Maj. Douglas Rosenstock fires an AIM-120 AMRAAM from an F-35 Lightning II during a weapons test surge at Edwards AFB, Calif. Lockheed Martin photo by Darrin Russel via USAF.
DAYTON, Ohio—The Air Force is developing a new air-to-air missile, dubbed the AIM-260, that offers longer range than Raytheon’s Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and would be used to counter the Chinese PL-15 weapon.
Air Force Weapons Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo told reporters in a June 20 interview here the service is working with Lockheed Martin, the Army, and the Navy to field the Joint Advanced Tactical Missile in 2022. Work began about two years ago.
“It has a range greater than AMRAAM, different capabilities onboard to go after that specific [next generation air-dominance] threat set, but certainly longer legs,” he said. “As I bring up JATM production, AMRAAM production is kind of going to start tailing off.”
The weapon is initially planned to fly in the F-22’s main weapons bay and on the Navy’s F/A-18, with the F-35 to follow. Flight tests will begin in 2021 and initial operational capability is slated for 2022, Genatempo said.
“It is meant to be the next air-to-air air dominance weapon for our air-to-air fighters,” he said.
The Air Force will buy its last AMRAAMs in fiscal 2026 as JATM ramps up, answering combatant commanders’ needs, Genatempo said.
He told Air Force Magazine the service hasn’t settled on how many JATMs it might buy in the outyears or how the program will ramp up.
“The future of what JATM looks like, especially out in that outyear increment, is very, very up in the air right now,” Genatempo said. “As far as lot sizes go, it’s on the order of a couple hundred per lot and I don’t think we have a definite plan.”
He expects JATM could be in production as long as AMRAAM, which was first deployed in 1991.