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Lockheed's AIM-260 To Counter China’s PL-15

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Raytheon’s three-decade grip on the U.S. military’s long-range air-to-air missile inventory will soon end. Lockheed Martin won a secret competition in 2017 to develop and field an even longer-range air intercept missile by 2022. U.S. fighter pilots will, at last, have access to a weapon with equivalent range to China’s PL-15, Europe’s MBDA Meteor and Russia’s Vympel R-37M.

The existence of the AIM-260 Joint Air Tactical Missile (JATM) was made public during a June 20 media roundtable in Dayton, Ohio, with Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, the Air Force’s program executive officer for weapons. The AIM-250 shares similar dimensions to the AIM-120 but provides “significantly greater” range.

The AIM-260 is scheduled to begin flight-testing in 2021 and achieve initial operational capability in 2022. It will debut first inside the main weapons bay of the Lockheed F-22 and the Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F, then migrate later to the Lockheed F-35.

 

Currently, the Lockheed F-22 makes up 9% of USAF's fighter fleet while the Boeing F/A - 18E/F makes up more than 77% of the Navy's fighter fleet.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC. Born in a U.S. Air Force family, he grew up on military bases around the world and came to Washington DC in 1997 to work for Army Times Publishing Co. as a journalist. Steve helped launch the Military.com portal in 2000, then joined the editorial team for Aviation Week’s web site in 2001. He reported on the Pentagon for Aerospace Daily in 2002 and 2003.


 

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As a subscriber to one of Aviation Week Network’s market briefings, your searches only provide you with access to articles from within that product.

To find out about obtaining additional data – including the most comprehensive details on organizations, fleets, personnel and programs – click here or call +1.561.279.4661.


 

As a subscriber to one of Aviation Week Network’s market briefings, your searches only provide you with access to articles from within that product.

To find out about obtaining additional data – including the most comprehensive details on organizations, fleets, personnel and programs – click here or call +1.561.279.4661.