A top US arms maker is building a lightweight, drone-killing missile to pack onto fighter jets
- Raytheon's latest missile, the Peregrine, is a lightweight air-to-air missile, weighing about 150 pounds and designed for use on fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
- The missile's small size means that US and allied fighter aircraft can "overwhelm the enemy with affordable mass," according to Mark Noyes, business development executive at Raytheon.
- The Peregrine, combined with Raytheon's 9X and AMRAAM missiles, gives warfighters "just an incredibly potent and catastrophic capability against the enemy," Noyes told Insider.
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Defense industry giant Raytheon unveiled its newest weapon, the Peregrine air-to-air missile, Monday.
The weapon, designed for use on fourth-and fifth-generation fighter aircraft - anything from an F-16 to an F-35 - is about 150 pounds and 6 feet long, making "the most efficient use of the real estate on a fighter aircraft," according to Mark Noyes, business development executive at Raytheon.
"Peregrine will allow U.S. and allied fighter pilots to carry more missiles into battle to maintain air dominance," Thomas Bussing, the vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems, said in a statement.
The new missile will combat a number of airborne threats, including other missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) and other aircraft, while saving space. The AMRAAM missile, for example, is 335 pounds and 12 feet long.
"With its advanced sensor, guidance and propulsion systems packed into a much smaller airframe, this new weapon represents a significant leap forward in air-to-air missile development," Bussing said.
The missile's guidance and sensor systems allow it to "detect and track moving or stationary targets at any time of day and in challenging weather conditions," according to the release.
The Peregrine combines "the autonomy of AMRAAM [Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile]" with the maneuverability of the 9X Sidewinder missile, Noyes told Insider. The three weapons together, he said, provide warfighters with "just an incredibly potent and catastrophic capability against the enemy."
The Peregrine incorporates already available materials, military off-the-shelf components, and additive manufacturing processes, making it a low-cost option for militaries facing increased air threats, particularly missiles and UAVs.
Noyes praised the Peregrine's ability to "autonomously track and destroy a target," saying, "The ability of this new seeker is just incredible for all weather, day and night."
The Peregrine's small size, combined with its high-performance propulsion system, allows airfighters to fire more rounds, faster, as well - enabling it to "overwhelm the enemy with affordable mass."
As Defense News points out, the Peregrine announcement dovetails with a Raytheon executive's comments about the proliferation of counter-drone technology, indicating that the company's focus on defeating drones won't stop any time soon.