AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (AMRAAM replacement)

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Corsair1963

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Unread post02 Jul 2019, 01:45

New AIM-260 Missiles Are So Secretive They Will Require A Custom Storage Bunker At Hill AFB

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The USAF's Fiscal Year 2020 military construction budget plan, dated March of 2019, details the need for $6.5M to build a "Joint Advanced Tactical Missile Storage Facility" at Hill AFB's sprawling Site A weapons storage area. The document goes into detail about the facility and its justification, mentioning the AIM-260 by name. It states:



This project is required to support the handling, inspection, and storing of the Airborne Intercept Missile (AIM)-260A Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (JATM) assets. The AIM-260A JATM program is rapidly expanding, highly sensitive missile program developed jointly by the Air Force and Navy to countercurrent and projected potential adversary aircraft, and to maintain air superiority under any wartime scenario. Potential adversaries are modernizing and innovating, putting at risk America’s technological advantages in air and space.

The AIM-260A JATM program is the number one air-delivered weapon priority for both the Air Force and the Navy; and out prioritizes other weapon system improvements and modernization efforts on any fielded aircraft. Because of the classified nature of this program, AIM 260A JATM assets cannot be housed in shared facilities with legacy munitions; and must be supported by a facility designed to meet specific operational requirements, and the stricter Special Access Program Facility security requirements.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... t-hill-afb
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sferrin

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Unread post02 Jul 2019, 02:04

Hill AFB sure has it's fingers in a lot of pies.
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Unread post02 Jul 2019, 16:36

"The Air Force may still be eying the idea of a single weapon to replace its air-to-air and anti-radiation missiles. The service has made clear that the AIM-260 program is separate from the still-ongoing Long Range Engagement Weapon (LREW) project, another secretive long-range air-to-air missile development effort."
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sferrin

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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 12:55

wrightwing wrote:"The Air Force may still be eying the idea of a single weapon to replace its air-to-air and anti-radiation missiles.


That makes no sense given the existence of this program:

AARGM.jpg


AARGM2.jpg


Unless this was doubling as an AAM.
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citanon

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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 13:22

I was listening to the Aviationweek podcast where they said the AF had given up on a single anti air anti radiation weapon.
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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 16:18

I wonder what that's range would be with an AMRAAM-D seeker and flying a parabolic flight path.. new AWACS killer?
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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 16:46

SpudmanWP wrote:I wonder what that's range would be with an AMRAAM-D seeker and flying a parabolic flight path.. new AWACS killer?

Are you referring to using an AARGM-ER as an AWACs killer?
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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 17:11

yes
sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:
SpudmanWP wrote:I wonder what that's range would be with an AMRAAM-D seeker and flying a parabolic flight path.. new AWACS killer?

Are you referring to using an AARGM-ER as an AWACs killer?
Yes
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Unread post03 Jul 2019, 17:18

Well, it is a big missile, but we don't know if it's already impressive A-G range is using a parabolic arc. I honestly suspect it is.
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Unread post11 Jul 2019, 01:07

Why would it be integrated with the f-22 first? Wouldn't that be the one platform where a longer-ranged missile is least needed?
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Unread post11 Jul 2019, 02:07

white_lightning35 wrote:Why would it be integrated with the f-22 first? Wouldn't that be the one platform where a longer-ranged missile is least needed?


No. It's the most likely aircraft to be defending high value assets. It should be as capable as possible.
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Unread post02 Aug 2019, 11:08

Two page PDF of article attached below.
JATM Breaks Cover
Sep 2019 Jamie Hunter

“The US military is developing a new advanced air-to-air missile to counter specific threats from China and Russia, and a few details have now emerged.

THE US AIR Force has revealed that it has been secretly developing a new air-to-air missile to supersede the AIM- 120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The Lockheed Martin AIM-260 Joint Air Tactical Missile (JATM) is to be fielded initially by the USAF on its F-22A Raptors and by the US Navy on its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in the forthcoming H16 System Configuration Set.

