Jump to content


Photo

Aim-260 (Amramm Replacement)


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 bfng3569

bfng3569

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1216 PM

Meet The AIM-260, The Air Force And Navy's Future Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile

 

 

https://www.thedrive...-to-air-missile

 

 

The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy have been quietly working together to develop a new air-to-air missile called the AIM-260 that will replace the venerable AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM. The two services are worried that the Chinese, in particular, have begun to outrange American fighter jets with their own advanced air-to-air missiles.

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Anthony Genatempo, the service’s Program Executive Officer for Weapons, provided details about the new missile in interviews with Aerospace Daily and Air Force Magazine during the Life Cycle Industry Days at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This event is primarily meant to help Air Force Materiel Command share updates and potential new opportunities with defense contractors, but is also open to the press.

 

he AIM-260 program, also known as the Joint Air Tactical Missile (JATM), has actually been going on for more than two years already, but this is the first time the Air Force or the Navy has publicly discussed it. At present, the only official mention of the project that is publicly available online appears to be a notice about the assistant program manager, an employee of Naval Air Systems Command, winning an award for outstanding logisticians in 2017.

"It is meant to be the next air-to-air air dominance weapon for our air-to-air fighters," Brigadier General Anthony Genatempo told Air Force Magazine. "It has a range greater than AMRAAM, different capabilities onboard to go after that specific threat set, but certainly longer legs."

 

The threat set Genatempo was talking about is future aerial opponents riding in advanced fighter jets, such as those that Russia and China are developing and are beginning to field, such as the Su-57 and the J-20, respectively. Those two countries have also been developing new, longer-range air-to-air missiles to go with those aircraft.

The Air Force officer said that the appearance of the Chinese PL-15, which uses a dual pulse rocket motor, in 2016 was the key factor that drove the Air Force and the Navy to begin the JATM program. Last year, a pair of J-20s flew a particularly notable flight routine at the biennial Zuhai air show with their ventral weapons bays open, showing a full load of four of these missiles.

 

There has been much speculation and confusion about what missile this nomenclature refers to over the years and its exact capabilities, but this would seem to suggest that the U.S. military is concerned that it may be close to matching, or even exceeding, the range of the latest AIM-120D variant. Raw range, of course, isn't the only factor in air-to-air combat and the AIM-120D has a host of other advanced features, which The War Zone has previously examined in depth.

There is also a possibility that there remains confusion within the U.S. military about the exact nomenclature of Chinese air-to-air missiles. In late 2016, images also emerged of an even longer-range Chinese missile, which has been referred to as both the PL-15 and as the PL-21.

 

Whatever the case, in 2017, the JATM program office hired Lockheed Martin to develop the new air-to-air missile. Otherwise, there are still few details about the design. Genatempo did say that the AIM-260 will not use a ramjet, the European Meteor air-to-air missile does, and will have a similar form factor to the existing AIM-120, but did not explain how it would then be possible then to achieve a significant increase in range, according to Aerospace Daily.

It is possible that advances in rocket motor and warhead technology may be enough to provide a considerable boost in range when combined with a new, streamlined body. For example, Northrop Grumman's AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) leverages similar developments, including a warhead that offers improved lethality in a smaller package, to create space for additional rocket fuel.

 

Brigadier General Genatempo didn't offer any specifics about the other "different capabilities" the AIM-260 would have as compared to the AIM-120. A dual-mode seeker that includes radar and an imaging infrared capability could be a very important addition in an age of ever-improving countermeasures. This would give the missile a means of homing in on its target even in the face of electronic warfare jamming during the terminal phase of flight. Similarly, if the missiles optics were get blinded or confused, it could fall back on its radar seeker. An ability to home in on a target's emissions, such as those from its own radar, could also give the JATM additional flexibility.

The AIM-260 itself will very likely feature advanced two-way data links in order to send and receive new information, allowing for more precise targeting, complete retasking of the missile in flight, and engaging targets based on data from offboard sources. The latter functionality would allow a fighter pilot to engage targets beyond the range the sensors on their own aircraft or fire the missile without having to activate their own radar, increasing the likelihood that enemy forces would detect them. The AIM-120D already has a two-way data link that has some third party targeting capabilities.

