AIM-120D still troubled as Nammo comes aboard
By Robert Hewson
The US Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) has reported that Raytheon's AIM-120D Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) test and development work is still struggling with technical hitches, but that some progress is being made in the programme, which is now more than four years behind schedule.
A parallel issue with failing AMRAAM solid-propellant rocket motors has been addressed, in part, by the recent qualification of the Norwegian company Nammo as a new AMRAAM motor supplier to Raytheon.
Since 2009 AIM-120D test firings have suffered several failures that have been blamed on various component reliability issues. Developmental testing concluded in August 2011 with a list of four performance and reliability deficiencies and three motor issues. The four performance and reliability deficiencies, which were required to be remedied by Raytheon, included: built-in test (BIT) false alarms; a GPS failure problem with the GPS filter; missile lock-ups due to software issues; and aircraft integration problems also caused by the missile's software. The motor issues, which had caused unpredictable Lot Acceptance Test (LAT) failures, were: propellant hot spots; motor case burn through, and failures at low temperatures (-65 degrees F, -55 degrees C).191 of 393 words
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