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Raytheon unveils new extended range AMRAAM

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The AMRAAM missile. A Raytheon photo

ABU DHABI (BNS): US defence major Raytheon has started development of the new extended range variant of the combat-proven AIM-20 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM).

The company announced about the new weapon, to be called AMRAAM-ER, at the ongoing International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2015 being held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Designed specifically for ground-based air defence, the AMRAAM-ER will enable intercepts at longer range and higher altitudes.

"With AMRAAM-ER, Raytheon is rewriting the book on ground-based air defence. The new missile will be even faster and more manoeuvrable than the current AMRAAM," said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon vice president of Air Warfare Systems.

"By leveraging many existing AMRAAM components, Raytheon can deliver AMRAAM-ER quickly and affordably with very low risk," he said.

The new missile will be integrated into the Norwegian defence firm Kongsberg-built NASAMS launcher.

NASAMS is the latest and most modern Medium Range Air Defence system. In partnership with Kongsberg, Raytheon has delivered more than 70 fire units to seven countries. It is the most commonly used Short and Medium Range Air Defence System in NATO, the company said.

Raytheon plans to flight test AMRAAM-ER before the end of this year.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is a modern beyond visual range air-to-air missile capable of all weather day and night performance. The combat-proven missile has been deployed on the F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier and F-4 fighters.

The AIM-120C5 and AIM-120C7 variants are currently undergoing integration on the F-35 stealth fighter and will be ready to meet F-35B initial operational capability in 2015.

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