AIM-9X Block II & Beyond: The New Sidewinder Missiles
September 28/15: Raytheon has been awarded a $264.8 million contract for improvement works to the AIM-9X air-to-air missile, with these destined for the Air Force, Navy and six Foreign Military Sales customers. The Block II missile recently entered full rate production , with Friday’s contract announcement intended to assist in bringing up some Block I stockpiles up to the Block II standard, including new components and software upgrades.
Also on Friday the company received a $227.1 million contract for the production of 447 AIM-9X missiles, with these headed for the Navy, Air Force and four Foreign Military Sales customers. The contract also covers the delivery of 129 training missiles, with these scheduled for delivery to multiple governments, including Switzerland, Morocco, Israel and Oman.
Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II would have made Top Gun a very short movie. It’s the USA’s most advanced short range air-air missile, capable of using its datalink, thrust vectoring maneuverability, and advanced imaging infrared seeker to hit targets behind the launching fighter. Unlike previous AIM-9 models, the AIM-9X can even be used against targets on the ground.
These changes will help keep it competitive against foreign missiles like MBDA UK’s AIM-132 ASRAAM, RAFAEL of Israel’s Python 5, the multinational German-led IRIS-T, and Russia’s R73/ AA-11 Archer. So far, only American fighter types can use AIM-9X missiles, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of export requests and sales, especially in the Middle East.
AIM-9X: The Program
Block II+ Program and Sales
Contracts & Key Events
FY 2011 and Earlier
Background: AIM-9 Sidewinder
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