Last updated: 26 Oct 2020
The AIM-9X is a joint air-to-air missile designed to provide U.S. short-range first-look, first-shot missile superiority. The AIM-9X Block II is the latest generation short-range, heat-seeking missile and provides the pilot with high off-boresight and lock-on-after-launch capabilities.
The AIM-9X Block II/II+ Sidewinder (AIM-9X Blk II/II+) continues the evolution of the AIM-9 series of missiles. This missile program delivers a launch and leave, air combat munition that uses passive Infrared (IR) energy to acquire and track enemy air targets and complements the radar guided Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). F/A-18 first shot, first kill opportunities while conducting air combat maneuvering Within Visual Range (WVR) are essential for aircrew survival. The AIM-9X provides these opportunities with unmatched offensive and defensive capabilities against threats WVR, even when IR countermeasures are employed. The AIM-9X also provides limited short-range capability in the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air battle. Anti-tamper features have been incorporated to protect improvements inherent in this design.
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.
Service: Navy and Air Force
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