AIM-120 AMRAAM projects

TinWing

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Does anyone have an information of the Hughes Asam-1, an AMRAAM derivative that was offered for the UK's cancelled MSAM requirement.

The Asam-1 featured an enlarged diameter solid rocket motor and reached the flight testing stage in 1992.
 

sferrin

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TinWing said:
Does anyone have an information of the Hughes Asam-1, an AMRAAM derivative that was offered for the UK's cancelled MSAM requirement.

The Asam-1 featured an enlarged diameter solid rocket motor and reached the flight testing stage in 1992.
And here I thought I was losing my mind. I'd read about that back then and wondered what ever happened to it and then along comes ESSM and I thought "I could have sworn it was AMRAAM they'd made with a bigger motor and land launched". Anyway here's a link to a video that was recently posted in the ejection seat thread on the Key Publishing forum. The first part of the video is about thrust vector control of a land launched AMRAAM. The interesting part (to me anyway) is that unlike ESSM it appears to have TVC until burnout. Also note that the motor appears to pulse on and off during cruise just before it snaps up there at the end.

http://www.xmission.com/~sferrin/tvc.mov
 

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Hughes, later Raytheon, proposed an airbreathing AMRAAM derivative for the European FMRAAM requirement.
 

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TinWing

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Finally, a close-up picture of the ASAM-1 and definitive proof that it had a 10-inch diameter motor.

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?p=1077692#post1077692

It is hardly a mystery why the program didn't proceed. The UK effectively cancelled its MSAM requirment. Without the UK as a potential launch customer, this intermediate capability missile didn't fit very easily into the post-Cold War market. It is easy to sell a high end system with tactical ABM capabilities, such as Patriot, or a smaller missile in the MANPADS or VSHORAD segment such as Stinger/Mistral, but there have been few opportunities for land based systems that fall between the two extremes of capability.
 

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Here are a few of pictures of the Raytheon AMRAAM mock-up found at the back of the F-15A section of www.defenseimagery.mil
Interestingly, an adapter was used on the semi-conformal AIM-7 wells on the F-15.

Location: EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE
Date Shot: 3/13/1981
 

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Colonial-Marine

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I hadn't seen a topic for AIM-120 AMRAAM related projects so I figured I would start one here. There are a few designs I am curious about.

Back in the 80s/90s, Raytheon I believed offered the FMRAAM in a European competition that would end with the MBDA Meteor being selected as the winner. IIRC it was similar to the Meteor in that it used a ramjet to provide greater range and maneuverability. Was the FMRAAM developed any further? Since then Raytheon has offered the ERAAM and ERAAM+ which use a dual-pulse motor and are designed to be compatible with future propellants and technologies. What is the current status of these projects.

The AIM-120D is scheduled to enter service soon, and is said to offer a 50% increase in range among other things. Yet apparently a dual-pulse motor is not used? What has been changed or modified over the C5 motor to enable this?

Finally, not too long ago I saw a photo of what looked like an AMRAAM with a single relatively compact ramjet between the fins as opposed to the two featured on the FMRAAM and Meteor.


A press release from October 2009 gives some hints of potential further development to the AMRAAM family.

ATK Currently Supplies Propulsion Systems for All U.S. Fielded Air-to-Air Missiles
Technologies Developed will Position ATK to be the Propulsion Supplier of Choice for Counter-Air and Counter-Air Defense Missiles Developed for U.S. Services

Oct 29, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) has been awarded a research and development contract for the Counter Air / Future Naval Capabilities (CA/FNC) program to develop technologies that can be incorporated into next generation air-to-air missile systems. The nearly $10-million contract was issued by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California. ATK will work in concert with NAWCWD to identify specific propulsion technologies to develop for integration into future missile systems. The work is expected to be completed by June 2013.

The scope of the CA/FNC program is to develop technologies that will extend missile range, decrease time-to-target, improve end-game maneuverability, and improve the rocket motor's response to insensitive munitions (IM) stimuli. These improvements are oriented towards the 7-inch diameter Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) that is currently in use by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and many allied nations, but will be applicable to other air-to-air missile systems.

There are four main areas that ATK will be concentrating their development efforts on which include: high burn rate propellants for improved kinematics; improving case stiffness for reduced weight and agility; low erosion nozzles for improved performance; and multi-pulse propulsion for end-game maneuverability. Additionally, ATK will address the IM requirement by incorporating affordable solutions including an advanced propellant formulation, a low cost composite case, and mitigation safety devices proven on other tactical rocket motor programs.
http://atk.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=118&item=970
 

AeroFranz

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Have any details been released about any upgrades the AIM-120D had to it's motor or propellant in order to gain the increased range?
 

sferrin

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Colonial-Marine said:
Have any details been released about any upgrades the AIM-120D had to it's motor or propellant in order to gain the increased range?
AvWeek said it has a dual-pulse motor but there seems to be some dispute there.
 

