AIM-260 JATM
TypeBeyond-visual-range air-to-air missile
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerLockheed Martin
ProducedIn development. Expected sometime in 2024.[1][2]
Specifications
Maximum firing rangeAt least 200 km (120 mi)?[3]
WarheadHigh explosive blast-fragmentation

Maximum speed Mach 5
Guidance
system
Inertial guidance, two way data link, active radar homing
Launch
platform
Aircraft:

The AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (JATM) is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) under development by Lockheed Martin.[3] Designed to address advanced threats,[4] the missile is expected to replace or supplement the AIM-120 AMRAAM currently in US service. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) considers the AIM-260A JATM program to be the number one air-delivered weapon priority for both the Air Force and the Navy; and its acquisition out-prioritizes other weapon system improvements and modernization efforts on any fielded aircraft.[5]

This program differs from the Long-Range Engagement Weapon being developed by Raytheon.[6]

Development

Initial launch platforms were expected to be, and currently are, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, with integration with the F-35 Lightning II and F-15EX Eagle II being planned afterward.[7]

The AIM-260 program began in 2017 in response to long-range missiles developed by potential adversaries, specifically the Chinese PL-15.[7] FSAT testing for the JATM was confirmed to have started as early as April 2020,[8] and testing in general for the missile is currently ongoing. It is yet to achieve initial operational capability (IOC). The AIM-260 production is expected to overtake AIM-120 production by 2026.[7][9]

Development of the missile has been highly classified; it is a Special Access Program.[5] In FY 2020, the U.S. Air Force appropriated $6.5m for the construction of a custom storage vault at Hill AFB specifically for the JATM, citing the classified nature of the program.[5][9]

In November 2021, it was revealed that the missile will have similar dimensions to the AIM-120 in order to ensure a minimal disruption of launch platform technology.[2] This would ensure compatibility with the F-22 Raptor which would allow for a decrease in the U.S. Air Force's fleet of F-22s due to the increase in combat effectiveness.[1] The exact range of the JATM is classified, as is that of its predecessor the AIM-120D-3 variant of the AMRAAM, but defense analysts expect it to outrange the AIM-120D-3 with a range of at least 100+ miles.[9] According to defense editor Steve Trimble of Aviation Week, "We've seen charts for the Air Force range requirements for Eglin Air Force Base showing circles for the test area for AMRAAM and the test area for the JATM [...] the AIM-260 missile has a range circle that's roughly double the size of the AMRAAM circle."[5][10]

On May 2, 2023, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall told the Senate Armed Services Committee that JATM will "hopefully" enter production this year, as well as confirming that the JATM is expected to arm the Air Force's upcoming unmanned Collaborative Combat Aircraft.[11] According to Air Force Major Kevin Autrey, the lead F-22 Raptor operational test pilot with the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, live-fire testing of the AIM-260 was slated to begin in summer of 2023.[9]

See also

Related lists

References

  1. ^ a b Axe, David. "The USAF's new air to air missile, the AIM-260 JATM". www.key.aero. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Newdick, Thomas (November 22, 2021). "Testing Of The Secretive New AIM-260 Long-Range Air-To-Air, Air-To-Ground Missile Is Well Underway". The Drive. Archived from the original on November 22, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (JATM) / LREW (Long-range engagement weapon)". Global Security. Archived from the original on October 23, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "Revolutionising Aerial Warfare: What to Expect From America's New AIM-260 Missile". Archived from the original on April 20, 2020. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Trevithick, Tyler Rogoway and Joseph (July 1, 2019). "New AIM-260 Missiles Are So Secretive They Will Require A Custom Storage Bunker At Hill AFB". The War Zone. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  6. ^ Trevithick, Joseph (June 21, 2019). "Meet The AIM-260, The Air Force And Navy's Future Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile". The Drive. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Cohen, Rachel (June 20, 2019). "Air Force Developing AMRAAM Replacement to Counter China". Air Force Magazine. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "SAM.gov". sam.gov. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c d Trevithick, Joseph (May 2, 2023). "Classified AIM-260 Air-To-Air Missiles To Arm Future Air Force Drones". The War Zone. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  10. ^ "Podcast: The Long Road to AIM-260, the U.S.'s Newest Missile | Aviation Week Network". aviationweek.com. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  11. ^ Tirpak, John A. (May 2, 2023). "Kendall and Brown: JATM Will Start Production This Year, Equip Collaborative Combat Aircraft". Air & Space Forces Magazine. Archived from the original on May 3, 2023. Retrieved October 24, 2023.