13 Facts About AIM-120 AMRAAM


AIM-120 AMRAAM is the world's most popular beyond-visual-range missile; as of 2008 more than 14,000 had been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers.

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The AIM-120 AMRAAM has been used in several engagements, achieving sixteen air-to-air kills in conflicts over Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, India, and Syria.

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The European partners needed AIM-120 AMRAAM to be integrated on aircraft as small as the BAe Sea Harrier.

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Finally, the AIM-120 AMRAAM became one of the primary air-to-air weapons of the new Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter, which needed to place all of its weapons into internal weapons bays in order to help achieve an extremely low radar cross-section.

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AIM-120 AMRAAM was developed as the result of an agreement, among the United States and several other NATO nations to develop air-to-air missiles and to share production technology.

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AIM-120 AMRAAM was used for the first time on December 27,1992, when a USAF General Dynamics F-16D Fighting Falcon shot down an Iraqi MiG-25 that violated the southern no-fly-zone.

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The AIM-120 AMRAAM gained a second victory in January 1993 when an Iraqi MiG-23 was shot down by a USAF F-16C.

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At that point, three launches in combat had resulted in three kills, resulting in the AIM-120 AMRAAM's being informally named "slammer" in the second half of the 1990s.

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AIM-120 AMRAAM serves as a follow-on to the AIM-7 Sparrow missile series.

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Not all armed services using the AIM-120 AMRAAM have elected to purchase the mid-course update option, which limits AIM-120 AMRAAM's effectiveness in some scenarios.

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The RAF initially opted not to use mid-course update for its Tornado F3 force, only to discover that without it, testing proved the AMRAAM was less effective in beyond visual range engagements than the older semi-active radar homing BAE Skyflash, since the AIM-120's own radar is necessarily of lesser range and power as compared to that of the launch aircraft.

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AIM-120 AMRAAM was due to be replaced by the USAF, the US Navy, and the US Marine Corps after 2020 by the Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile, but it was terminated in the 2013 budget plan.

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In 2017, work on the AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile began to create a longer-ranged replacement for the AIM-120 AMRAAM to contend with foreign weapons like the Chinese PL-15.

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