SpudmanWP

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The Aim-120D DOES NOT have a Dual Pulse motor.

1. ATK, the ONLY current maker of AMRAAM motors states that they only make two types of motors, the baseline and the PEP (extra 5 inches) motor introduced in the C5 model.

http://www.atk.com/capabilities_defense/cs_ms_w_trm_aam.asp

2. Here is the PEP doc

http://www.atk.com/datasheet_PDFs/AMRAAM.pdf

3. ATK just got (Oct 2009) a contract to develop the next generation of AMRAAM motor. One of the technologies they are researching is a dual pulse design. If it were already in the 120D, they would not have to develop it again.

http://atk.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=118&item=970

I think where everyone gets the idea of the 120D having dual pulse is that the AMRAAM currently has a dual propellant motor. All AMRAAM motors have a "boost/sustain" grain type which may be the cause of the confusion.
 

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Alright, here is that picture of that AIM-120 variant I was looking for.



What is it? And is it in a janitor's closet or something (judging from the guy in back)?

Now would there be any benefit to designing a missile with a dual-pulse motor and ramjet or do they fulfill the same role?
 

SpudmanWP

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They perform different roles. A dual-Pulse motor will boost, from outside the targets MLD detection range, the AAM in a high arching profile. In mid-flight the first pulse (think first stage that does not jettison) cuts out and the AAM coasts until it is well past it's apogee. When the AAM is well into it's downward arch, it's 2nd pulse ignites when it is relatively close to the target. This ensures that the AAM is gaining energy in the end-game and can take advantage of TVC if it has it.

A ramjet AAM just has a longer burn and never turns off until it runs out of fuel.

One benefit of Dual-Pulse is that the AAM can "sneak" up on a target as it's motor is off until it is very close.

As to what that missile is, best I can come up with is a VFDR testbed.

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/6-52704.aspx
 

sferrin

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SpudmanWP said:
All AMRAAM motors have a "boost/sustain" grain type which may be the cause of the confusion.
No, the confusion comes from AvWeek saying it had a dual-pulse motor (like SRAM). Everybody and their dog knows what boost-sustain grain profile is. The new PAC-3 MSE also has a dual-pulse motor.
 

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Then someone at AvWeek needs to be slapped for not doing their research.
 

sferrin

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SpudmanWP said:
Then someone at AvWeek needs to be slapped for not doing their research.
Wouldn't be the first time. Won't be the last.
 

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Looking at the line up showing the FMRAAM, ERAAM, and AMRAAM, I must wonder why the United States didn't invest in either FMRAAM or ERAAM? It sounds like either would have been a significant improvement.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Of course the 1st quesiton is "why not an AAM"? I'd think an Eagle could carry four on the fuselage where AIM-7s use to go.
No chance of the later just too big, too heavy and too draggy for conformal carriage. Its an ESSM missile with an AMRAAM seeker. As to why doesn't USAF order something like this with an air to air range of >200 NM? Because does it need it and could it even use it? Very long range active homing missiles are beloved by people who never have to fire one. The missile takes time to get from A to B and during that time the target can do a lot of stuff. Now if that time of flight is now 2-3 times longer than the longest range AMRAAM engagements then you giving a lot more time for the target to evade and significantly increasing your difficulty of tracking the target and updating the missile. To the extent that it just doesn't become worthwhile and you are throwing away multi million dollar missiles. For example the CWI Sky Flash had higher Pk than a non data linked AIM-120A (and therefore non target location updated) from Tornado ADVs at interception ranges of 25 NM. All this is why you won't see a serious high Pk long range (>200 NM) missile until hypersonics are ready.
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Of course the 1st quesiton is "why not an AAM"? I'd think an Eagle could carry four on the fuselage where AIM-7s use to go.
No chance of the later just too big, too heavy and too draggy for conformal carriage. Its an ESSM missile with an AMRAAM seeker. As to why doesn't USAF order something like this with an air to air range of >200 NM? Because does it need it and could it even use it? Very long range active homing missiles are beloved by people who never have to fire one. The missile takes time to get from A to B and during that time the target can do a lot of stuff. Now if that time of flight is now 2-3 times longer than the longest range AMRAAM engagements then you giving a lot more time for the target to evade and significantly increasing your difficulty of tracking the target and updating the missile.
Wouldn't SM-6 have to deal with this? Why wouldn't this thing have mid-course updates available like any other AIM-120 or SM-6? As for the weight, ESSM weighs in at ~625lbs IIRC which is significantly less than Phoenix, not to mention much slimmer.
 

