Mil Tech — Raytheon’s Missile Contract Worth a Half-Billion

Feb 02 2015

Published by under Technology

Raytheon Corp. has been awarded a fixed-price contract for $491,478,068 for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) for the U.S. Air Force and Navy and foreign military sales to Korea, Oman, Singapore, and Thailand.


The AMRAAM is built at Raytheon’s Tucson, Ariz., facilities, and work is expected to be completed by February 2017.

AMRAAM has been integrated on the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, and AV-8B as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen, according to Neil Jennings, Raytheon’s AMRAAM business development lead. He adds the U.S. Air Force currently is in the process of integrating AIM-120C7 on the F-35 Lightning II.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is a 12-foot long missile with a 7-inch body and a 17-inch wingspan and weighs approximately 360 pounds. It’s range capabilities are classified.

Jennings calls ??the AIM-120 AMRAAM “the world’s most advanced air-to-air weapon.” He says more than 19,000 AMRAAM missiles have been manufactured to date and that 36 countries, including the U.S., use the missile as their primary air-to-air weapon.

Jennings adds the AMRAAM is a “dual-use” weapon also used in the surface launch role. “It is integrated on the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System and is the baseline missile for that system,” he points out.

When an AMRAAM is launched, its rocket motor fires and propels it to a very high speed (which is classified). In the initial stages of fly-out, the launch aircraft provides guidance via a datalink. After the missile gets further downrange, the AMRAAM turns on its internal radar system and proceeds to find its designated target. Once its target is acquired, it guides independently of the launch aircraft and completes the intercept on its own.

Jennings notes the AIM-120 AMRAAM has been operational for more than 20 years and has stayed at the forefront of air-to-air weapons.

“With unprecedented air combat flexibility, it gives aircrew the ability to launch well beyond visual range, in all weather conditions,” he says. “The AMRAAM has a multi-shot capability, meaning that several targets can be engaged simultaneously.”

Jennings adds that AMRAAM’s advanced guidance section incorporates digital technology and microminiaturized solid-state electronics, which gives the AMRAAM sophisticated guidance that sets it apart from all other air-to-air missiles. It also is fully reprogrammable and can be upgraded with software.

About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., journalist who writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s the author of the historical mystery, Full Moon; the nonfiction work, Ice Hockey in the Desert; and his newest historical mystery, Asylum Lane, all available at

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Dreams for Veterans

Jan 28 2015

dreamfoundationThis post was originally printed in the February issue of Military Officer magazine.

The Dream Foundation, the national dream-granting organization for terminally ill adults, has launched a new nationwide sub-program, Dreams for Veterans, to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.

Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer says, “Dreams for Veterans provides the invaluable opportunity to honor veterans’ service while engaging, honoring, and appreciating their families and communities.”

Dreams for Veterans recipients are U.S. military veterans 18 years or older with a life expectancy of 12 months or less. Final dream requests range from basic needs items such as mobility scooters, lift chairs, working appliances, or laptop computers to bedside reunions, final vacations with family, meeting personal heroes, or reconnecting with aspects of former military service. “Captain Bob” (pictured below), an Army veteran from California, recently joined his granddaughter and family on a sailboat outing, fulfilling his dream to get back out on the ocean.

According to We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the VA, one out of every four dying Americans is a veteran. Dreams for Veterans partners with hospice professionals, the VA, and other groups.

For more information, visit or call (888) 4DREAMS (437-3267).

DreamsforVeteransImage courtesy of Dreams for Veterans.

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Friday Fun: Kick For Nick

Jan 22 2015

Boccardi_Honduras_little_boy_617The Kick for Nick program is a non-profit organization that distributes soccer balls across the country and the world. Kick for Nick was founded by Bill and Shalini Madaras of Wilton, CT in honor of their son Nick, who was killed while serving in the U.S. Army.

Prior to his death, Nick brought home with him hundreds of photos of happy, smiling children. Realizing the children didn’t have much to play with, he proposed the idea of bringing soccer balls back with him for the second part of his tour. Since 2006, Kick for Nick has distributed more than 45,000 soccer balls globally.

Well, we’re inspired! How ’bout you? Read the full story on this awesome program!

Photo from the Kick for Nick website: Happy! Our new ‘poster-boy’ from Honduras with his Kick For Nick soccer ball!

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VA Adapted Housing Grants for Disabled Vets

Jan 22 2015

Published by under Health & Living


Are you a veteran with a severe service-connected disability that affects your mobility?  Do you know someone who is?  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the Specially Adapted Housing program, designed to help severely disabled veterans and servicemembers purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability.  Two grant programs exist:

  • the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant
  • the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant

The SAH grant is designed to help disabled veterans and servicemembers by providing a barrier-free living environment, such as a wheelchair accessible home, that affords veterans a level of independent living they may not otherwise enjoy. Veterans and servicemembers with specific service-connected disabilities (including loss/loss of use of both lower extremities) may be entitled to a grant for the purpose of constructing or modifying a home to meet their adaptive needs, up to the current maximum of $70,465.

The SHA grant can be used to increase the mobility of eligible veteran and servicemembers throughout their residences. Veterans and servicemembers with specific service-connected disabilities (including severe visual impairment or loss/loss of use of both hands) may be entitled to this type of grant, up to the current maximum of $14,093.

For those who do not yet own a home, a temporary grant may be available to SAH/SHA eligible veterans and servicemembers who are or will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member. The maximum amount available to adapt a family member’s home for the SAH grant is $30,934 and for the SHA grant is $5,523.Special_Adaptive_Housing

VA has staff located nationwide to assist individuals in applying for and receiving these grants.





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Marines Hone Martial Arts Skills on the Beaches of Okinawa, Japan

Jan 20 2015

Published by under Health & Living

Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course
By Cpl. Joey Holeman, USMC

Originally published in the February 2015 issue of Military Officer magazine

When U.S. Marines stormed the beaches of Okinawa, Japan, toward the end of World War II, they survived by any means necessary, including hand-to-hand combat. Today, hand-to-hand combat still is emphasized in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, which held its instructor course in Okinawa in late November 2014.

Students participating in the class endured a long, strenuous day starting with an endurance course and ending with shallow-water grappling. The instructors wanted the students to grasp the history behind close-quarter combat and Okinawa.

“For them to understand what Marines went through arriving on theses beaches, hitting the shores, running, and having that hand-to-hand combat is an incredible realization for them,” says Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Rafael Garcialopez, chief instructor.

Marines from each base on Okinawa and various combative and noncombative specialties participated. The course brought together all aspects of the Marine Corps, emphasizing the importance of a warfighting mindset. The martial arts program has existed since 2001.

Photo caption: Marines assigned to Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) practice proper knife wielding techniques during a 12-day Marine Corps Martial Arts Program course at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. FASTPAC companies maintain forward-deployed platoons at Navy installations around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to provide crises-response capabilities and anti-terrorism and weapons training to security personnel. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda S. Kitchner/Releases)

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