Quietly unveiled at last year's Paris air show was a new missile for Raytheon's Surface Launched AMRAAM (SL-AMRAAM) surface-to-air missile (SAM) system. One reason that it attracted little attention was that the mockup looked like an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), because basically that is what it was. The SLAMRAAM Extended Range (ER) is essentially an ESSM motor and warhead fitted with the AMRAAM's active-radar seeker.
Raytheon has now disclosed that a SLAMRAAM-ER test vehicle was fired in May fron Norway's Andoya test range. This followed a 12-week concept demonstration program that involved Raytheon's Missile Systems and Integrated Defense Systems unit, NAMMO (which supplies the motor) and Kongsberg, Raytheon's partner on the SLAMRAAM-based Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS). The test was intended to show that the bigger missile could be launched from the same canister used for the AIM-120 and the AIM-9X. The nest step is the definition of a full-scale R&D program.
SLAMRAAM-ER has a range "slightly greater than Hawk, depending what the target decides to do", Raytheon says. It allows the SLAMRAAM system to operate with three missiles - the agile AIM-9X for close-in engagements, the medium-range AMRAAM and the new weapon.
The development of SLAMRAAM-ER parallels Rafael's integration of the long-range Stunner missile, co-developed with Raytheon as part of the David's Sling missile defense system, into the Spyder air-defense system, which like SLAMRAAM is based on the use of AAMs in the SAM role.
pic: Bill Sweetman