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Air Force Developing Amraam Replacement To Counter China


Special-K

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http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/June%202019/Air-Force-Developing-AMRAAM-Replacement-to-Counter-China.aspx

 

 

DAYTON, Ohio—The Air Force is developing a new air-to-air missile, dubbed the AIM-260, that offers longer range than Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and would be used to counter the Chinese PL-15 weapon.

Air Force Weapons Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo told reporters in a June 20 interview here the service is working with Lockheed Martin, the Army, and the Navy to field the Joint Advanced Tactical Missile in 2022. Work began about two years ago.

“It has a range greater than AMRAAM, different capabilities onboard to go after that specific [next generation air-dominance] threat set, but certainly longer legs,” he said. “As I bring up JATM production, AMRAAM production is kind of going to start tailing off.”

The weapon is initially planned to fly in the F-22’s main weapons bay and on the Navy’s F/A-18, with the F-35 to follow. Flight tests will begin in 2021 and initial operational capability is slated for 2022, Genatempo said.

“It is meant to be the next air-to-air air dominance weapon for our air-to-air fighters,” he said.

The Air Force will buy its last AMRAAMs in fiscal 2026 as JATM ramps up, answering combatant commanders’ needs, Genatempo said.

He told Air Force Magazine the service hasn’t settled on how many JATMs it might buy in the outyears or how the program will ramp up.

“The future of what JATM looks like, especially out in that outyear increment, is very, very up in the air right now,” Genatempo said. “As far as lot sizes go, it’s on the order of a couple hundred per lot and I don’t think we have a definite plan.”

He expects JATM could be in production as long as AMRAAM, which was first deployed in 1991.

I certainly think this is a good thing. Looking forward to learning more about it, and how it compares to the PL-15 and the Meteor. Only 2 more years to IOC, or so they claim, and they've been working on it for 2 years already. That doesn't seem like all that long of a development time. Am I wrong in this? And if it is also going to be joint with the Army, is it fair to infer this will also be a SAM, like the NASAMS or SLAMRAAM system?

-K

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Should've just bought Meteor.

 

And WTF is up with this "AIM-260" designation? I believe that the numbering sequence is up to 183 with the AGM-183. I guess it's like the B-3 becoming the B-21 or the F-35, which (in sequence) should be the F-25, or something close.

Edited by Dawes
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They might have merged the designation number lines for fighter aircraft with experimental aircraft. It was X-32 vs X-35. X-35 won hence F-35. All the in-between numbers before 32 and 35 were experimental aircraft. Which then could mean the successor to the F-35 might be in the range of F-65~F-80?

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Should've just bought Meteor.

 

And WTF is up with this "AIM-260" designation? I believe that the numbering sequence is up to 183 with the AGM-183. I guess it's like the B-3 becoming the B-21 or the F-35, which (in sequence) should be the F-25, or something close.

Marketing, to give the impression that what is being paid for is better than what is available.

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It seems silly not to from an efficiency standpoint. It makes sense not to from a defense procurement as a domestic job and revenue generator standpoint.

 

Maybe they're factoring in the delays during the development.

 

They are probably counting on them.

Edited by Nobu
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To be fair, the U.S. as a major net arms exporter has good reasons to not offer any offset deals with its arms exports.

This means it won't get any offset deals for its arms imports (it can at times force the seller to set up shop in the U.S. if the order is big enough, though).

 

You won't see 40...60% of expenditure flow back as government revenue without import offset deals or domestic buys, and you won't see any economic stimulus (including reduction of unemployment insurance expenditures and such) either.

This means foreign purchases are about twice as expensive to the treasury as domestic buys.

 

So buying foreign arms makes only sense if you absolutely have to have them. Buying Meteor would be fine if the U.S. hadn't advanced past AIM-120B yet and wouldn't reach AIM-120C before 2021, for example.

 

European armed forces decided against imports in favour of even decades-long development programs with little promise of superiority even during the Cold War. Remember the development of the Tiger and Mangusta attack helicopters; they could have purchased Apaches or Cobras instead, as early as the 80's.

 

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About Meteor not being state of the art:

 

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/uk-japan-push-ahead-with-joint-air-to-air-missile-project/

"The intention is to combine the active electronically scanned array seeker of the Mitsubishi Electric AAM-4B medium-range air-to-air missile with the Meteor as the AAM-4B is too bulky to fit into the F-35 A’s internal weapons bay."

Edited by lastdingo
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----------------------------

 

About Meteor not being state of the art:

 

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/uk-japan-push-ahead-with-joint-air-to-air-missile-project/

"The intention is to combine the active electronically scanned array seeker of the Mitsubishi Electric AAM-4B medium-range air-to-air missile with the Meteor as the AAM-4B is too bulky to fit into the F-35 A’s internal weapons bay."

 

 

 

The AAM-4B is too big for the F-35. Japan is going to procure AIM-120 for its F-35s. AAM-4B doesn't have the propulsion system like what is on the meteor.

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Yet it does have a vastly superior radar.

 

Meteor is not state of the art. It has great range combined with probably good terminal manoeuvrability (thrust in terminal phase is a mixed blessing when the target has missile warners that depend on detecting the smoke trail's IR or UV signature). Its radar is a modified MICA missile radar, which some believe to be inferior to AMRAAM's.

 

It may very well be that Meteor can be launched at greater distance, but fails to achieve good pk due to countermeasures when AAM-4B can only be launched at smaller distances but has higher pk because of a better radar. Superior range is not conclusive evidence for overall superiority all by itself.

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  • 3 years later...

I have to say this is a surprising development for me. I has assumed the unmanned NGAD components would be smaller, more disposable units using a more Peregrine or Cuda style missile. But the CCA looks to be a fully capable fighter sized UCAV, likely with its own long range sensors, if it is going to engage targets at the kind of ranges ascribed to AIM-260. There is also more and more discussion of them potentially being deployed not just "untethered" to a manned aircraft, but completely independently. IMO the USAF is getting more ambitious with where it thinks AI is going to be in ten years.

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7 hours ago, seahawk said:

Drones as weapon carriers, manned fighters a battle managers. 

Making the manned component the emitter seems counter intuitive though. My read is that at least some CCAs will have radars capable of finding targets out to the AIM-260s max range. Others will probably datalink for target tracks.

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2 hours ago, Burncycle360 said:

Parasite fighter about the size of Storm Shadow? 2D thrust vectoring, 12+G sustained turns, push out BVR for positive threat ID, disposable or recoverable...

Small disposable UAVs already exist in the US. XQ-58 can rocket launch and parachute recover, with a ~1500mi/2500km radius and internal payload for four Cuda sized AAMs. The USAF seems to be moving in the direction of more of a fully reusable fighter sized UCAV with a full sensor suit, from what I can tell.

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35 minutes ago, Josh said:

Making the manned component the emitter seems counter intuitive though. My read is that at least some CCAs will have radars capable of finding targets out to the AIM-260s max range. Others will probably datalink for target tracks.

The weapons carriers that carry AIM-260s will also have the sensor fit to make use of them without needing the manned fighter to turn on the radar. If this manned fighter controls 3 of those drones, given a strong datalink and enough processing power, you get yourself a set-up that can detect stealth targets.

Edited by seahawk
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  • 1 year later...

How many can F-15EX carry?  :)

And I echo Stuart's sentiment about the F-14.  Cheney's decision to kill that bird is looking worse than ever.  She may have been maintenance intensive, but big airframe plus big thrust has a lot to recommend it.

It's ironic the LWF (YF-17) evolved into a F-15 sized airframe but with less thrust.  Yet another example of false economies.

Doug

 

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