USAF Program Executive Officer for Weapons and Director of the Armament Directorate Brig Gen Anthony Genatempo told reporters at a media event at Wright- Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, on June 20, that the missile team includes the air force, navy and army, as well as Lockheed Martin. He said work began with Lockheed Martin on JATM in 2017 and that initial operating capability is set for 2022....

...‘It is meant to be the next air-to-air air dominance weapon for our air-toair fighters,’ Genatempo said. ‘It has a range greater than AMRAAM, different capabilities onboard to go after that specific threat set, but certainly longer legs.’...

Analysis
JATM cuts through a raft of different air dominance projects over the past decade that included Boeing’s Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile (JDRADM). The AIM- 260 appears to have been developed on an aggressive timeline and it is specifically designed to counter high-end Chinese and Russian fighters such as the J-20 and Su-57 and the new air-to-air missiles they will carry — including China’s impressive PL-15....

...The USAF is unwilling to divulge too many details about JATM, but range, improved seeker technology and countermeasures to mitigate advanced jamming techniques will be driving factors. It is known that AIM-120 manufacturer Raytheon has worked on air-breathing, throttleable, ramjet propulsion, the type of technology already fielded in MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), but there is no publicly available information on Lockheed’s powerplant solution for JATM. Due to internal weapons bay size limitations with the Raptor, the AIM-260 is likely to be of similar dimensions to the AMRAAM.”

Source: Combat Aircraft September 2019 Volume 20 Number 9
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Unread post02 Aug 2019, 13:15

Looks like the only thing new there is they imply it could be an air-breather but it's already been stated publicly that it's not. :? So I'm wondering what exactly, "broke cover"?

"Few technical details are known at this time. The new missile will be compatible with the AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) dimensions, but with greater range, and is planned to be carried in the F-22 weapons bay and on the F/A-18 at first, with the F-35 to follow. Gen. Genatempo also noted that the missile will not use ramjet propulsion, unlike the Meteor BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile) operational on Eurofighters and Gripens."

My money is it's something like a boosted CUDA.
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Unread post23 Nov 2021, 04:12

Testing Of The Secretive New AIM-260 Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile Is Well Underway

Publicly released documents reveal that QF-16 jets have been regularly supporting the AIM-260 missile program.

By Thomas Newdick November 22, 2021

The U.S. Air Force has been busy flying QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target, or FSAT, missions in support of the Lockheed Martin AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile program. While the AIM-260, or JATM, remains a highly secretive weapon, it’s now clear that test work is well underway, with around 30 FSAT missions last year alone. This would make sense given that the goal is to have the new missile start arming Air Force and Navy aircraft as early as next year.

Our Twitter contact @MIL_STD brought attention to the new developments after examining publicly released Air Force data recording various test missions flown by the QF-16 FSAT fleet. This consists of F-16 fighter jets converted to drones and used as targets and also flown as manned test assets for chase and range instrumentation flights. In drone mode, these aircraft are not always shot down even during live-fire events as often the missiles hurled at them are not equipped with live warheads. As such, close enough, within the blast radius of the missile’s warheads, can be considered a kill. You can read more about these jets here.


The Air Force first disclosed the existence of the AIM-260 program, which is a joint effort with the Navy, in 2019. Those two services intend for this missile to provide a new, longer-range weapon to replace the ubiquitous AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

@MIL_STD’s entire Twitter thread, portions of which are embedded below, is well worth a look, but the key details reveal that the FSAT fleet has been supporting JATM test work since April 2020, if not before. In that month, there were eight QF-16 missions in support of the new missile.




Whether some or all of these flights involved actual missile launches is unclear, although it’s certainly possible. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida was the launch point for these missions and the facility and its target drones are regularly used to support live-fire missile sorties. In the past, it was stated that JATM flight tests should begin this year.

Later in 2020, there seems to have another relative spike in JATM test activity, with six missions flown by the QF-16s in October alone, and another two missions canceled. At the same time, it should be remembered that the FSAT activity detailed in these documents is just one aspect of a much broader joint Air Force/Navy program on the path to getting the missile into service.


