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.

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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.