AIM-9X Block II & Beyond: The New Sidewinder Missiles
Beginning of F-22 integration; multinational spares contract.
Oct 24/14: F-22. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a maximum $33.4 million unfinalized contract for AIM-9X Configurable Rail Launcher (CRL) modification to the F-22. They’ll provide upgrade to 220 AIM-9 CRLs with AIM-9X capability. $5.8 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF aircraft budgets.
The ability to fire AIM-9X missiles is part of the F-22A’s Increment 3.2B upgrade program, and limited testing has begin (q.v. July 30/12) but a fielded capability isn’t expected until at least 2017. The lack of a corresponding helmet-mounted display is a concern for Raptor pilots (q.v. Jan 31/13).
Work will be performed at Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be completed by Feb 28/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT manages the contract (FA8611-08-C-2897, PO 0559).
Sept 29/14: Support. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $13.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to a previously awarded for Lot 14 AIM-9X Block I/II spare parts in support of the USAF (8.4M / 61.62%); US Navy ($3.7M / 27.3%); and the governments of Saudi Arabia ($404,762 / 2.96%); Oman ($311,377 / 2.28%); Korea ($305,031 / 2.23%); Kuwait ($111,282 / 0.82%); Morocco ($95,772 / 0.70%); Malaysia ($93,405 / 0.68%); Turkey ($71,263 / 0.52%); Finland ($41,228 / 0.30%); Switzerland ($32,612 / 0.24%); Poland ($29,241 / 0.21%); and Denmark ($18,562 / 0.14%) All funds are committed immediately.
Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete in February 2016. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD; manages the contract (N00019-11-C-0001).
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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