The US Navy has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on Raytheon’s new advanced medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM), the AIM-120D.

The new AIM-120D has significant capability improvements, including increased range, GPS-aided navigation, a two-way data link and improved weapons effectiveness.

IOC was attained by the US Navy after extensive flight testing, where the navy integrated and tested AIM-120D missile on the F/A-18 Hornet and the Super Hornet aircraft.

Raytheon Missile Systems AMRAAM programme director Ron Krebs said: "AMRAAM is the most capable air-to-air weapon ever produced.

"AMRAAM is the most capable air-to-air weapon ever produced."

The AIM-120D represents a significant improvement in air-to-air weapons capabilities and the technologies it brings to the battlefield give US warfighters an unmatched advantage in the air-to-air arena."

Raytheon said the US Navy is planning to deploy the missile later this year.

In a separate development, the US Air Force also successfully completed testing and fielding of the AIM-120D.

The AIM-120D missile demonstrated its capability against challenging targets, and also performed in all regimes of flight.

This airborne testing has verified that AIM-120D is ready for overseas deployment, Raytheon stated.

To date, Raytheon has delivered the combat-proven AMRAAM to 36 countries and it has been integrated on the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier, F-4 and the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The AMRAAM is also the baseline missile for the Nato-approved national advanced surface-to-air missile system.

Image: An AIM-120 AMRAAM being loaded onto an F-16CJ by Senior Airman Hector Huguet. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sergeant Vince Parker (USAF).