Air Force AMRAAM contract hints at future fighter integration

By Sara Sirota / March 4, 2021 at 7:58 PM

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $74 million contract to integrate the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile with existing fighter jets "and other current inventory or next-generation platforms that may join the Air Force or Navy inventory before the end of fiscal 2029," according to a Defense Department contract notice released today.

The notice did not name a particular platform Raytheon may be integrating AMRAAM with, and an Air Force spokesman did not immediately reply to Inside Defense’s request for comment.

The service has two known efforts to consider future fighter jet options.

One is the Next-Generation Air Dominance project that is evaluating the use of digital engineering to develop new aircraft systems and technology and has already flown a proof-of-concept demonstrator.

The Air Force separately has begun a study to assess solutions for a new tactical fighter aircraft that will, in part, consider the merits of procuring a clean-sheet "4.5-generation" jet to conduct operations against low-end threats, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown told reporters last month.

The Navy is also pursuing its own Next-Generation Air Dominance platform as a successor to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Today's notice states Raytheon will provide aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance and simulation support to integrate AMRAAM with the jets. The work will primarily occur in Tucson, AZ, until March 2032 when the contract ends.