But keeping the weapon within the same size constraints of the AMRAAM will be especially important in order to integrate it into existing stealth fighters, such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which must carry their weapons internally in order to maximize their stealthy characteristics. The F-22 and the non-stealthy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are slated to be the first aircraft to carry the JATM, which Genatempo said is expected to begin flight testing in 2021 and begin initial operational testing the year afterward.

After that, integration on F-35 variants will occur, according to Air Force Magazine. It seems likely given this timeframe that the missile could find its way onto other Air Force fighter jets, including the services future F-15X Advanced Eagles.

 

“As I bring up JATM production, AMRAAM production is kind of going to start tailing off," Brigadier General Anthony Genatempo added.

There is also no explanation for why the new missile is called the AIM-260. The joint service designation system for missiles involves a three letter prefix – in this "AIM" for "Air Intercept Missile" – followed by an arbitrary number that is supposed to follow in sequence. The designation sequence has only recently hit the 180s, at least publicly, and it is highly unlikely that is has jumped so far ahead on still-classified projects alone. As such, "260" appears to be a deliberate choice with a specific meaning. It could be a reflection in some way of the missile's performance or a completely different reference, similar to the out of sequence designation for the B-21 Raider stealth bomber. The Air Force chose that nomenclature because the plane would be the "first bomber for the 21st century."

Regardless of what the designation means, a new air-to-air missile with a significantly greater range over the AIM-120D, as well as other improvements, will be a boon to both stealthy non-stealthy U.S. fighter jets. Improved networking capabilities down the road could allow non-stealthy aircraft, such as the Super Hornet, to act as missile trucks and engage targets beyond the range of their own radars and other sensors while also keeping as far away as possible for enemy aircraft and air defenses.

It is also worth noting that the AIM-260 appears to be just one part of a future family of advanced air-to-air weapons. The JATM program is separate from the Long Range Engagement Weapon (LREW) project. You can find The War Zone's analysis of the LREW missile, which Raytheon is developing, here.

 

The Air Force Research Laboratory is also continuing its work on smaller, next-generation, hit-to-kill air-to-air missiles as part of the Miniature Self-Defense Munition (MSDM) and Small Advanced Capability Missile (SACM) programs. But the Air Force and the Navy appear to be very focused developing and fielding of the JATM in the near term.

The AIM-260 sounds like an exciting and critical new capability for America's fighter jets to help them keep their edge against potential opponents.

 

 


  • 0

#2 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1257 PM

I cant find any details concerning the system.
  • 0

#3 bfng3569

bfng3569

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1338 PM

I cant find any details concerning the system.

 

doesn't seem like there is much out there in the public.


  • 0

#4 TTK Ciar

TTK Ciar

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,992 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sebastopol, CA, USA
  • Interests:material engineering, composite armor, GPC, battletank technology

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1927 PM

"dual pulse rocket motor" .. is that a dual-thrust rocket motor or a pulsed rocket motor with two segments?

Never mind, I found another source which states it's a dual-thrust rocket motor.  Guess the author just threw "pulse" in there to sound scary.


Edited by TTK Ciar, 24 June 2019 - 1929 PM.

  • 0

#5 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1930 PM

Pretty sure that's a standard thing in modern AAMs. I think the initial pulse boosts to the maximum speed of the missile and then s sustainer stage maintains the speed until burnout.


  • 0

#6 TTK Ciar

TTK Ciar

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,992 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sebastopol, CA, USA
  • Interests:material engineering, composite armor, GPC, battletank technology

Posted 24 June 2019 - 1941 PM

Right, but a "pulsed rocket motor" refers to a different thing -- segmenting the solid fuel so that individual segments can be ignited as needed, or on a schedule.  So "dual pulsed rocket motor" had me skritching my head for a bit.


  • 0

#7 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 24 June 2019 - 2040 PM

I think youre right; dual thrust is probably more accurate. Sure someone will correct.
  • 0

#8 GARGEAN

GARGEAN

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,103 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 25 June 2019 - 0108 AM

Pretty sure that's a standard thing in modern AAMs. I think the initial pulse boosts to the maximum speed of the missile and then s sustainer stage maintains the speed until burnout.

