Sign In

SPECS: AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM)

Share This Article

America’s AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air missile, better known as the AMRRAM, is a radar-guided missile carried by a variety of fighters to engage enemy aircraft at beyond-visual ranges. The Air Force lists the AMRAAM’s range as 20+ miles, which, in terms of the weapon’s latest iterations, could be a contender for understatement of the century.

It has been widely reported by reputable media outlets that the latest iteration of the AMRAAM, known as the AIM-12D, actually has a range of at least 87 nautical miles, which translates to about 100 miles, or 161 kilometers.

To that end, in March of 2021, the U.S. Air Force announced that an F-15C Eagle had set a new record for the longest recorded air-to-air kill in history when it engaged a BQM-167 subscale target drone from “the furthest distance ever recorded” over  Tyndall AFB in Florida. However, the Air Force did not disclose the actual range of this engagement.

Over more than three decades since the missile reached its initial operating capability, over 40 countries have placed at least one of the four AMRAAM iterations into service.

Related: SPECS: AIM-9 Sidewinder missile

AMRAAM’s replacement

Artist render of F-22 Raptor firing a new air-to-air missile that may be an AIM-260.

But the U.S. now has a longer-ranged radar-guided air-to-air missile in development

The AIM-260 JATM is perhaps the highest-profile new air-to-air missile in development for the United States. Slated to replace the long-serving AIM-120 AMRAAM, the AIM-260 is expected to be about the same size, but with a significant increase in range meant to offset the reach of China’s much-touted PL-15 radar-guided air-to-air missile, which has a claimed range of around 124 miles. Seeing as the AMRAM is already capable of reaching targets in triple-digit ranges, this advanced new replacement is expected to offer a significant leap in capability over the PL-15, renewing America’s beyond-visual-range advantage.

The joint Air Force and Navy JATM development effort was first disclosed in 2019, though few details have surfaced since. To date, the full range, propulsion type, or capability set expected to be offered by this missile all remain classified. All we know for certain is that, because this weapon is expected to offer similar dimensions to the AMRAAM, it should be easily stowed within the weapons bays of stealth fighters like the F-35 and F-22.

Related: America has 6 new air-to-air missiles headed for service

AIM-120 AMRAAM Specs

(U.S. Air Force photo)

The following are the specs of the AIM-120 AMRAAM. (All specifications provided by the U.S. Air Force.)

General Characteristics
Primary Function:
 Air-to-air tactical missile
Contractor: Hughes Aircraft Co. and Raytheon Co.
Power Plant: High performance
Length: 143.9 inches (366 centimeters)
Launch Weight: 335 pounds (150.75 kilograms)
Diameter: 7 inches (17.78 centimeters)
Wingspan: 20.7 inches (52.58 centimeters)
Range: 20+ miles (17.38+ nautical miles)
Speed: Supersonic
Guidance System: Active radar terminal/inertial midcourse
Warhead: Blast fragmentation
Unit Cost: $386,000
Date Deployed: September 1991

You can learn more about the AIM-120 AMRAAM on the Air Force fact sheet here.

Feature image: U.S. Air Force

Read more from Sandboxx News

Related Posts
Alex Hollings

Alex Hollings is a writer, dad, and Marine veteran.