Raytheon, Air Force, and Navy testers recently completed operational test and evaluation of the latest Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) variant, paving the way for its initial operational capability, the company announced. “The AIM-120D represents a significant improvement in air-to-air weapons capabilities and the technologies it brings to the battlefield … in the air-to-air arena,” company program director Ron Krebs said in an? April 9 release. The missile performed outstandingly in a variety of challenging air-to-air scenarios across the spectrum of flight profiles, leading the Air Force to clear it for operational use, according to Raytheon. The Navy already declared AIM-120D IOC and plans to deploy the missile this year. The AIM-120D variant offers improved range, GPS-assisted guidance, updated datalinks, and jam resistance, in addition to greater lethality. Operational testing resumed in 2013 after earlier software and hardware glitches were addressed.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.