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Terminal Guidance



AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile

Updated: 7 August 2003

Services: Navy and Air Force

Description: The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air missile is a new generation air-to-air missile. It has an all-weather, beyond-visual-range capability and is scheduled to be operational beyond 2020. The AMRAAM is being procured for the U.S. Navy, Air Force and allies of the United States. In addition to providing an air-to-air capability, AMRAAM also provides air defense support.

Features: The AMRAAM program improves the aerial combat capabilities of U.S. and allied aircraft to meet current and future threats of enemy air-to-air weapons. AMRAAM serves as a follow-on to the AIM-7 Sparrow missile series. The new missile is faster, smaller, and lighter, and has improved capabilities against low-altitude targets. It also incorporates active radar in conjunction with an inertial reference unit and microcomputer system, which makes the missile less dependent upon the fire-control system of the aircraft. Once the missile closes in on the target, its active radar guides it to intercept. This enables the pilot to aim and fire several missiles simultaneously at multiple targets and perform evasive maneuvers while the missiles guide themselves to the targets.

Background: The AIM-120 grew out of a joint agreement, no longer in effect, between the United States and several NATO nations to develop air-to-air missiles and to share the production technology. AMRAAM has three variants AIM 120A/B/C operational on U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Medium-range, air-to-air tactical missile
Contractor: Raytheon
Power Plant: Solid Propellant Rocket
Length: 12 feet
Launch Weight: 356 pounds
Diameter: Seven inches
Wing Span: AIM-120A/B 21 inches AIM-120C 12.5 Inches
Speed: Supersonic
Warhead: Blast Fragmentation; high explosive
Unit Cost: $386,000
Date Deployed: September 1991
Aircraft platforms:
Navy: F/A-18C/D/E/F Hornet and Super Hornet
Air Force: F-15, F-16 and F-22
NATO: AV-8B, Eurofighter 2000, F-1C, F-4, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, JAS-39


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