U.S. Navy Fact Sheet
AIM-9 Sidewinder Missile
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a family of short-range air-to-air missiles carried on a wide range of modern tactical aircrafts.
The Sidewinder version in the fleet in large numbers is the AIM-9M8/9. This version incorporates a low-cost quick-reaction modification of the missile’s infrared counter-countermeasures features. AIM-9X is the fifth generation Sidewinder and is now currently in production. The AIM-9X features a high off-boresight focal-plane array seeker mounted on a highly maneuverable airframe with a greatly improved infrared counter-countermeasures capability.
A prototype of the Sidewinder, the AIM-9A, was first fired successfully in September 1953. The initial production version, designated AIM-9B, entered operational use in 1956 and has been improved upon steadily since. The L model was the first Sidewinder with the ability to attack from all angles, including head-on. The AIM-9M has the all-aspect capability of the L model while providing all-around higher performance. The AIM-9M has improved defense against infrared countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor. These modifications increase its ability to locate and lock on a target and decrease the missile's chances for detection. Deliveries began in 1983. The AIM-9M-7 was a specific modification to AIM-9M in response to threats expected in the Persian Gulf war zone. The AIM-9X reached initial operational capability in late 2003 and was approved for full-rate production in May 2004. AIM-9X provides full day/night employment, resistance to countermeasures, extremely high off-boresight acquisition and launch envelopes, greatly enhanced maneuverability and improved target acquisition ranges.
The Sidewinder is the most widely used air-to-air missile currently in use by more than 40 nations throughout the world. The AIM-9 is one of the oldest, least expensive and most successful missiles in the U.S. weapons inventory.
Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force
|Point Of Contact|
Program Executive Office
Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation
Public Affairs Office
Naval Air Systems Command
Patuxent River, MD 20670
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
Public Affairs Division
Washington, DC 20380-1775
Air Combat Command
Public Affairs Office
90 Oak Street
Langley AFB, VA 23665-2191
|Primary Function: Air-to-air missile.|
|Contractor: Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ|
|Date Deployed: 1956.|
|Propulsion: Solid-propellant rocket|
|Length: AIM-9M, 9.3 feet; AIM-9X, 9.9 feet |
|Diameter: 5 inches (.13 meters).|
|Wingspan: 2 feet 1 inch (0.63 meters).|
|Weight: 188 pounds |
|Speed: AIM-9M, Classified; AIM-9X, Classified (Supersonic)|
|Guidance System: Passive infrared |
|Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation (conventional) weighing 20.8 pounds (9.36 kg)|
|Last Update: 20 February 2009|