Friday, September 18, 2009


USAF's Chief of Staff, Gen Schwartz, has signalled his support for the air-launched missile defense concepts. This is good for missile defense. Additionally, the USAF will have an option to improve its air-to-air capability.

As I have talked about before, the USAF needs new air-to-air missiles to make up for F-35's inferior capabilities. Raytheon's NCADE and Lockheed's ALHTK will nicely address the shortfalls.

NCADE will give the AIM-120 an infrared seeker option. This will address the seeker diversity problem USAF and USN faces. NCADE's booster stage will also extend the range or improve AIM-120's kinematics. Even if NCADE does not pan out, Raytheon can quickly leverage its results into AIM-120 improvements.

ALHTK will introduce new missiles into USAF inventory, if NCADE doesn't pan out. PAC-3's radar seeker operates on a different band from AIM-120, so that will complicate threat jamming efforts. THAAD's IR seeker will address seeker diversity.

If air-launched missile defense progresses beyond the study stage, hopefully BAE will bring on its Meteor in the competition.

May the best missile win!

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