FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. LOUIS, July 10, 1997 -- McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) announced it received a contract in June to develop technology for a revolutionary new air-to-air missile. The award was made under the U.S. Air Force's Air Superiority Missile Technology (ASMT) program.
During the five-year, $22 million program, the company will design, develop and demonstrate an advanced flight control system that will allow a single missile to perform both close-in and beyond-visual-range air-to-air missions.
"The dual-range capability of the missile results from a hybrid combination of flight control and propulsion technologies for both short and longer range missiles," said Larry Perlmutter, McDonnell Douglas' program manager for the ASMT program.
"These technologies provide a dramatic increase in missile agility, enabling intercepts in the rear hemisphere of the launch aircraft, along with enhanced range and speed performance in the forward hemisphere of the aircraft," Perlmutter said.
The new flight control system combines small, side-thrusting reaction jets integrated into the aft section of the main rocket motor with small (reduced-span) tailfins. The jets, which bleed propulsive gas from the rocket motor, are used when high levels of agility are required to engage a threat.
The Air Force envisions using this dual-range missile concept on an advanced fighter aircraft that would also include a helmet-mounted sighting system, systems that provide full spherical situational awareness, and a fire control system that uses both on- and off-board capabilities.
The advanced flight control technology will be demonstrated on an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) airframe. Flight testing will include the launch of four controlled test vehicles.
Hughes Missile Systems Company, design agent and prime contractor for AMRAAM, will be the principal subcontractor to McDonnell Douglas on the ASMT program. Thiokol will be subcontractor for integrating and testing the reaction jet control system.
The ASMT program is conducted by the Wright Laboratory Armament Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The four-phase program includes design and development, hardware fabrication, ground test and flight test.
The ASMT flight control concept is based on the technology and preliminary design developed by McDonnell Douglas in the recently completed Alternate Control Technology program, also funded by the U.S. Air Force.