The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a request for information (RFI) to develop the Stand In Attack Weapon (SiAW) to equip the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
A model of the AARGM-ER missile being used for a fit check in an F-35 weapons bay. The SiAW missile will leverage this missile to provide the F-35A with an internally-carried A2/AD capability. (Northrop Grumman)
The sources sought solicitation issued on 8 January calls for potential vendors ahead of the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the SiAW that is geared at affording the USAF’s F-35As with an internally-carried anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capability.
“[The USAF] is seeking to integrate advanced technologies into SiAW. SiAW is an air force air-to-ground weapon designed to hold at risk surface elements of the A2/AD environment”, the RFI said.
As noted by the USAF, the SiAW will heavily leverage the US Navy’s Northrop Grumman AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) programme, currently in the early stages of development by PMA-242. The SiAW modifications will make the weapon relevant for fifth-generation aircraft, and include the development and integration of a warhead and fuze capable of prosecuting an expanded target set, an Active Radar Homing (ARH) guidance system, and a Universal Armament Interface (UAI) message set for the SiAW missile and F-35A aircraft. The SiAW will also seek development of future advanced capabilities to keep it relevant for evolving threats, the USAF noted.
Specifically, SiAW is designed to engage theatre ballistic missile launchers, land attack and anti-ship cruise missile launchers, GPS jammers, anti-satellite systems, and integrated air-defence systems. The capability is expected to equip USAF F-35As from fiscal year 2025/2026 onwards.