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Northrop Grumman awarded US Air Force contract to build Stand-in Attack Weapon

Northrop Grumman's Stand-in Attack Weapon. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Northrop Grumman a USD705 million contract to develop and test the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), an air-to-ground missile intended to strike high-priority targets, the company announced on 25 September.

SiAW is designed to be carried internally by the Lockheed Martin F-35, which cannot employ ground attack missiles currently in the arsenal. The missile will also be integrated with other USAF platforms, although the F-35 is scheduled to be the first aircraft with which it is set to be integrated.

“To adapt to ever-changing threats, the missile design features open architecture interfaces that will allow for rapid subsystem upgrades,” Northrop Grumman said in a statement.

Northrop Grumman is to conduct at least four test flights of SiAW in advance of the USAF's desired 2026 initial operational capability (IOC), according to the company. The missile reportedly leverages ongoing work with a similar US Navy programme, the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER).

According to the USAF's 2024 budget justification, SiAW “will provide the capability to strike rapidly relocatable targets that create the anti-access/area denial environment. SiAW targets include theatre ballistic missile launchers, land attack and anti-ship cruise missile launchers, GPS [Global Positioning System] jammers, anti-satellite systems, and integrated air-defence systems”.

Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and L3Harris received contracts for Phase 1 of the programme in June 2022.

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