Thing is - it's surprisingly rare now. By far not all MRAAMs use it.
  • 0

#9 Stuart Galbraith

Stuart Galbraith

    Just Another Salisbury Tourist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 53,397 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eloiland

Posted 25 June 2019 - 0159 AM

Its such an old idea, even Blue Steel did it.

 

BlueSteelMissileRear.JPG


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 25 June 2019 - 0159 AM.

  • 0

#10 DB

DB

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11,215 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hertfordshire, England

Posted 25 June 2019 - 0755 AM

That's somewhat different.

Typical is grain shaping to provide boost and sustain thrust profiles. The acceleration of missiles is generally very high, so the boost phase is often very short, with most of the rocket burn duration being sustain.

Anyway, unless they significantly improve the size of the rocket motor, they'll have trouble getting out to Meteor's range against manoeuvring targets. There's only so much repackaging can give you, although perhaps the new generation of reactive warheads may help.

I wonder if they're considering deep chord narrow aspect wings, see for example Standard ARM, ASTER, etc.
  • 0

#11 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 25 June 2019 - 1020 AM

I assume they are widening the rocket motor - I don't see how else they could get more range and internal carriage; I think the AIM-120D maxed that out with current technology. I don't believe the US has any experience with ramjet SAMs or AAMs since Talos.


  • 0

#12 bfng3569

bfng3569

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 25 June 2019 - 1200 PM

It is possible that advances in rocket motor and warhead technology may be enough to provide a considerable boost in range when combined with a new, streamlined body. For example, Northrop Grumman's AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) leverages similar developments, including a warhead that offers improved lethality in a smaller package, to create space for additional rocket fuel.

 

 

how much range were the able to get out the above?  if the assumption is a similar approach?


  • 0

#13 Dawes

Dawes

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,573 posts

Posted 25 June 2019 - 2049 PM

Even AGM-65 Maverick has a dual thrust motor.


  • 0

#14 bfng3569

bfng3569

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 183 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 1117 AM

https://www.thedrive...ker-at-hill-afb

 

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.

CURRENT SITUATION: There are currently insufficient numbers of suitable storage facilities on Air Force controlled land in Utah to support the obligated storage mission of this rapidly expanding program that is vital to the national security of the United States. The majority of existing facilities currently used to store legacy missile assets are WWII era Munitions Storage Magazines (MSM) or "Igloos" located in the munitions storage area of Hill AFB. These facilities were originally designed and constructed to store surplus artillery rounds and were slated for demolition due to their decrepit condition and due to the high cost to operate and maintain them. However, because of START treaty obligations, these facilities were refurbished, such that, they are now able to minimally provide a suitable environments to store a single ICBM booster each. None are available to be adapted to support the AIM-260A JATM storage mission.

IMPACT IF NOT PROVIDED: Without this projects [sic], the required rapid fielding of the AIM-260A JATM could be delayed and could put at risk our nation's efforts to maintain air superiority advantages in highly contested environments.

ADDITIONAL: This project meets the criteria/scope specified in Air Force Manual 32-1084 "Facility Requirements." This project does not fall within or partly within the 100-year flood plain. A preliminary analysis of reasonable options for satisfying the requirement was done. Those options included renovation of existing facilities, use of DoD facilities at other bases, and new construction. The analysis indicated that new construction is the only options that will fully meet operational requirements. A formal economic analysis has been requested and will be approved prior to the president's budget submission. Project Supporting Facilities exceed 25% of total project cost due to the extensive support work for earth covered facility. This design shall conform to criteria established in the Air Force Corporate Facilities Standards (AFCFS), the Installation Facilities Standards (IFS) [ifavailable], but will not employ a standard facility design because there is no AF standard facility design for this project and there is no applicable standard design from Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC).

 

 

Apologies to Special-K below who i believe had a started a thread on this previously that i missed when i started this one.


  • 0

#15 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 02 July 2019 - 1456 PM

This does all make it sound like this has been a project in the works for some time that is rapidly being pushed out. I got so used to how open the US was with its weapons development in the 90s it is almost culture shock when programs like this suddenly appear, though I'm glad people are taking secrecy seriously once again.


