Raytheon has received a $291m contract from the US Navy to manufacture AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared-tracking, short-range, air-to-air and surface-to-air missile.
The contract is for all up round tactical full-rate production lot 16 and will include missile deliveries for the US Navy, Air Force, Army and the governments of Japan, Norway and Taiwan.
It also includes procurement of AIM-9X Block II captive air training missiles, containers and spare components for the US Navy and the US Air Force and other US allies.
Work under the contract will be carried out in Tucson, Arizona, US, and is slated to be completed in 2019.
The AIM-9X Block II is an upgraded version of Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range missile. It entered operational service in 2003 and achieved initial operational capability in March 2015.
The dual-use missile can be used in either air-to-air or surface-to-air applications, without requiring any modifications.
The Block II variant features a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device, which improves ground handling and in-flight safety.
It is also incorporated with updated electronics, including lock-on-after-launch capability using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements.
The missile system is currently deployed with the US Navy and on the US Air Force's F-15, F-16 and F-18 aircraft as well as 18 other nations.
Image: A US Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft fitted with AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. Photo: courtesy of DoD photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Fleske, US Navy.