Raytheon has successfully completed lab testing on a new extended range variant of the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM).

The test has revealed that the new extended range (ER) variant, AMRAAM-ER, can now be integrated and employed from the national advanced surface to air missile system (NASAMS) launcher.

Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said: "AMRAAM-ER significantly expands the capability of our proven ground-based air defence system.

"The new surface-launched missile will be even faster and more manoeuvrable than the current AMRAAM."

The new missile variant is specifically designed for ground-based air defence and it can also be integrated with AN/MPQ-64 F1Sentinel radar.

"AMRAAM-ER significantly expands the capability of Raytheon’s proven ground-based air defence system."

In addition, Raytheon is combining the evolved sea sparrow missile rocket motor into AMRAAM-ER, allowing it to intercept targets at longer ranges and higher altitudes.

With the completion of the lab test, Raytheon will now be able to move forward with launcher and system integration, which is expected to start mid-2015 along with a live firing demonstration.

The flight test of AMRAAM-ER is scheduled for the end of this year. Raytheon started the development of AMRAAM-ER or AIM-120 in February this year.

Power for the AIM-120 comes from a solid-propellant rocket motor. The AIM-120 is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile designed for all-weather, day-and-night operations, and represents the US Military’s standard air intercept missile carried on tactical fighter aircraft.

The AMRAAM offers operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements.
#It is currently integrated on the F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier and F-4 fighters, while installation is underway on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

Image: An AIM-120 AMRAAM (right) fitted in a weapons bay of an F-22 Raptor. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.