The Stand-in Attack Weapon which will open a route around hostile air defenses, has secured its building competition and is being developed by Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman has been given a USD705 million contract by the US Air Force (USAF) to create and test the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), an air-to-ground missile designed to attack high priority targets.
The air forces of Russia and Ukraine have contributed to the conflict in Ukraine. Both sides have a tendency to keep their aircraft over friendly territory rather than take the chance of colliding with highly advanced enemy air defenses like the US-made Patriot in Ukraine and the S-400 in Russia.
Smashing the enemy’s air defenses, especially their radars, is one strategy to prevent an aerial standoff similar to the one in the Ukraine.
The US Air Force is creating a stand-off anti-radar missile because of this. It recently granted Northrop Grumman a $705 million contract for the Stand-in Attack Weapon, or SiAW.
The Stand-in Attack Weapon is expected to be put into service in 2026.
The Stand-in Attack Weapon appears to be the most recent version of anti-radar missiles, which have been in use since the 1960s and operate by focusing in on radar transmitter beams.
The range of Stand-in Attack Weapon will be one important issue. Prudence demands that airplanes keep as far away from anti-aircraft guns as they can.
Unlike the HARM which has a range of roughly 30 miles depending on launch altitude, the AARGM and AARGM-ER are said to have ranges of 60 to 80 miles and more than 100 miles, respectively. The maximum range of an S-400 anti-aircraft missile is approximately 250 miles.
Although Northrop Grumman promotes Stand-in Attack Weapon as a tail-controlled missile for improved maneuverability and survivability, information about it is limited. But compared to the various HARM variants, which have a speed of roughly Mach 2, Stand-in Attack Weapon, the new missile is probably going to have a greater range and faster speed.
According to Air and Space Forces Magazine, the Stand-in Attack Weapon will have numerous seeker sensors and employ GPS in addition to other navigational systems.
The magazine also pointed out that despite the Stand-in Attack Weapon’s greater range, the term “stand-in” implies that it operates inside an enemy’s fortified airspace, suggesting a shorter range than stand-off missiles like the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range cruise missile which has a reach of roughly 600 miles.
Stand-in Attack Weapon is notable for being intended to be more than just a destroyer of air defenses. The Air Force is looking for a weapon that can take down rivals missile launchers including cruise, anti-ship missile launchers and anti-aircraft as well as anti-satellite facilities and GPS jamming stations.
This implies that Stand-in Attack Weapon will be equipped with a highly developed guiding system that is either on-board or data-linked to other sensors, or both.
The fact that Stand-in Attack Weapon is specifically intended to fit inside the internal bomb bay of the F-35 rather than being installed outside is also noteworthy. This will restrict the missile’s size.
Combating anti-access/aerial-denial, or A2/AD, networks, is the ultimate goal here. US aircraft will have to decide between staying out of range and failing to carry out their missions or moving in at the risk of crippling losses if Russian and Chinese air defenses, or possibly those of Iran and North Korea, can use long-range air-defense radars and missiles.
If Stand-in Attack Weapon is successful, American commanders might not have to make that difficult decision.