Getting Stronger, F-35 Lightning II Will Be Armed With SiAW Missiles That Can Attack Enemy Targets Easier

Getting Stronger, F-35 Lightning II Will Be Armed With SiAW Missiles That Can Attack Enemy Targets Easier
F-35 Lightning II Will Be Armed With SiAW Missiles

International Military - The F-35 stealth fighter jet will get the deadliest missiles that will make it even more powerful. The US Air Force has awarded contracts to three companies for the first phase of the new project. The weapon being developed is an air-to-ground stand-in attack weapon (SiAW).

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The service selected Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and L3Harris Technologies from five companies for phase one of the SIAW program. Citing the Eurasian Times, the weapon would allow F-35 stealth fighter jets to strike enemy targets in an anti-access, area-denial, zone China is trying to establish around Taiwan.

According to Lena Lopez, spokeswoman for the Air Force's Center for Armaments Lifecycle Management Directorate, the contract runs for three months. Meanwhile, they are valued at $2 million each and awarded on May 25. In supporting documents for the proposed fiscal 2023 budget, the Air Force first indicated that it was ready to move forward with SiAW.

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The service has committed approximately $1.9 billion to SiAW development over the next five years, starting in fiscal year 2023 and extending through 2027. "We have been asked to deliver digital weapons that are open, agile, and rapidly scalable through digital engineering, said Bryan Gates, Northwest Florida Operations senior manager for MFC's air dominance and assault weapons unit.

"It's an open systems architecture with a digital design that allows us to bring in parts and other parts from subcontractors and other companies to develop this weapon," Gates said, adding that the mix would be determined by the Air Force.

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To increase the flexibility and adaptability of future forces, the Air Force is also studying modular approaches, including air-to-air missiles and drones.

Reporting from Defense News, the first phase of the SIAW program focuses on digital engineering and design. Lockheed said in its release that this is the first time the Air Force has had a fully digital weapons acquisition and development program.

On the other hand, Northrop said it would use its experience from designing and producing the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range, or AARGM-ER. Where the weapon is intended for the US Navy and integrates it on the F-35.

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L3Harris said in a release Wednesday that the Agile Development Group will lead the SIAW effort and will leverage the group's digital engineering capabilities. The Agile Development Group includes several thousand engineers, program managers, technicians, and operations professionals who are focused on rapidly developing solutions to address emerging threats.

"L3Harris looks forward to working with the Air Force and industry partners to move quickly and deliver superior firepower and advanced capabilities to fighters," Dave Duggan, president of the L3Harris Agile Development Group, said in the release.

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