Upgraded AMRAAM completes series of captive flight tests

The Form, Fit, Function Refresh program passes its most stressing test to date

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2021) — Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, has successfully completed the latest series of captive flight tests of the upgraded Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile under the Form, Fit, Function Refresh program, known as F3R.

During the tests, an instrumented captive missile was flown on multiple F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 air-to-air intercept missions, stressing the latest F3R and System Improvement Program, SIP 3F, software updates and demonstrating the weapon’s functionality in a realistic environment. This success builds off previous flight testing, including two AMRAAM® safe separation launches from a Navy F/A-18 and multiple captive carry missions.

“In addition to allowing for continued AMRAAM production, the F3R program with SIP 3F will deliver significantly enhanced capabilities, enabling the missile to address the rapidly evolving threats we are seeing from our adversaries today,” said Paul Ferraro, vice president of Air Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “These captive carry flights are essential for assessing the software upgrades’ performance, while verifying the missile meets all its aircraft communication interface requirements.”

The data gathered from these flight tests will inform the final software build, which began extensive qualification testing in November 2021, followed by several guided live fire events planned for 2022.

Under the F3R program, engineers used model-based systems engineering initiatives and other digital technologies to upgrade multiple circuit cards and hardware into the guidance section of the missile and to rehost legacy software in the AIM-120-D-3 and AIM-120-C-8 AMRAAMs. This will enhance the weapon’s capabilities and extend the production line for Air Force, Navy, and allied partners.

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Raytheon Missiles & Defense brings global customers the most advanced end-to-end solutions delivering the advantage of one innovative partner to detect, track, and intercept threats. With a broad portfolio of air and missile defense systems, precision weapons, radars, command and control systems and advanced defense technologies Raytheon Missiles & Defense solutions protect citizens, warfighters and infrastructure in more than fifty countries around the world.