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SLAMRAAM, EFV Getting Axed?

The Pentagon is will reportedly slash the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and Army's Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile system that would have someday replaced the Stinger missile-based Avenger air defense system, according to Lexington Institute analyst Loren Thompson.

While the Army National Guard is strongly against the move since it would leave the Guard's seven avenger battalions with no replacement, the Army leadership recommended that the Pentagon chop the program in September.

The Raytheon-developed SLAMRAAM is essentially a ground-based version of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The Army and Raytheon had been conducting launch tests of the missile using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System or HIMARS. The system was originally designed to be mounted on a Humvee. Limited user tests of the SLAMRAAM system were supposed to begin in the next two months.

The system would have also replace the AMRAAM-based Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System, which are used by some Guard units to defend the airspace around Washington, D.C.

Raytheon was working to develop a longer range version of the missile for the SLAMRAAM program due to the fact that the AIM-120's reach is limited when fired from the ground instead of the air.

In addition to the SLAMRAAM, the Marine Corps' beleaguered Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) is "dead," while the amphibious service's F-35B Short Take-off and vertical Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter "looks safe aside from a delay in the initial operational capability" which had been set for 2012 remain funded, said Thompson in a Jan. 4 e-mail.

The Pentagon is expected to reveal the cuts on Thursday. Officials from Raytheon were not available for comment. We'll see what happens later this week.

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