Raytheon Company successfully completed more than 1,700 rigorous wind tunnel tests on the newest, extended-range variant of the combat-proven Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). Testing is a major step in the missile’s qualification for integration with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).
The AMRAAM-Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER) missile is a ground-launched weapon that will intercept targets at longer distances and higher altitudes. The missile’s bigger rocket motor and smarter flight control algorithms give it a boost in range.
«During these tests, we put AMRAAM-ER through a full range of potential flight conditions to validate the missile’s future performance on the battlefield», said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. «Raytheon is developing this missile to enhance ground-based air defense for our customers worldwide».
Raytheon engineers will now analyze data from the wind tunnel test runs to verify and update the AMRAAM-ER missile’s aerodynamic models to maximize its performance.
Raytheon AMRAAM-ER Missile Goes Long and Flies High
Manufactured by Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, NASAMS is the most widely used short- and medium-range air defense system in NATO. NASAMS provides a high-firepower, networked and distributed state-of-the-art air defense system that can quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving threat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and emerging cruise missile threats.
Raytheon Company, with 2018 sales of $27 billion and 67,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 97 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Intelligence (C5I) products and services, sensing, effects and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries.
Raytheon Company has successfully flight-tested the newest variant of the combat-proven Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) missile from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, surface-based system. Featuring an enlarged rocket motor and other enhancements, AMRAAM-Extended Range (ER) will greatly expand the NASAMS engagement envelope with a 50 percent increase in maximum range and 70 percent increase in maximum altitude.
The live-fire shot verified that the complete system – including the AMRAAM-ER missile, NASAMS missile launcher, Sentinel Radar and the Fire Distribution Center, or FDC – worked seamlessly together to engage and destroy a target drone with a live-warhead-equipped missile.
«AMRAAM-ER combines the guidance section and warhead from AMRAAM with the rocket motor from the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile to affordably boost the NASAMS capability», said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missiles Systems. «We believe it’s an ideal solution for ground-based air defense customers worldwide».
Norwegian military NASAMS operators conducted the test. They controlled and employed the AMRAAM-ER missile from an upgraded FDC, proving the effectiveness of the missile when matched with the NASAMS launcher.
Designed specifically for ground-based air defense, NASAMS is owned by seven countries and has been used by the U.S. National Capital Region’s air defense system since 2005. Manufactured by Raytheon and Kongsberg, NASAMS is the most widely used short-and medium-range air defense system in NATO. In addition to the U.S., it is in service in Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands and one undisclosed country. It is also currently in production for Oman.
«NASAMS with AMRAAM-ER gives lower-tier defenses additional capability against threats such as cruise missiles, aircraft and drones», said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
Raytheon completed extensive lab testing on the AMRAAM-ER in 2015, enabling the company to move forward with launcher and system integration.
NASAMS is a highly adaptable, medium-range solution for any operational air defense requirement. The system provides the air defender with a high-firepower, networked and distributed state-of-the-art air defense system that can maximize the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving threat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle and emerging cruise missile threats.
AMRAAM is a combat-proven missile that demonstrates operational flexibility in both air-to-air and surface-launch scenarios and provides today’s military forces with enhanced operational capability, cost-effectiveness and future growth options/solutions. Procured by 36 countries, the combat-proven AMRAAM has been integrated on the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier, F-4 Phantom II and the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. It is also the baseline missile for the NATO-approved National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.
The Sentinel radar is the premier air surveillance and target acquisition/tracking sensor for the U.S. Army Cruise Missile Defense Systems program. It is a highly mobile, three-dimensional, phased-array, ground-based air defense radar system that operates in the X-band. It automatically detects, tracks, identifies, classifies and reports airborne threats, including helicopters, high-speed attack aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 94 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Intelligence (C5ITM) products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Raytheon Company has begun development on an extended range variant of the combat-proven Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM). Designed specifically for ground-based air defense, AMRAAM-ER will enable intercepts at longer range and higher altitudes (Source: Raytheon Company).
«With AMRAAM-ER, Raytheon is rewriting the book on ground-based air defense. The new missile will be even faster and more maneuverable than the current AMRAAM», said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon vice president of Air Warfare Systems. «By leveraging many existing AMRAAM components, Raytheon can deliver AMRAAM-ER quickly and affordably with very low risk».
Raytheon will integrate AMRAAM-ER into the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) launcher.
NASAMS is the latest and most modern Medium Range Air Defense system. In partnership with Kongsberg, Raytheon has delivered more than 70 fire units to seven countries. It is the most commonly used Short and Medium Range Air Defense System in NATO.
«Combined with the NASAMS launcher, AMRAAM-ER will provide a new level of protection to customers», said Ralph Acaba, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. «NASAMS is one of the most easily manned, trained, and maintained systems in the world».
Fielded in Norway for more than a decade, NASAMS is operationally deployed in the U.S. National Capital Region, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, and an undisclosed country. It is also in production for Oman under a contract received last year.
Raytheon plans to flight test AMRAAM-ER before the end of the year.
The AMRAAM is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, AMRAAM is the baseline weapon on the NASAMS launcher.