AIM-9X Block II & Beyond: The New Sidewinder Missiles
April 24/17: Raytheon has been awarded a $78.7 million US Navy contract to provide support and sustainment services for AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles. Under the agreement, the company will provide for the repair of AIM-9X Block II tactical missiles, captive air training missiles and special air training missiles, along with integrated product support, such as training, in-service software support, depot management, and obsolescence/diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages monitoring. Customers provided for include the Navy and USAF, as well as the governments of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey, under the Foreign Military Sales program. Completion is expected by May, 2019.
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 2015 – 2017
FY 2011 and Earlier
Background: AIM-9 Sidewinder
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