The US Navy and Raytheon have completed the operational testing and evaluation live-fires of the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile.

The testing and evaluation process involved 16 planned shots against a variety of full-scale and sub-scale targets.

Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said: "The development of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II now brings the warfighter two very important missile capabilities.

"First, they have rapid, high off-boresight acquisition to enable the first firing opportunity in a hard-turning visual dogfight.

"Second, the pilot can now extend their reach through the use of aircraft sensors and weapon datalink to engage with Sidewinder missiles well before the initial merge to help ensure the survival and triumph of our warfighters."

"The development of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II now brings the warfighter two very important missile capabilities."

With this development, the US Government will now finalise the approval, acceptance, and delivery of the missiles to its services and allies for later this year.

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By GlobalData

The new AIM-9X Block II missile features new processors in the guidance section, as well as a new fuse, which includes a weapon datalink that can enable the missile to lock-on after launch.

In addition, the future missile software updates will be capable of further expanding missile capabilities.

The AIM-9X Block I, which is the upgraded version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range missile, is currently in use by more than 40 nations worldwide.

The AIM-9X has been deployed on US Navy and Air Force F-15, F-16, and F-18 aircraft, and is further deployed in the air forces of nine international customers.