The US Department of Defense announced that Raytheon has been awarded a $43 million contract for the procurement of 64 AIM-9X Block II all up round tactical full-rate production of missiles for the governments of Japan, Norway, and Taiwan. In addition to these missiles, this modification provides for the procurement of 70 Block II captive air training missiles.
The Block II upgrade adds Lock-on After Launch capability with a datalink, so the missile can be launched first and then directed to its target afterwards by an aircraft with the proper equipment for 360 degree engagements. The AIM-9X Block II is also equipped with redesigned fuse and a unidirectional forward-quarter data-link.
The AIM-9X missile is a true dual-use missile, effective in either air-to-air or surface-to-air applications with no modifications required. It is compatible with the U.S. Army’s ground-based multi-mission launcher.
The effectiveness and versatility of the AIM-9X missile have been combat-proven in several theaters throughout the world. It is actively deployed on U.S. Navy and Air Force F-15, F-16 and F-18 aircraft, and also in the air forces of 18 international customers.
The AIM-9X Block II missile is the current version of the AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range missile family, in use by more than 40 nations. This next generation missile is in its 14th year of production.
The new Block II variant adds a redesigned fuze and a digital ignition safety device that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety. It also features updated electronics that enable significant enhancements, including lock-on-after-launch capability using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements.
Author: Daniel Kasprzycki
Photo: Raytheon's AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile (Raytheon)
Sources: Raytheon wins $43mn contract from Norway, Japan and Taiwan for AIM-9X Block II missiles, www.airrecognition.com; AIM-9X Sidewinder Missile, www.raytheon.com