Electronic Weapons: March 20, 2000


Britain has decided not to include a datalink on the 100 Tornado F3 fighters being refitted with new equipment that would allow them to use AMRAAM missiles at long range by providing mid-course guidance. The British said that the datalink would have been too expensive and was not needed, but critics note that in fact it costs relatively little and that the US Air Force has based its entire doctrine on killing the enemy at the longest possible range. The F3s will also fly without the digital interface and helmet mounted sights needed to use ASRAAM missiles at high-off-boresight angles, a major failing considering that the F3 is "an unmaneuverable beast" designed to kill Russian bombers, not MiG-29s.--Stephen V Cole


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