Accession Number:



The Development of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile: A Case Study of Risk and Reward in Weapon System Acquisition

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This Note is a case study of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile AMRAAM program, part of a study of risk and reward in weapons acquisition programs. Unlike with the traditional case study, or lessons learned approach to acquisition analysis, the intent is not to isolate specific factors, internal to a given program, that are examples of good or bad management technique. Rather, the intent is to take a broader view of the acquisition process and to seek to understand the connection between the perceived risks involved in the development of acquisition programs and the rewards that can be obtained when the system works smoothly. Obviously, both of these terms represent fuzzy concepts and mean different things to each of the many actors in the acquisition process contractors, system program offices SPOs in the Air Force, service commands, OSD, Congress. What we seek to understand, however, is how SPOs and contractors in particular attempt to manage risk in their programs, either through specific steps and procedures or broader philosophies of how to conduct programs, and how those activities relate to the potential rewards. The general approach taken in this case study is to consider acquisition programs as part of a political process involving decisions about resource allocation and how the perceptions and goals of the different organizations that contribute to the process affect SPO and contractor management.

Subject Categories:

  • Air- and Space-Launched Guided Missiles

Distribution Statement: