The US Air Force is looking for “novel” approaches to a new class of faster and longer-ranged air-to-air missiles, according to a request for information released May 5, but it’s not clear how these new weapons would complement several existing new dogfight missile programs.
The solicitation, released by Air Force Materiel Command’s Air Force Research Laboratory, at the Eglin weapons directorate, seeks industry ideas for technologies applicable to new dogfight missiles, which presumably would improve or replace the current generation of AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder, and complement the secretive AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile.
The AFRL wants companies to indicate their interest to work on the project by June 18. It did not say when a program of record might begin. AFRL’s point of contact on the solicitation could not be reached, and AFMC had no immediate comment.
In a Q&A to appear in the June issue of Air Force Magazine, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes said the Air Force needs fifth-generation weapons to go with its fifth-generation platforms.
“We’ll have to continue to make sure our weapons evolve like the platforms do,” he said. “We need weapons that can fit inside the weapons bays of our fifth-gen platforms, the F-22 and the F-35, and then we need weapons that can survive against those future threats and make it all the way to their target.” The AIM-260 JATM is one of those, he said. (end of excerpt)
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