Air Force Developing AMRAAM Replacement to Counter China
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.
http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... China.aspx
I expect we will see range similar or longer to Meteor and likely a dual or even tri mode seeker similar to what is available on SDB II or SM-3. It could also improve on the networking and data link and you would expect that it has hand off from/to unmanned platforms out of the box. Great that it will fit into the F-22s internal bays and by extension to F-35 as well. While it hasn't been mentioned I also expect the B-21 will carry the missile as will a host of unmanned aircraft.
Things I'd be interested to know is whether it will be one single long missile or have two variants, the standard missile and one with an extended range booster. I suggest the standard missile will be for internal carriage while larger platforms for external carriage, such as SH and perhaps the arsenal aircraft concept. Will we also see this deployed with the short range anti-missile missile and will the AIM-260 be designed to counter laser self defence weapons expected on board aircraft in the next decade?