Northrop Grumman Wins $705M to Develop, Test New Advanced Air-to-Ground Stand-In Attack Weapon

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 04:09 AM, September 26, 2023
  • 924
Northrop Grumman Wins $705M to Develop, Test New Advanced Air-to-Ground Stand-In Attack Weapon
Northrop Grumman's illustration of Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW)

Northrop Grumman has secured a $705 million contract for the development of the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), an advanced high-speed air-to-ground weapon.

Over the next 36 months, the company will advance the weapon, integrate it with platforms, and complete flight testing for rapid prototyping in preparation for field deployment.

The SiAW is designed to provide strike capability against relocatable targets within an enemy's anti-access/area denial environment. The missile incorporates open architecture interfaces, enabling subsystem upgrades for enhanced capabilities.

In Phase 1, the Air Force collaborated with Northrop, L3Harris, and Lockheed Martin under classified contracts, aiming to develop and produce SiAWs within a five-year timeframe, with deployment to operational units scheduled for 2026. The primary platform for SiAW is the F-35, with potential interest in its integration with the B-21 bomber.

Northrop Grumman Wins $705M to Develop, Test New Advanced Air-to-Ground Stand-In Attack Weapon
F-35A Lightning II aircraft @F-35 JPO

Phase 2 development represents a continuation of the Air Force's requirements for this Middle Tier Acquisition large weapon program. With a commitment to achieving initial operational capability by 2026, Phase 2 comprises two distinct stages. Phase 2.1 involves a flight test featuring a guided vehicle, while Phase 2.2 culminates in three additional flight tests and the delivery of SiAW leave-behind prototype missiles and test assets.

Northrop's SiAW builds upon the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), which evolved from the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile). The AGM-88 HARM, introduced in the 1980s, played a pivotal role in Operation Desert Storm by neutralizing ground-based search and track radars before they could relocate. Iraqi radar operators refrained from activating their systems, anticipating swift HARM missile retaliation.

Air Force officials have expanded SiAW's target set, encompassing command-and-control sites, missile launchers, GPS jammers, anti-satellite systems, and other critical or fleeting targets, in addition to air defense radars.

Northrop Grumman Wins $705M to Develop, Test New Advanced Air-to-Ground Stand-In Attack Weapon
AGM-88 HARM being mounted onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon @U.S.A.F.

The SiAW aims to surpass HARM in speed and engagement range, operating deep within enemy airspace as indicated by the "stand-in" designation. It will incorporate multiple sensors and utilize GPS and other navigation systems to enhance accuracy.

In fiscal year 2023, the Air Force allocated $283.3 million for SiAW, with peak funding anticipated to reach $718.2 million by 2026.

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