation Sparrow missiles. When an AMRAAM missile is launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three. The AMRAAM is the world’s most popular beyond-visual-range missile; more than 14,000 have been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers.
The AMRAAM missile packs unprecedented performance into a lightweight, cost-effective package. It uses a combination of inertial guidance, midcourse updates, and an on-board active radar to find the intended target and complete the intercept. Because of continual development and ongoing modernization it remains the gold standard for the air dominance arena. The AMRAAM missile has been integrated onto the F-15A/B/C/D/E Eagle/Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Eurofighter Typhoon, JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado and Harrier. It is also the baseline weapon on the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, also known as NASAMSâ„¢. It is the only radar-guided, air-to-air missile cleared to fly on the F-35.
The AMRAAM has been used in several engagements and is credited with sixteen air-to-air kills in conflicts over Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir, and Syria. Now over 30 years old in design, the AMRAAM is due to be replaced by the new AIM-260 JATM, which will offer better long-range performance and ability to defeat electronic warfare jamming. Designed with a 7-inch (180mm) diameter form-and-fit factor, and employing active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance, it has the advantage of being a fire-and-forget weapon when compared to the previous generation Sparrow missiles. As of 2020, this has been the longest AIM-120 kill.