While the Air Force is yet to release any such data for this year, it’s clear that 2020 saw plenty of activity for the AIM-260 program, making the fact that these missions have not so far been spotted by photographers or other observers all the more surprising. That is unless the AIM-260 looks nearly identical to the AIM-120 it replaces, which would be an accomplishment considering its supposed major step-up in capability over the already extended-range AIM-120D.


Overall, the data from 2020 provides a tantalizing glimpse into a program that is being run very much out of the public eye. So secretive is the new missile, in fact, that the Air Force has invested $6.5 million in building a Joint Advanced Tactical Missile Storage Facility at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to help keep it secure under Special Access Program security requirements.

What we do know about the JATM itself has come primarily from brief comments made by Air Force leaders and other officials. Indeed, for a long time, the only official mention of the program that was publicly available online was a vague reference about the assistant program manager, an employee of Naval Air Systems Command, winning an award for outstanding logisticians in 2017.

Nevertheless, the new missile is expected to not only out-range the AIM-120 but offer performance that at least matches Chinese and Russian efforts in the field of very long-range air-to-air missiles. The Air Force has publicly said that the emergence of the Chinese PL-15, a long-range air-to-air missile featuring a dual-pulse rocket motor, was a key factor in the decision to start the AIM-260 program.


What we do know about the AIM-260 is that the new missile will have the same general diameter and length as AIM-120. This will, among other things, allow it to be carried inside internal weapons bays on stealth fighters that were designed to accommodate the AMRAAM.

The dimensional requirements mean that a ramjet powerplant, as used in the pan-European Meteor missile, is impossible. So, a new type of solid-fuel motor seems to be a given, perhaps a dual-pulse type to ensure energy across the flight envelope just like on the PL-15. As Aviation Week’s defense editor Steve Trimble has pointed out, this new propulsion unit could be combined with miniaturization of other components as a way of increasing the fuel load to eke out yet more range. Advanced highly-loaded grain propellant, which is also being developed for use in other air-to-air missiles, could help improve performance without increasing the overall form factor.



Trimble has pointed out that different options exist for the warhead, including a directional warhead, which could be smaller than the standard type, but with more accuracy meaning that it could be scaled down. Another option, as we have discussed in detail before, would be a hit-to-kill type missile, with no actual explosive charge, which is another concept that has been discussed in the past in relation to more compact air-to-air missile designs.



As well as the new missile itself, the Air Force is meanwhile busy working on other measures to extend the range at which enemy aircraft can be engaged in the air. This includes fielding new and more capable sensors, such as powerful active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars and infrared search and track systems.

Then there is the work on collaborative aerial engagements, including using networked and third-party sensors to provide targeting data for engagements without the launching aircraft locking the target up themselves. Recent exercises have focused on these types of complex ‘kill chain’ engagements, while the range at which the existing AMRAAM is being employed, in tests at least, is also increasing.

Speaking exclusively to The War Zone last year, Lieutenant Colonel Orion “Rhino” Vail, commander of Tyndall’s 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron, pointed out the impetus behind speeding up the introduction of new technology in support of operational testing. “We are trying to do all we can in accelerating the future faster,” he said. When asked specifically about the AIM-260, Vail confirmed: “I’ve been involved in discussions about that weapon.”



Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the AIM-260 will very likely be joined by other advanced long-range air-to-air weapons. Separate to the JATM program is the Long Range Engagement Weapon (LREW) project, being developed by Raytheon. Boeing recently unveiled a concept for a two-stage weapon, the Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or LRAAM, which you can read about here.


While the technical aspects of the AIM-260 remain classified, it has been confirmed that the Pentagon aims for the weapon to achieve initial operating capability next year.

Much of that urgency, it seems, is driven by AAM developments in China, especially, amid concerns that the People’s Liberation Army might be increasingly able to outrange American fighter jets with their own advanced air-to-air missiles.

Overall, while this is an ambitious timeline, but with this in mind, it should be no surprise that testing of the new weapon is now in full flow.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/4 ... l-underway
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