  • 0

#16 Dawes

Dawes

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,573 posts

Posted 02 July 2019 - 2130 PM

Hopefully they've got most of the bugs and snafus wrung out of the design by now. We don't need an "F-35 Junior".

 

The US track record on AAM's hasn't been all that stellar. The AIM-4 Falcon was pretty much good only for ballast (although admittedly it was an early generation attempt). AIM-54 Phoenix reportedly missed all the combat shots taken by US Tomcats - the Iranians seem to have had better luck.

 

AIM-9X seems to be a pretty decent missile. Early attempts to replace it, such as AIM-82 Agile flamed out.

 

AIM-7 Sparrow lives on as Evolved Seasparrow. Not sure if any F-15 units still use them or not. Although many misses in Vietnam were chalked up to the weapon being fired out of parameters, it was never that reliable. At around 510 pounds, not a lightweight either.


  • 0

#17 Josh

Josh

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,284 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York City

Posted 02 July 2019 - 2241 PM

To be fair, the US pioneered at lot of air to air. If it weren't for sidewinder up the ass of a Chinese fighter I doubt there would be such a thing as the AA-2. Admittedly, the US was *way* behind on HOB helmet mounted sights.


  • 0

#18 Stuart Galbraith

Stuart Galbraith

    Just Another Salisbury Tourist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 53,397 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eloiland

Posted 03 July 2019 - 0224 AM

Well they had a not dissimilar concept in helmet mounted sights on attack helicopters as far back as the early 1980's. The problem was nobody saw the utility of bolting them into fighter aircraft, and making the missiles cueable.

 

Didnt I read somewhere that the Soviets managed to nick an Apache pilots helmet at a Farnborough air show, and reverse engineer it, or is that a sour grapes myth created by the Americans?


  • 0

#19 Stuart Galbraith

Stuart Galbraith

    Just Another Salisbury Tourist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 53,397 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eloiland

Posted 03 July 2019 - 0228 AM

Hopefully they've got most of the bugs and snafus wrung out of the design by now. We don't need an "F-35 Junior".

 

The US track record on AAM's hasn't been all that stellar. The AIM-4 Falcon was pretty much good only for ballast (although admittedly it was an early generation attempt). AIM-54 Phoenix reportedly missed all the combat shots taken by US Tomcats - the Iranians seem to have had better luck.

 

AIM-9X seems to be a pretty decent missile. Early attempts to replace it, such as AIM-82 Agile flamed out.

 

AIM-7 Sparrow lives on as Evolved Seasparrow. Not sure if any F-15 units still use them or not. Although many misses in Vietnam were chalked up to the weapon being fired out of parameters, it was never that reliable. At around 510 pounds, not a lightweight either.

 

 

The problem the Americans had in Iraq (and I believe them on this) is that the Iraqi's, remembering how damn good the Iranians were in their F14's, gave all the USN ones a wide berth. And perhaps the Awacs was prioritizing the USAF as well, it wouldnt surprise me. The result was they were firing at fighter sized targets, usually running away at long range. Which kind of explains why the pk was so bad.

 

The iranians were either using phoenix at short range in active mode (where it basically acts like a large radar guided sidewinder with a huge warhead) or they were shooting at targets advancing towards them with poor RWR's. Its not surprising they did so well. What is surprising is they also seem to have done fairly well with the Hawk missiles they kitbashed into air launched missiles. One pilot claimed to bring a Mig29 down with one, although his poor Tomcat was a bit beat up by the experience.

 

This is well worth listening to for the Iranian pilots experiences.


  • 0

#20 Special-K

Special-K

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 760 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Western New York State, USA
  • Interests:All things military, Shooting, Cycling, Hiking and Camping.

Posted 03 July 2019 - 0230 AM

https://www.thedrive...ker-at-hill-afb

 

 

 

 

Apologies to Special-K below who i believe had a started a thread on this previously that i missed when i started this one.

 

 

 

No apologies necessary!  We're all here for the same reason and this is an interesting discussion.  MODS, feel free to merge or nuke mine if you want  :)

 

 

 

-K 


  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users