Abraham Gubler

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sferrin said:
Wouldn't SM-6 have to deal with this? Why wouldn't this thing have mid-course updates available like any other AIM-120 or SM-6? As for the weight, ESSM weighs in at ~625lbs IIRC which is significantly less than Phoenix, not to mention much slimmer.
SM-6 is a completely different missile with a modified seeker and different long range terminal engagement thanks to a lot more room in the nose of an SM-2 and money to spend in a USN funded project. It also does not have >200 NM engagement range and a much more energetic motors that reduces its time of flight over similar range compared to even an air launched ESSM. As to the weights and sizes of the Phoenix you forgot to mention length which is a major consideration for conformal F-15C carriage. Also the F-15C does not carry Phoenix missiles…
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
sferrin said:
Wouldn't SM-6 have to deal with this? Why wouldn't this thing have mid-course updates available like any other AIM-120 or SM-6? As for the weight, ESSM weighs in at ~625lbs IIRC which is significantly less than Phoenix, not to mention much slimmer.
SM-6 is a completely different missile with a modified seeker and different long range terminal engagement thanks to a lot more room in the nose of an SM-2 and money to spend in a USN funded project. It also does not have >200 NM engagement range and a much more energetic motors that reduces its time of flight over similar range compared to even an air launched ESSM. As to the weights and sizes of the Phoenix you forgot to mention length which is a major consideration for conformal F-15C carriage. Also the F-15C does not carry Phoenix missiles…
I'm aware that the F-15 never carried Phoenix in service. My point in comparing it to Phoenix is that it's a lot smaller, and while it's wasn't light it wasn't such a boat anchor that the Tomcat never carried it. As for length it's (RIM-162) the same as AIM-7 (which the Eagle carried conformally.) You're talking about ~125lbs more than an AIM-7 for significantly more range.
 

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Supposedly SENIOR BLUE was an AMRAAM project for an anti-AWACS variant, but I have never been able to find anything other than rumors. I've had more luck connecting the BLU-114/B submunition to that PE code.
Nonetheless, the rumor is still kicking around.
 

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Next Gen AMRAAM Completes Operational Testing

4/10/2015

Raytheon, Air Force, and Navy testers recently completed operational test and evaluation of the latest Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) variant, paving the way for its initial operational capability, the company announced. "The AIM-120D represents a significant improvement in air-to-air weapons capabilities and the technologies it brings to the battlefield ... in the air-to-air arena," company program director Ron Krebs said in an​ April 9 release. The missile performed outstandingly in a variety of challenging air-to-air scenarios across the spectrum of flight profiles, leading the Air Force to clear it for operational use, according to Raytheon. The Navy already declared AIM-120D IOC and plans to deploy the missile this year. The AIM-120D variant offers improved range, GPS-assisted guidance, updated datalinks, and jam resistance, in addition to greater lethality. Operational testing resumed in 2013 after earlier software and hardware glitches were addressed.
 

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Do we know when the AIM-120D is meant to reach IOC?
 

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Dragon029 said:
Do we know when the AIM-120D is meant to reach IOC?
The latest version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, the AIM-120D, has been declared operational by the Air Force and Navy and now the program office is looking to add new electronic-attack protections through a software upgrade recently fielded on the AIM-120C7.
The services made positive fielding decisions on the Air Force F-15 and Navy F/A-18 in January after several rounds of optional testing in 2014, according to the Air Force's Program Executive Officer for Weapons Maj. Gen. Scott Jansson.
"The assets are being fielded as we speak," Jansson said in a March 26 phone interview with Inside the Air Force. "We continue to upgrade the AMRAAM to keep up with the latest threats."
AMRAAM is produced by Raytheon in Tucson, AZ, and has been in production since 1991 as the Defense Department's primary long-range, air-to-air weapon system.
The AIM-120D is the latest and most sophisticated variant. It entered development in 2004 and has greater range, maneuverability and accuracy compared to the current version, the AIM-120C7.
The program office recently received clearance to move the AIM-120D into full production. Last week, Raytheon received a $529 million contract for Lot 29 on top of the $491 million the company received last December for Lot 28. The contracts include orders for AMRAAM foreign military sales customers that are approved to procure prior versions of the AIM-120.
According to Jansson, the AMRAAM program is in good shape. He said the focus has now shifted toward hardening the AIM-120D against new forms of electronic attack.
In February, Air Combat Command began fielding an improved AIM-120C7. The missile has software changes for electronic protection, and a similar software load will be rolled into the AIM-120D line through an Electronic Protection Improvement Program.
"That capability is out there and will be incorporated into the D-model version of the missile as well, and that helps to address some of the latest electronic-attack capabilities that some of our potential adversaries are developing," Jansson said.
"That's what we expect to see on the AMRAAM for years to come . . . to keep ahead of some of the latest developments in the electronic-attack world to keep the missile reliable and its probability of weapons effectiveness, or kill rate, up where we want it to be," he added.
Raytheon has delivered more than 1,000 AIM-120Ds, according to a recent report by the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.
There are several science and technology projects that aim to develop a next-generation AMRAAM capability, possibly an extended-range variant or even a completely new missile. Raytheon recently announced its development of a ground-launched AMRAAM-ER for air defense.
Jansson said DOD's current program would procure the AIM-120 at least through 2024. What type of capability comes next is not yet clear, he said.
"AMRAAM itself has got a fairly long future ahead of it," he said.
The Pentagon has spent more than $13.4 billion on AMRAAM since the program's inception in the late 1980s and the balance of the program is estimated at about $5.9 billion, according to the Pentagon's Selected Acquisition Report summary table for fiscal year 2014. DOD plans to spend $664 million on AMRAAM in FY-16 and $684 million in FY-17. -- James Drew
http://insidedefense.com/inside-air-force/raytheons-new-aim-120d-amraam-declared-ready-battle

