Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to develop a Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW) missile for the US Air Force (USAF).

The contract, which includes follow on options, has a performance period of three months, and involves three competitive gates for three prime contractors.

The other two prime contractors selected for Phase I of the SIAW programme are Lockheed Martin, and L3Harris Technologies. Each of the contracts is valued at $2m.

The three gates will allow each competitor to prove the missile capabilities as part of a digital acquisition approach that is focused on agility and innovation.

The missile design presented by Northrop Grumman for evaluation fulfils the requirements for the SiAW, as well as other USAF programmes.

The company is leveraging its in-house digital engineering capabilities to get ready for the missile launch later this year.

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Northrop Grumman Defence Systems corporate vice-president and president Mary Petryszyn said: “We continue to advance our offering to stay ahead of threats, and help ensure our mission-enabling capability will be technologically mature, tested, and affordable.”

Under Phase I of the SiAW competition, the USAF is planning to get the technical capabilities of the SiAW missile system in line with the needs of the Air Combat Command (ACC), and the USAF’s Weapon Government Reference Architecture.

The Phase I tasks will see the establishment of a combined digital environment to design, develop, and evaluate the SiAW missile system’s initial increment by using model-based systems engineering practices, and a digital engineering methodology.

Northrop Grumman’s solution is claimed to have an open architecture and interface, which can address the changing mission demands and facilitate future upgrades.

The solution makes use of the design and production experiences gained from the US Navy’s AARGM-ER missile and integration work on the F-35 aircraft.