Tactical air-to-ground missile systems technology being developed by the U.S. Air Force for the coming decade will seek and destroy enemy target using mid-course guidance, terminal guidance and self-forging fragment warheads. Mid-course guidance will use lightweight, low-cost, high-capacity, digital electronics to accurately navigate and control missile flight. This fast-response, high-capacity computing capability has been made possible by recent rapid advances in microprocessor technology. Extremely accurate navigational update information will be provided by missile data links with preposition satellites.
Terminal guidance seekers will automatically seek and pin-point moving or standing battlefield targets obscured by weather and protected by electronic shields. Millimeter wave radar technology will be employed to provide high resolution targeting information for accurate terminal homing to the target. Self-forging fragment warheads dispensed from the missile will explosively form and eject a lethal metal slug moving 9 times the speed of sound that can punch a fist-sized hole in thick armor from long ranges. The self-forging fragment warhead technology will be adaptable to guided or unguided cluster submunitions for use in future armament concepts.
Presently in full production, the AMRAAM(left) has significantly improved the combat capability of U.S. and Allied fighter pilots by providing them with a missile that allows them to launch and leave, to fire multiple missiles simultaneously against multiple targets, to make all aspect look-down, shoot-down attacks from beyond visual range against an advanced ECM threat.