“The Slammer – The Legend of Air-to-Air Missiles: History, Technical Specifications, and Combat Effectiveness”

2023-05-25 19:41:55

The Slammer, known as the AIM-120 AMRAAM, is a missile that has left its mark on the history of military aviation.. Developed by Raytheon, this advanced weapon system has become a benchmark in the field of air-to-air missiles.

His name, Slammer, evokes power and efficiency, attributes that have made him a true legend.

A significant breakthrough in the field of air-to-air missiles

Since its conception in 1979, the AIM-120 AMRAAM has proven to be an essential tool in the arsenal of the United States Air Force and many allied countries.

This missile represents a significant improvement over its predecessor, the AIM-7 Sparrow.. Faster, smaller, and lighter, AMRAAM has improved its capabilities against low-altitude targets, making it an indispensable ally for fighter pilots.

The key to success: an independent active radar

The key to its success lies in its active radar, which works independently of the aircraft’s fire control system. Thanks to this, the pilot can aim and fire multiple missiles simultaneously against different targets, while performing evasive maneuvers. This “fire and forget” capability increases the probability of neutralizing the enemy and, at the same time, reduces the risk to the pilot.

Impressive technical specifications

The AIM-120 AMRAAM stands out for its versatility, since it can operate in various weather conditions and beyond visual range. Its impressive technical specifications include:

  • Length: 143.9 inches.
  • Launch Weight: 335 lbs.
  • Diameter: 7 inches.
  • Range: 17.38 nautical miles.
  • Top speed: Mach-4.
  • Maximum speed reached: 4,501 feet per second.
  • Warhead: High explosive fragmentation, weighing 40 pounds.

Proven combat effectiveness

The effectiveness of the AIM-120 AMRAAM has been proven in combat. Although it has yet to reach the 25 kills that the Sparrow achieved during Operation Desert Storm, the Slammer has officially carried out 13 successful air-to-air strikes, according to data provided by Raytheon. One of the highlights of its history occurred on December 27, 1992, when Lt. Col. Gary “Nordo” North, piloting an F-16, shot down an Iraqi MiG-25 Foxbat, becoming the first air-to-air kill achieved by this missile. An impressive feat when you consider that the Foxbat is the fastest interceptor ever built, with a top speed of Mach-3.2.

Presence in the United States Armed Forces and allied air forces

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is still in use today and is in service with various branches of the United States Armed Forces. Not only the US Air Force’s F-16, F-15 Eagles, F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning II are equipped with this missile, but also F/A-18 Hornets, Super Hornets and F-35 aircraft. of the Navy and Marine Corps.

In addition, more than 35 air forces of allied countries have the AIM-120 in their arsenal, including the Royal Australian Air Force, the Lithuanian Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

A promising future

The future of the AIM-120 AMRAAM is promising. The US Navy has stated that it plans to keep it in service beyond 2050, confirming its long-term strategic importance.

For those with a passion for military hardware, there are museums like the Air Force Weapons Museum Foundation at Eglin AFB, Florida, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio. where they can explore and learn more about this emblematic missile.


The AIM-120 AMRAAM has left an indelible mark on the history of military aviation. Its precision, reliability and combat capability have made it a legend in the field of air-to-air missiles.

With a promising future and a solid presence in the arsenals of various nations, the Slammer continues to show why it is considered one of the best weapons systems in its category.

#legend #air #combat

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