The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman an approximately $705 million contract to deliver the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), an air-to-ground weapon that accelerates the pivot to a new generation of air power. The advanced, high-speed missile is designed to take on fast-moving targets behind enemy lines.
The SiAW is set to enter service by 2026 and is intended to be carried by the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, which cannot employ ground attack missiles currently in the arsenal. SiAW’s primary objective is to penetrate and destroy enemy air defense systems and other crucial targets such as command-and-control sites, ballistic missile and cruise missile launchers, GPS jamming systems, and anti-satellite systems, among others.
Northrop Grumman’s SiAW leverages the company’s extensive experience in weapons systems design, development, and production in order to meet the Air Force’s digital engineering priorities and provide enhanced capability to the warfighter.
The missile’s design features open architecture interfaces that allow its subsystems to be quickly upgraded with new capabilities, enabling it to adapt to the ever-changing threats and remain a reliable tool for the warfighter.
The new SiAW air-to-ground missile is specifically designed to target highly mobile targets that can suddenly shift position between identification and engagement at longer ranges than previous missiles. Moreover, SiAW uses improved sensors a tail-controlled propulsion system, and incorporates digital engineering and Weapon Open Systems Architecture (WOSA), which allows for rapid future upgrades to handle emerging threats.
During the next 36 months, Northrop Grumman will continue to develop a weapon, conduct platform integration, and complete the flight test program for rapid prototyping in preparation for rapid fielding. The guided vehicle flight test will mark the completion of the first part of this second phase, while the second part will involve three additional flight tests followed by the delivery of SiAW leave-behind prototype missiles and test assets to the Air Force.
“Northrop Grumman’s SiAW delivers on the Air Force’s desire for its first digital weapons acquisition and development program,” said Susan Bruce, vice president of advanced weapons at Northrop Grumman, in the press release. “With our expert digital engineering capabilities, this next-generation missile represents an adaptable, affordable way for the Department of Defense to buy and modernize weapons.”
The Air Force is targeting an initial operational capability by 2026.