Raytheon Integrated Defence Systems is in the early stages of developing a new missile for its surface-launched advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (SL-AMRAAM) surface-to-air system and is also integrating the AIM-9X Sidewinder with the launcher.

The new missile will combine the guidance system of the existing AMRAAM with the rocket motor of the naval Evolved Sea Sparrow and a larger warhead.The effect of the new missile, known as SLAMRAAM-ER will be to extend the range of the SL-AMRAAM system out to around 40km, compared with the current figure of 17km. Integrating the AIM-9X will give coverage in the 5-10km range band.

Speaking at the show yesterday Jack Roosa, senior manager at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, the new SLAMRAAM-ER is “beyond the paper missile stage, but not much further”. There is as yet no timeline for its development, but its use of proven components should sharply reduce this in comparison with designing a totally new missile, believes Raytheon.

Joseph Garrett, vice-president, international operations, for Raytheon IDS said the impetus for the new missile had come from existing users of the elderly Raytheon Hawk surface-to-air missile.

“As we introduced SL-AMRAAM to current Hawk customers, we were often asked ‘Can you provide a missile with the same altitude capabilities as HAWK?’ We’ve also been asked by customers what we could do to get infrared capability. Using the AIM-9X provides a lower-cost capability.”

SL-AMRAAM is usually mounted on a variant of the US Army’s ubiquitous Humvee vehicle, in four- or six-round configurations. The increased size of the new missile will probably mean that only two will be able to be carried by the vehicle. The AIM-9X, meanwhile, is in the early stages of being integrated on to the SLAMRAAM vehicle, where it will use the same launch rail as the existing missile.

Source: Flight Daily News