AIM-9X Sidewinder
AIM-9X Sidewinder

AIM-9X Sidewinder

The AIM-9X is the newest member of the AIM-9  Sidewinder short-range missile family in use by more than 40 nations around the world. This next-generation Sidewinder missile passed operational evaluation in November 2003 and was approved for full-rate production in May 2004.


Enhanced Capability

The AIM-9X acquisition plan addresses the urgent warfighting requirement for the develop- ment and deployment of a next-generation Sidewinder to replace the AIM-9M. AIM-9X is a launch-and-leave air combat missile that uses passive infrared (IR) energy for acquisition and tracking. The AIM-9X can be employed in both near beyond visual range and within visual range arenas. Complemented by the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), the AIM-9X equipped warfighter has offensive firepower that is unmatched by any other weapon systems in the world. The  AIM-9X program addresses the requirement for evolutionary improvements to the AIM-9 series missile through  revolutionary advancements. This extends the operational effectiveness of existing  inventories at an affordable cost while continuing the  evolution of the AIM-9 series.


AIM-9X provides the warfighter with the following capabilities: full day/night employment, resistance to countermeasures, extremely high off-boresight acquisition and launch envelopes, greatly enhanced maneuverability and improved target acquisition ranges. The AIM-9X airframe coupled with other advanced features gives fighter pilots a significant tactical advantage in the dogfight arena. The AIM-9X uses an extremely agile thrust vector controlled airframe. Configured with a mature and high-performance staring focal plane array (FPA) sensor and existing AIM-9M components (rocket motor, warhead and fuze),  AIM-9X evolutionary design is a low-cost, low-risk, all-up-round evolutionary design with robust performance. The digital design architecture of the AIM-9X provides growth capability to ensure  air superiority in the future.


AIM-9X Development AIM-9X is a joint U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force program with the Navy designated as the Executive Service. Several nations have already selected AIM-9X as their next short-range missile, and potential exists for  procurement by numerous other coalition nations. The first AIM-9X air launch was accomplished in March 1999. This milestone was the first in a series of separation and control test vehicle and guided launches. From 1999 to 2001, the AIM-9X program  launched 19 separation and control test vehicles and 18 guided launches from U.S. Navy F/A-18 and U.S. Air Force F-15 aircraft. Of the 18 guided firings, 14 resulted in direct hits against QF-4 unmanned drones. The AIM-9X engineering and manufacturing development (E&MD) phase completed the development of the missile


tactical system design and established the weapons system interface with the F-15C and F/A-18C/D aircraft and the  joint helmet-mounted cueing system. U.S. government  development and operational testing plans include extensive captive carry reliability testing and free-flight guided launches. In addition to the F/A-18C/D and the F-15C, AIM-9X will be  integrated on the Navy F/A-18E/F and the Air Force F-15E, F-16, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the F-22 during Follow-on Test and Evaluation. AIM-9X is fully compatible with the LAU-12X series and the LAU-7 launchers.


The Threat

For more than 40 years, U.S. and coalition fighter pilots have enjoyed air superiority in short-range engagements. Now, however, current threat missiles, aircraft and environments may eclipse this advantage ... demanding a new fifth generation Sidewinder Missile — the AIM-9X.


AIM-9X – The Answer

In modern short-range air-to-air combat, first-shot/first-kill capability is necessary to ensure victory in today’s high technology battlefield. Coalition fighter pilots will enter the fight with AIM-9X, a missile that retains the essence of Sidewinder heritage, while employing a fifth-generation seeker and thrust vectoring control for unprecedented performance. The Raytheon team’s experience in advanced IR technologies,  weapons systems integration and affordable missile production provides an AIM-9X that ensures air superiority for the 21st century.



Superior Performance Exceeds Tactical Requirement

  • Greatly enhanced acquisition  ranges in blue sky and clutter
  • IR countermeasures resistance  to meet the threats of today  and tomorrow
  • Extremely high off-boresight  capability gives the pilot the  first-shot first-kill opportunity
  • Highly agile airframe 
  • Inherent growth potential


Fifth Generation

Leadership in Advanced IR Missiles and Weapon Systems Integration Brings the Warfighter Unprecedented Technology Today — AIM-9X. Raytheon’s commitment and acknowledged leadership in advanced IR missile design enabled a low-risk, low-cost development phase that ensures air superiority for the U.S. and coalition warfighter. Mature enabling technologies that include staring FPAs, adaptive compensation techniques, and advanced IR signal processing permit a low risk E&MD phase. The Raytheon AIM-9X team is a world leader in advanced digital aircraft weapons integration.  This weapon system design experience includes the  AMRAAM; the AMRAAM/ AIM-9X compatible digital launcher; the F-14D, F/A-18E/F and F-15 advanced radars;  and the F-22 weapon system.  Raytheon understands the digital combat environment and the critical weapon system parameters necessary to fight and win in the pre- and  post-merge arena.



Revolutionary Ideas Through Evolutionary Development. The critical path of any missile development is through the seeker. The payoff from leveraging an in-production

seeker and Raytheon’s extensive commitment to advanced  fifth-generation IR technologies is a low-cost, low-risk AIM-9X development. Raytheon’s  advanced, mature IR FPA sensor and innovative guidance and control design combined with reuse of existing components presents an AIM-9X that is affordable and lethal. Features such as a cryoengine and an extended warranty significantly reduce the cost of ownership while increasing the AIM-9X tactical utility and availability. Raytheon’s integrated product team culture and lean  manufacturing techniques are combined with acquisition reform initiatives to produce an affordable, low-risk, and highly reliable AIM-9X design.

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