AIM-155 Advanced Air-to-Air Missile (AAAM)
The AIM-155 Advanced Air-to-Air Missile (AAAM) was a programme to develop
a successor to the Hughes AIM-54 Phoenix. The US Naval Weapons Center
began a two to three year technology validation programme in early 1982,
with simulations, intended to lead to hardware tests, including trials
with complete guided missiles. The AIM-155 should have been much smaller
and would have less airframe impact than the AIM-54 without giving up
performance. The range should have been 270 km, the speed Mach four, the
diameter 229 mm and the warhead would have a weight of 13.6 to 22.7 kg. The
AIM-155 would have been lighter than the AIM-54, which has a weight of 446
kg (AIM-54A) or 465 kg (AIM-54C), so the intended weight was 300 kg. The
AIM-155 was intended for (improved variants of) the Grumman F-14 Tomcat of
the US Navy. The F-14 would have been able to land back on an aircraft
carrier while it carried eight AAAMs rather than four AIM-54s at present.
The US Congress wanted that this US Navy programme became a combined US
Navy and US Air Force (USAF) programme, but the official USAF position was
that the service had no requirement for an extended-range air-to-air missile,
so it was confining its role to that of monitoring the programme. If a
requirement would emerge, the AIM-155 would be purchased and could have armed
the McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle and the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22A
Raptor. The AIM-155 would have had a much better capability against stealth
aircraft than the AIM-120 AMRAAM. This very promissing programme was
cancelled in 1992.
The development of the AIM-155 started in 1988 with the award of contracts to
two industrial teams, General Dynamics with Westinghouse and Hughes with
Raytheon and McDonnell Douglas. The two teams have taken different technical
approaches for the development of the AIM-155.
General Dynamics and Westinghouse proposed a missile with a multiple-pulse
solid rocket motor and a dual semi-active radar/electro-optical (EO) guidance
system. This proposal used a small missile in a powered launch tube to
increase reliability and a wing-mounted targeting pod with a radar fore
and aft of the pod, so that the launch aircraft did not have to fly in the
direction of the target. The pod would have a weight of 340 kg and the
dimensions of the pod would have been 406 mm x 3,607 mm. Shortly after the
launch, the wings extended and after a few seconds the launch tube fell
away. The AIM-155 used mid-course guidance, just like the AIM-120 AMRAAM,
and in the neighbourhood of the target, the radar became active. If the
target would use ECM, the AIM-155 would target on the ECM signals. There
was also an infra-red (IR) seeker in case the guidance would fail. The use
of all known kinds of targeting systems would make the AIM-155 invincible.
The AIM-155 could also have been carried by small (V/STOL) multi-purpose
aircraft. This design was based on the Advanced Missile System (AMS), a
proposed weapon which General Dynamics studied for a decade. The weight
would have been 172 kg and the dimensions 140 mm x 3,658 mm.
The development of the AIM-155 began with an in-house development of Raytheon,
called Advanced Intercept Air-to-Air Missile (AIAAM), and revealed in the
form of a one-third scale model at the US Navy League 1982 Convention. The
AIAAM had an aircraft configuration, with one set of wings and tail controls
for twist-and-steer manoeuvring. An inclined supersonic inlet under the
belly feeded an advanced ramjet of a hybird propulsion system. One possible
propulsion contracter was CSD, who also provided a hybird (rocket/ramjet)
propulsion system for the Firebolt. CSD also provided the integral ramjet
for the Vought Supersonic Tactical Missile (STM), a long-range research
missile for the US Navy, and ducted rockets for other missiles. The AIAAM
had thus a wide choice of propulsion systems, and it was hoped to lead the
way to the air-to-air member of the planned new family of air-breathing
supersonic missiles offering enormously enhanced range and sustained high
power of manoeuvre.
A consortium of Hughes, Raytheon and McDonnell Douglas proposed a missile
powered by a hybird propulsion system consisting of a ramjet and a solid
rocket booster. This form of propulsion would provide a slower acceleration
than the rocker propulsion system of General Dynamics and Westinghouse, but
the benefit would come at ranges beyond two-thirds of the maximum range when
the ramjet powered missile would have been faster. The AIM-155 used
mid-course guidance, just like the AIM-120 AMRAAM, and in the neighbourhood
of the target a dual-mode active radar/infra-red (IR) guidance system would
have been used. The length would have been 3,658 mm.
Ruud Deurenberg, 17 September 1998
Military Aircraft Database . Index
- An Illustrated Guide to Modern Airborne Missiles, Bill Gunston,
Salamander Books Limited, 1983.
- E-mail from Ragnar Emsoy ([email protected]).
- E-mail from Christopher S. Liu ([email protected]).
- E-mail from Craig Paffhausen ([email protected]).
- Is de F-22 zijn geld waard?, Steven Bolt, Kijk, September 1991.
- Stealth Warplanes - Deception, Evasion and Concealment in the Air, Doug
Richardson, Salamander Books Limited, 1989.
- US Navy & Marine Corps Air Power Directory, David Donald and Jon Lake,
Aerospace Publishing Limited, 1996.