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Air-to-air missile

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1 Air-to-air missile on Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:35 am

An air-to-air missile (AAM) is a guided missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled. Ramjet engines, as used on the MBDA Meteor (currently in development), are emerging as propulsion that will enable future medium-range missiles to maintain higher average speed across their engagement envelope.
Air-to-air missiles are broadly put in two groups. The first consists of missiles designed to engage opposing aircraft at ranges less than around 20 miles, these are known as short-range or “within visual range” missiles (SRAAMs or WVRAAMs) and are sometimes called “dogfight” missiles because they emphasize agility rather than range. These usually use infra-red guidance, hence also being called heat-seeking missiles. The second group consists of medium- or long-range missiles (MRAAMs or LRAAMs), which both fall under the category of beyond visual range missiles (BVRAAMs). BVR missiles tend to rely upon some sort of radar guidance, of which there are many forms, modern ones also using inertial guidance and/or "mid-course updates".

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