US Air Force Funds Boeing Dual Stage Air-to-Air Missile Concept

The US Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Boeing a $9.8 million contract in support of its compact air-to-air missile and extended-range air-to-air missile development. 

The contract is a response to the Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile (LRAAM) concept Boeing revealed at the annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference last year, the company told The War Zone.

The work is expected to be completed by September 2027.

Two-Stage Missile

The two-stage LRAAM concept comprises a kill vehicle attached to a booster section that falls apart after the initial burst propelling the front section toward the target.

Having a separate kill segment cuts down the drag and weight associated with a similar single-stage missile. 

Moreover, using a kill vehicle’s sheer force for impact, rather than a warhead, enhances the missile’s maneuverability.

AMRAAM Replacement

Boeing launched the concept following a 2020 US Air Force Research Laboratory call for a new class of “faster, longer-range air-to-air missile development,” including a multipulse, air-breathing, two-stage missile design.

The new missiles would improve or replace the current generation of AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder, and complement the under-development AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile.

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