The United States Navy has cleared Raytheon to begin full-rate production on the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile, according to reports out of Tucson.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is the most advanced short-range air-to-air missile in the world, and the 9X Block is the latest version of it. This installment of the Sidewinder has been around for fourteen years now, and its capabilities have been proven in multiple combat situations throughout the world. Over forty nations throughout the world use it.
The Navy is looking to obtain as many as they can at the moment, due to their outstanding performance. It is easily the weapon of choice for short range missile warfare.
"We've proven the increased capabilities of the AIM-9X Block II, and are confident Raytheon can produce missiles at full rate,"said U.S. Navy Program Manager Captain Jim Stoneman, PMA-259.
"We look forward to getting them into the hands of our warfighters as quickly as possible."
Some new upgrades include a modernized electronics package creating the ability to lock on after launch using a new datalink that supports beyond-visual-range-engagements.
Specifications of the missile are as follows:Primary Function: Air-to-air missile Contractor: Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ Date Deployed: AIM-9B:1956 Propulsion: Solid-propellant rocket Length: AIM-9M, 9.3 feet; AIM-9X, 9.9 feet Diameter: 5 inches (0.13 meters) Wingspan: 2 feet 1 inch (0.63 meters) Weight: 188 pounds Speed: AIM-9M, Classified; AIM-9X, Classified (Supersonic) Range: Classified Guidance System: Passive infrared Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation (conventional) weighing 20.8 pounds (9.36 kg)
The missile is currently used on aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and F-4 fighters, A-4, A-6 and AV-8B attack aircraft, and the AH-1 helicopter. It is used by the air force of nine international customers, in addition to the US.
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