Finland Ordering 150 AIM-9X Sidewinders
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress [PDF format] that the Government of Finland has requested a possible sale of up to 150 AIM-9X Sidewinder Missiles, 11 AIM-9X Dummy Air Training Missiles, and 40 AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles. The estimated cost is $100 million, and the prime contractor will be Raytheon Systems Corporation of Tucson, AZ.
The AIM-9X is the latest version of the Sidewinder short-range air-air missile (SRAAM). Upgrades include has improved acquisition range and a higher-performance seeker dome, wide off-boresight capability that creates a bigger ‘targeting cone,’ better counter-countermeasures and background discrimination thanks to its 128 x 128 infrared focal plane array (instead of the AIM-9M’s single element IR detector), and day or night capability. It uses the same motor, warhead, and fuze as the AIM-9M and is of similar size and weight, but has a new airframe design with less drag, thrust vectoring for improved maneuverability, and field reprogrammability.
AIM-9X is comparable to other 4th generation SRAAMs like the Israeli Python 4, British ASRAAM, French MBDA MICA IR, German/European IRIS-T, and Russian R-73 aka. AA-11 Archer (The Israeli Python 5 may be in a class all by itself at the moment, though the ASRAAM shares a number of its unique features).
Finland intends to integrate the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile onto its existing fleet of F/A-18 Hornet aircraft as part of its aircraft mid-life upgrade program. In addition to the missiles, Finland will also require missile containers, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related support.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of several additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives to travel to Finland for two-week intervals twice annually to participate in training, program management, and technical reviews.
Offset agreements associated with this proposed sale are expected, but the specific agreements will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.