Raytheon has delivered the 5,000th AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air-to-air missile to the US Navy, marking a milestone in its missile production for the US Government and nine international partners.
Developed under the US Navy-led joint programme with the US Air Force programme, the AIM-9X Sidewinder is an infrared-guided, air-to-air missile and features jet vane control technology.
The missile provides capabilities such as unmatched target acquisition and tracking, as well as enabling extreme manoeuvrability against a range of high-performance threats.
US Navy air-to-air missile programme manager captain John Martins said that the missile also features thrust vectoring, high off-bore-sight seeker gimbals limits, and imaging focal planar array.
"The AIM-9X Block II’s datalink, improved guidance algorithms and LOAL attributes create BVR capabilities against the most advanced threats that are designed to be survivable against radar-guided missile systems," Martins said.
Integrated with redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device, the AIM-9X Block II missile has been designed to enhance ground handling and in-flight safety, as well as demonstrating its ability in air-to-surface and surface-to-air missions.
Additional features of the Block II variant includes updated electronics, as well as enhanced lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) capabilities using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range (BVR) engagements.
Currently undergoing testing, the Block II missile is scheduled to be operational with the US Navy and US Air Force in early 2014, while the deliveries to international partners are expected to start in 2014.
Image: Raytheon’s Sidewinder missile being equipped onto an aircraft stationed aboard an aircraft carrier. Photo: DoD photo by petty officer 3rd class Brian Fleske, US Navy.