The ASRAAM or (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile) features exceptional maneuverability (up to 60 g at sea level) with vectored thrust and a LOAL (Lock on after Launch) capability. The latter allows greater flexibility in combat with targets behind the launching aircraft being subject to attack. It also has a high speed of greater than Mach 3 (2,302 mph / 3704 kph). Indeed, the manufacturer MBDA claims it's the fastest within visual range (WVR) air-to-air misisle. A focal plane array provides a thermal image of the target, meaning it is far harder to escape a tracking missile. It was intended to complement the AMRAAM Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile and replace the aging Sidewinder. Because of changing circumstances, the U.S. withdrew support and Germany went on to develop their own missile: the IRIS-T. Meanwhile the ASRAAM entered service in 1998 with the UK for Tornado and Typhoon aircraft. Currently work is proceeding to integrate the weapon onto Royal Air Force F-35B's. The ASRAAM has seen some limited export success with both India and Australia as operators. India has ordered ASRAAMs for its Jaguar strike aircraft. It also is looking into equipping its Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet with the missile, replacing the current Russian-built Vympel R-73 air-to-air missiles. Australia uses the ASRAAM with its F/A-18 Hornets but AIM-9X Sidewinders with its F/A-18E/F 'Super Hornets'.
|Type||Short Range Air-to-Air Missile|
|Propulsion||Dual-Burn, High-Impulse Solid Rocket Motor|
|Guidance||IIR Focal Plane Array and Strapdown Inertial|
|Warhead||22 lb (10 kg) HE Blast/Fragmentation|
|Fuzing||Laser Proximity and Impact|
|Weight||194 lb (88 kg)|
|Length||9.5 ft (2.9 m)|
|Diameter||6.5 in (166 mm)|
|Range||in excess of 15.5 miles (25 km) 1 31 mi (50 km) 2|
|Speed||Mach 3+ (2,302+ mph / 3704+ kph)|
|1||According to the manufacturer: MBDA|
|2||According to Military-Today and Global Security.org|
Estimates vary by source, especially range.
Photo: Geoffrey Lee/MOD Licence
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Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Deagel Guide to Military Equipment and Civil Aviation
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