The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) munitions directorate at Eglin AFB, Fla., is moving forward with research and development on a miniature self-defense missile (MSDM), as Raytheon [RTN] beat out Lockheed Martin [LMT] and received a $93.3 million contract on July 21st for work to be performed on MSDM at Raytheon’s Tucson, Ariz., site.
The total possible value of the contract is $375 million.
“MSDM is a multi-year effort to mature a miniaturized, high lethality missile that is capable of engaging threats to U.S. aircraft,” AFRL said. “MSDM would allow aircraft to persist and accomplish their missions in increasingly contested environments.”
Over the last five years, AFRL has been conducting R&D efforts into smaller, next generation air-to-air missiles to increase weapons loads for such 5th generation fighters as the Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-22 and F-35. Current air-to-air missiles, such as the MBDA Meteor and the Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder, can weigh hundreds of pounds.
In January, 2016, Raytheon won a $14 million MSDM award from AFRL.
“Contractor will work to increase the number of missiles carried on a single sortie, increase the effectiveness of each missile, and enhance the platform survivability against all threats in an anti-access, area denial (A2AD) environment,” according to the 2016 award. “Two research concepts to fulfill these needs are the Small Advanced Capability Missile (SACM) and Miniature Self-Defense Munition (MSDM). The SACM will support affordable, highly lethal, small size and weight ordnance with advanced air frame design and synergistic control capabilities for air dominance enabling high air-to-air load-out. The MSDM will support miniaturized weapon capabilities for air superiority by enabling close-in platform self-defense and penetration into contested A2AD environment with little to no impact to payload capacity.”