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From: "Paul F Austin" <>
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Is AMRAAM useless?
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 14:06:44 -0500

J. L. Yu wrote in message ...
>I have been hearing about Russian "super-missiles" with ranges of beyond
>100 miles here on this newsgroup. On the other hand, the range for AMRAAM
>is usually quoted around 40 miles, and in flight sims the actual usable
>range is around 15-30 miles.
>Doesn't this mean that the AMRAAM is practically useless in a future air
>engagement, as the enemy will always get off the first shot? Or is there
>something I'm missing? I hope so.

Like everything else, it depends. It's easy enough to build an AAM with
arbitrarily long range. You may need a BUFF to carry it but you can do it.
Your seeker may not reach that far but the aero range can be anything you

AIM-120 was optimized as much for range as it was for seeker performance.
It's smaller (7 inches in diameter) than the AIM-7s so it's light enough to
be slung on a wingtip shoe. The larger Sparrow was limited (on an F-16) to
two rounds per bird. Smaller missiles make for more stowed kills.

You can exploit improvements in propulsion to get the longer range in the
same package, that's what FAMRAAM is intended to do. You only need to do it
if your seakers and doctrine support it. Remember that production of AIM-54s
was stopped for want of targets at extreme range. Alternatively, you can
build a 5 inch airframe with AMRAAM performance and increase your loadout
some more. In the past, Europeans have shied away from AAMs with ranges much
more than 30nm because planners couldn't see much use for them within the
constraints of European air space.

I don't have any insider information on Russian seeker technology but it
seems likely without off-board sensors, that increases in aero range
wouldn't be useful often and you  _always_ pay for the extra weight. AA-11s
are a much more important threat to possible opponents.

"That feature is current supported only in the documentation."

Paul F Austin

From: "Paul F Austin" <>
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Is AMRAAM useless?
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 13:37:31 -0500

j.steitler wrote in message ...
>Radar is everthing, range means little. My website explains that the AIM 120
>has its own active radar, allowing it to be a fire n forget weapon, so the
>pilot can concentrate on evade and escape after taking the shot. Also, the
>missile is like a pitbull. If it briefly loses tracking on a target, the
>radar will put the missile on a short term orbit until it acquires the
>target again-Jay

The K (Ka?) band RADAR in the AIM120 is a fairly short range system (modest
power, aperature and signal processing gain). The active seeker is intended
for end-game homing. Flyout is on autopilot using updates from the launching
aircraft. The launcher _can_ turn away but against a manuevering target, the
Pk goes way down.

As far as autonomous re-acquisition is concerned, I've never heard that and
find it difficult to credit. I _really_ wouldn't want to be in the same sky
with a missile set up to "just kill something".

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