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Advanced Air-to-Air Missile (AAAM)
Outer Air Battle Missile

During the 1980s the Navy invested in developing the Phoenix into a robust, long-range, high-energy weapon system, and in the late 1980s embarked on a program to develope an improved follow-on capability in the Advanced Air-to-Air Missile (AAAM). Advanced Common Intercept Missile Demonstration (ACIMD) tests demonstrated the technology and hardware for a highly advanced Sparrow-sized, integral-rocket-ramjet-propelled, multimode-guided air-to-air missile for the long-range outer-air battle. The Navy planned to maintain and support an adequate Phoenix missile capability until the AAAM is fielded in sufficient numbers. A missile retrofit program incorporating an already developed and demonstrated block upgrade to the AIM -54C was a cost-effective interim solution. As of 1990 it was estimated that it would require at least 10 years to introduce the follow-on Advanced Air-to-Air Missile.

With the end of the Cold War there was a general recognition that the outer air battle -- the battle against Soviet naval aviation bombers -- was significantly reduced in importance. While AAAM was seen as the best defense against the Soviet naval air arm, the future threat would consist of Third World fighter-bomber or diesel-electric submarine. This changing security environment doomed this Phoenix missile successor [as well as the associated F-14D Super Tomcat upgrades], and the Advanced Air-to-Air Missile program was cancelled in 1992.


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