AIM-120 AMRAAM General
Missile
AIM-120 AMRAAM
Type
Air-to-Air Missile
Manufacturer
Hughes
AIM-120 AMRAAM Program Milestones
First Delivery
October 1988
IOC
September 1991
First Use (F-16)
December 1992


AIM-120 AMRAAM Missile Dimensions
Wing Span
20.7 inch (52,58 cm)
Length
143.9 inches (366 cm)
Diameter
7 inch (17,78 cm)

AIM-120 AMRAAM Missile Radius & Performance
Combat Radius
Approx. 17,4 nautical miles
Maximum Speed
Mach 4 - Supersonic
Warhead
Blast fragmentation
Unit Cost
$386.000




AIM-120 AMRAAM

The AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) is a new generation missile used for air-to-air combat. It is an all-weather capable missile that can operate beyond visual range. It was operational in the early 1990's and is a supersonic, air launched, aerial intercept, guided missile. It employs navigation guidance, active radar target tracking and active Radio Frequency (RF) target detection. In order to provide an autonomous launch and leave capability against targets in various environments, the AIM-120 AMRAAM employs an active, semi-active and inertial navigation methods of guidance.

The AMRAAM has a weight of 340 pounds and can achieve speeds of Mach 4 due to an advanced solid-fuel rocket motor while its range is well over 30 miles. The AMRAAM uses inertial guidance together with target information received from the launch aircraft via data link in case of a long-range engagement. When the target is within range of its own monopulse radar set, the AIM-120 transitions to a self-guiding terminal mode. In short-range engagements the AMRAAM is able to guide itself all the way using its own radar which will free the launch aircraft to engage other possible targets. In order to counteract electronic jamming, the AMRAAM is equipped with a "home-on-jam" guidance mode. Since the missile is highly sophisticated, has a high closing speed and excellent maneuverability, escaping from a locked-on AMRAAM is almost impossible. Once intercepted, an active-radar proximity fuze detonates the high-explosive warhead (weighing approximately 40 pounds) in order to destroy the target.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is mainly produced for the United States Air Force, US Navy and other American allies. The AMRAAM program improves the aerial combat capabilities of both the USAF and its allies while it meet current and future threat of enemy air-to-air weapons. The missile is compatible with the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-14D/D(R) Tomcat, F/A-18C/D Hornet, German F-4 and the British Sea Harrier. Although it was carried on several aircraft during Operation Desert Storm none of them actually saw action untill December 1992 when it was succesfully fired, shooting down a MiG-25 Foxbat during a confrontation over southern Iraq.

The AMRAAM is follow-on to the succesful AIM-7 Sparrow missile series. Compared to the Sparrow the AIM-120 is smaller, lighter, faster and has improved capability against low-altitude targets. Another advantage is that it is less dependant upon aircraft fire-control systems due to active radar with an inertial reference unit and micro-computer system. This enables the pilot to aim and fire multiple missiles simultaneously guided to various targets by themselves.

The F/A-18 Hornet is capable of carrying the AIM-120 AMRAAM
A AIM-120 AMRAAM capable F-22 performs a fly-by
The F-15 Eagle is also capable of carrying the AIM-120 AMRAAM
Examples of aircraft that are AIM-120 AMRAAM compatible...

AIM-120 AMRAAM Operators
Australia
Bahrain
Belgium
Denmark
Finland
Germany
Greece
Israel
Italy
Japan
Netherlands
Norway
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
  Taiwan
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Oman
Thailand