Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris, and Northrop Grumman have received contracts to begin work on the next-generation Stand-In Attack Weapon (SiAW). SiAW will be designed to penetrate anti-access/area denial environments to strike high value targets, such as GPS jammers and air defense systems. The SiAW will fit in the F-35 internal weapons bay and have the ability to change parts to address evolving threats. John Tirpak of Air Force Magazine writes (abridged):
Three contractors received 90-day, $2 million contracts to begin work on the Stand-in Attack Weapon, or SiAW, one of the Air Force’s next generation of air-to-ground munitions. Lockheed Martin, L3Harris, and Northrop Grumman got contracts for the work out of a five-competitor field that also included Boeing and Raytheon Technologies.
It was not immediately apparent whether the three companies will do competitive or complementary work under the contracts, which were awarded May 25. The five contenders were deemed the only ones qualified to do the work according to an Air Force statement from May 2021.
Lockheed Martin said its contract is to perform integration work for SiAW and that it will produce hardware over the next five years, which the Air Force will then test and evaluate for possible production.
The Air Force has budgeted $1.9 billion for SiAW development over the future years defense plan starting in fiscal 2023 and continuing until 2027. The fiscal 2023 request is for $283.2 million, and development funding is expected to peak in fiscal 2026, with $718.2 million planned.
“We’ve been asked to present an open, agile, and digital weapon that can be rapidly upgraded through digital engineering,” said Bryan Gates, senior manager of Northwest Florida Operations for MFC’s air dominance and strike weapons unit.
“This is an open system architecture, with a digital design, that allows us to bring in different pieces and parts from subcontractors [and] other companies to develop this weapon,” and the Air Force will decide that mix, Gates said. The Air Force is also pursuing modular approaches involving air-to-air missiles and uncrewed aircraft to derive greater flexibility and adaptability from its future force.
In a press release, Lockheed Martin linked to a YouTube video showing an F-35 launching six SiAWs—four from underwing stations and two from its internal weapons bays. The weapons fly straight ahead and then straight up before the video ends. Gates said this flight profile is typical for weapons that will travel some distance before striking their targets.
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