Raytheon has secured a contract worth $573m from the US Air Force (USAF) to continue building advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs).

The latest contract represents a modification to exercise the option on a previously awarded contract for AMRAAM.

Work under the contract will be performed in Tucson by early 2019.

"AMRAAM is designed to provide warfighters with enhanced operational capability, cost-effectiveness and future growth options / solutions."

Powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor, the AIM-120 comes 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 missile has been integrated into 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.

Acquired by 36 countries worldwide, AMRAAM is designed to provide warfighters with enhanced operational capability, cost-effectiveness and future growth options / solutions, and is the baseline missile for the Nato-approved Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system.

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Last year, Raytheon started the development of an extended range (ER) variant of the combat-proven AIM-120AMRAAM.

The missile is dubbed AMRAAM-ER. It is specifically designed for ground-based air defence, and is expected to enable intercepts at longer range and higher altitudes.

It would be integrated into the national advanced surface-to-air missile system (NASAMS), which is claimed to be the most commonly used short and medium-range air defence system in the Nato.