November 28, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - EDO Corp. has been awarded a $54.4 million contract from Lockheed Martin for continued production of its LAU-142/A AMRAAM Vertical Eject Launcher (AVEL) for the F-22 Raptor.
USAF photo of an F-22 with its weapons-bay door open, showing six EDO LAU-142/A launchers
These production lots will bring the total number of F-22 aircraft to 191, all of which are equipped with the AVEL
The AVEL employs a highly-reliable, non-pyrotechnic energy system controlled by aircraft electrical and hydraulic power. When commanded for in-flight missile launch, the AVEL system charges, and then safely ejects the missile out of the weapons bay through the air-flow boundary layer in less than 1/10 of a second at more than 25 feet per second with a force of 40 G at peak acceleration.
The launcher,which is made mostly of aluminum, is substantial (nearly 115 pounds each) in order to minimize missile movement in the weapons bay.
EDO's breakthrough design addresses the need to carry and eject missiles from within concealed weapon bays. The AVEL's rapid ejection rate minimizes the time the weapon-bay doors are open therefore maintaining the fighter's stealth characteristics. It also ejects at the precise angle and velocity needed to optimize missile guidance and avoid interfering with the aircraft's maneuvers at supersonic speeds. The AVEL employs a highly reliable pneumatic-ejection system controlled by the aircraft's stores-management system.
In addition to the F-22 platform, EDO provides weapon-release systems for many of the leading fighter jets in use today, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The company is also developing new systems for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.