The Boeing company is developing a new long-range, two-stage air-to-air missile, unlike conventional single-stage ones. The concept for the long-range air-to-air missile (LRAAM) was presented at the annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference of the U.S.-based Air Force Association.
The new missile is still in the phase of development. A "kill vehicle" is attached to the front of the missile. The rear section provides the initial burst of speed and carries the weapon out to a certain range. At that point, the rear section falls away and a rocket motor in the front section ignites and propels the missile to its target.
The War Zone website reported that the complete details on the two-stage LRAAM and its performance have yet to be released, but it is clear that the missile's speed and range will be greater than other air-to-air missiles. In addition, the front part of the missile is said to have a special ability to maneuver in the final stage of engagement in order to hit the target in a precise manner.
The missile is believed to be designed to destroy targets using the force of impact, rather than a warhead. Also, the front part of the missile might be able to be used as an air-to-air weapon for the destruction of short-range targets.
Boeing said the LRAAM would not compete with the U.S. Air Force's current air-to-air missiles, indicating that the missile would complement and upgrade the Air Force's air-to-air munitions.