Also from the article a couple of posts above this -

The Navy already declared AIM-120D IOC and plans to deploy the missile this year.
 

sferrin

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Not only that but they've already delivered 1000 of them. :eek:
 

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Sweet, I was just getting a bit confused by integration plans for the various platforms that intend to use it. This is getting slightly off-topic, but is the -120D being included with the F-35's SDD or Block 3F loadout? I've only ever seen "AIM-120" or "AIM-120C" being used in literature, but on the same token, the former term could mean all variants and the latter could be referencing the -120C7 designation.
 

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The SDD plans and software were being designed before the 120D was available, so that's a Block timeframe before the 120D gets to the F-35.


That being said, the C7 program continues to get upgrades, especially to it's seeker and ECCM capabilities (all software based) so that C7 that files in the F-35 is better than the first C7 from years back.


Thankfully, when the next version of UAI get's done, it will bring A2A weapons into the realm of no longer needing block upgrades in order to get integrated.
 

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I wonder if they are still sourcing the rocket motors from Nammo because Raytheon can't make environmentally correct rocket fuel which work in cold weather. I wonder why that problem hasn't affected AIM 9 missiles.

From Wikipedia.....

Cold weather malfunctions

Finnish Defence Forces reported[31] on September 3, 2012 that the United States had not delivered any of the AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles they had ordered due to a mysterious engine malfunction in cold weather. The manufacturer, Raytheon, has not been able to determine the cause of the problem. Colonel Kari Renko, an engineer at the Finnish Air Force, was quoted[31] by Helsingin Sanomat as saying, "The problem involves the rocket engines which have been in use for decades" and that Finland first was told of the problems by the Americans about two years ago. The reason for the malfunction has been determined to be a change in the chemical formula of the rocket propellant to comply with new environmental regulations. The change caused the supplier of AMRAAM rocket motors, Alliant Techsystems, to produce motors that were unreliable, especially in cold conditions where aircraft carrying them would fly. ATK has been unable to find a solution, and no new AMRAAM missiles had been delivered to the USAF since 2010 as a result. In late 2012, Raytheon solved the problem by selecting Norwegian ammunition manufacturer Nammo Raufoss to be their new supplier of AMRAAM rocket motors.[32]
 

SpudmanWP

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NAMO does not have to make the motors using the new fuel, hence them being able to.
 

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Has there been any news on that multi-pulse motor or any of the other upgrades Raytheon was investigating in that contract issued way back in 2009? I've never read anything more about that.
 

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Is there any picture of the Aim-120D? The only one I could find was of the CATM 120D on a Navy Super Hornet



 

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Australia cleared to acquire AIM-120D


Australia is set to become the first non-US operator of the latest Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) variant following United States State Department approval of a potential USD1.22 billion AIM-120D AMRAAM Foreign Military Sales package submission from Canberra.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 25 April that Australia has requested up to 450 AIM-120D AMRAAMs; up to 34 AIM-120D instrumented air vehicles; up to six instrumented test vehicles; and up to 10 spare AIM-120 guidance sections to support the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fleet of F/A-18A/B, F/A-18F, E/A-18G and F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is an all-weather, all-environment, active radar-guided beyond-visual-range/within-visual-range air-to-air missile, powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor and armed with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead.
 

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http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/america-close-maxing-out-its-deadly-aim-120-amraam-missile-16223
 
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