Sunday, December 4, 2022

U.S. Air Force selects Raytheon to develop aircraft self-defense missile

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has given the green light for Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, to start research and development of a flight-test ready miniature self-defense missile.

The Department of Defense announced on Tuesday an agreement worth about $375 million for a mini-missile interceptor designed to protect military aircraft from incoming missiles.

Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by October 2023.


The advanced technology of Miniature Self-Defense Missiles (MSDM) will give the U.S. and allies an edge in the skies. The miniature self-defense missile is an active protection system that can intercept and shoot down enemy air-to-air missiles with surgical accuracy and minimal collateral damage.

The miniature missile would help to counter advanced long-range missiles both of which could engage vulnerable support aircraft such as airborne early warning & control platforms and tankers.

Eglin spokeswoman Jasmine Porterfield stated previously that: “The MSDM program objective is to provide the capability to kinetically defeat enemy threats to aircraft in [anti-access, area-denial] environments.”

Also, Air Force officials said that the MSDM will support miniaturized weapon capabilities for air superiority by enabling close-in platform self-defense and penetration into contested A2/AD environment with little to no impact to payload capacity.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.