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Raytheon Looks to Sell New Medium-Range Missile Abroad


Fresh off a successful test of a new extended-range missile, Raytheon Co. is looking to sell the munition abroad, officials said.

The world's largest missile-maker, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, partnered with Kongsberg Gruppen, an aerospace technology company in Norway, to develop the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile - Extended Range, or AMRAAM-ER.

Raytheon on Tuesday announced the Aug. 31 live-fire shot demonstrated the technology from the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, which is used by the U.S. to protect the Washington, D.C., region and several other countries.

"Right now, as you stand here, you're protected by a NASSM system with Raytheon missiles," Michael High, who manages the program for the company, said during an interview at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference.

By combining the guidance section from the front half of the AMRAAM and the larger rocket motor from back half of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, or ESSM, the new munition gives the system a 50 percent increase in range and a 70 percent increase in altitude, according to Raytheon.

"It increases our range, it increases our altitude, it increases our speed, it increases our [G forces] available at intercept -- all the good things you'd want," High said. "So now we have a true medium-range capability against cruise missiles, helicopters -- hovering targets, I should say -- fighter aircraft and UAVs."

The missile is designed to replace the MIM-23 Hawk, which dates to the 1960s. Making the upgrade would be low-risk, High said. The device would likely compete against European missile-maker MBDA's ASTER 30-SAMP/T.

The cost of Raytheon's new missile wasn't specified. AIM-120C variants cost roughly $400,000 per unit and AIM-120D versions cost upward of $1.7 million per unit, while the MIM-23 costs around a $250,000 per unit, according to public information.

Potential customers include the seven countries participating in the NASSM, which includes the U.S., Norway, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, an undisclosed country, and Oman, High said.

They also might include those governments that want to replace the Hawk, transition from short-range to medium-range munitions, or ensure compatibility with the longer-range Patriot batteries, High said.

The missile will be available to customers for deliveries in 2020, with a year expected to finalize foreign military sale agreements and two years to get into the AMRAAM production line, High said.

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