From 100 miles away: New air-to-air missiles designed to destroy long-range Chinese targets
The AMRAAM is on its way out- and its replacement will have a lot more reach.
The U.S. military is working on a joint service long-range air-to-air missile to replace the venerable AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, known as the AIM-260 Joint Air Tactical Missile, or JATM.
Designed for Chinese threats (and their military allies), the JATM is the U.S. military’s answer to the Chinese PL-15 Very Long Range Air-To-Air Missile (VLRAAM), which has a suspected range of 200 kilometers. Upping the ante, the Chinese are also developing the PL-21, which has a range of 300 kilometers.
“[The Aim-260] is meant to be the next air-to-air air dominance weapon for our air-to-air fighters,” Air Force Weapons Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo told Task & Purpose. “It has a range greater than AMRAAM.”
Built by Lockheed Martin, the 260s will be mounted on F-22 Raptors and F/A-18 Hornets after tests begin in 2021. It will later be added to the F-35 Lightning II’s arsenal.
The AIM-120s will no longer be on the military’s purchase list after 2026, and will eventually be phased out.
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