The US Air Force's AIM-260 missile now in development offers marked improvements over the AIM-120, but, as Douglas Barrie explores, questions remain as to its end-game performance at extended ranges.
The United States military, and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in particular, invests in and places considerable store by superior technology to prevail against peer rivals. The USAF is also disinclined to allow its near allies to field capabilities it does not also have access to. In the air force's slipstream, U.S. industry is often first to market with advanced systems.
This makes the USAF's apparent approach to its next generation of beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (AAMs) all the more intriguing.