Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. announced a $25 million contract to Marvin Engineering Co. Inc. in Inglewood, Calif., to build 648 LAU-127 guided missile launchers for the F/A-18 aircraft.
The Marvin LAU-127 missile rail launcher enables the F/A-18 carrier-based strike fighter to carry and launch the radar-guided AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and the AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missile. Navy officials are ordering 608 LAU-127 launchers for the Navy, and 40 launchers for the Australian military.
The LAU-127 provides the electrical and mechanical interface between the AMRAAM and AIM-9X missiles and the F/A-18 aircraft, as well as the two-way data transfer between the missile and the aircraft's cockpit controls and displays.
The electrical interfaces between the LAU-127 and the F/A-18 air crew also supports preflight orientation and control circuits to prepare and launch the missiles.
The Raytheon AMRAAM is an advanced radar-guided missile developed to replace the AIM-7 Sparrow missile. It provides multi-shot capability, and can be launched day or night, in all weather conditions. Its autonomous guidance capability provides the pilot with launch-and-leave ability to provide fast engagement of follow-on targets or the option to fire first and then run from targets.
AMRAAM's capabilities include quick fly-out, immunity to countermeasures, and the ability to reject radar clutter to attack low-altitude targets. The missile has active radar guidance, multi-shot capability, and the ability to launch from aircraft or from surface-to-air missile sites.
The Raytheon AIM-9X is a relatively short-range infrared heat-seeking missile that equips most jet fighters, fighter-bombers, and other offensive combat aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, and is used to shoot down enemy aircraft close by. The AIM-9X works by homing in on an enemy aircraft's hot engine exhaust. Variants of the AIM-9 Sidewinder have been deployed since the 1950s.
The AIM-9X is among the latest versions of the AIM-9 missile family. It has an imaging infrared focal plane array seeker with 90-degree off-boresight capability for accuracy. The missile is compatible helmet-mounted displays such as the U.S. Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, and features 3-D thrust-vectoring control for increased turn capability. The AIM-9X also includes an internal cooling system.
On this contract Marvin Engineering will do the work in Inglewood, Calif., and should be finished by October 2018. For more information contact Marvin Engineering online at www.marvingroup.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.