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AIM-9X Sidewinder.

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posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 09:56 AM

The AIM-9X is a supersonic, air-to-air, guided missile which employs a passive IR target acquisition system, proportional navigational guidance, a closed-loop position servo Control Actuation Section (CAS), and an AOTD. The AIM-9X is launched from an aircraft after target detection to home in on IR emissions and to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. The missile interfaces with the aircraft through the missile launcher using a forward umbilical cable, a mid-body umbilical connector and three missile hangars. The AIM-9X has three basic phases of operation: captive flight, launch, and free flight.

The AIM-9X utilizes the existing AIM-9M AOTD, warhead, and rocket motor, but incorporates a new Guidance Section (GS), new hangars, a new mid-body connector, new harness and harness cover, new titanium wings and fins, and a new CAS. The missile is propelled by the AIM-9M solid-propellant rocket motor, but uses a new Arm and Fire Device (AFD) handle design. Also, the AIM-9M rocket motor is modified to mount the CAS on its aft end. Aerodynamic lift and stability for the missile are provided by four forward-mounted , fixed titanium wings. Airframe maneuvering is accomplished by four titanium control fins mounted in line with the fixed wings and activated by the CAS, which includes a thrust vector control system that uses four jet vanes to direct the flow of the rocket motor exhaust. The AIM-9X is configured with the AIM-9M Annular Blast Fragmentation (ABF) warhead, which incorporates a new Electronic Safe and Arm Device (ESAD) to arm the warhead after launch. The AIM-9M AOTD is used to detect the presence of a target at distances out to the maximum effective range of the missile warhead and command detonation.

The AIM-9X will utilize mid-wave IR FPA seeker technology in lieu of the single-element IR seeker used in the AIM-9M. The AIM-9X will be a digital missile with Built-In-Test (BIT) and re-programming capability that is not present in the the analog AIM-9M. A buffer connector must be used on the mid-body umbilical connector when the AIM-9X is loaded on the LAU-127 launcher. The AIM-9X will use an internal cryogenic engine, called a cryoengine, for IR element cooling. The cryoengine does not require externally-supplied coolant, e.g., nitrogen, and thus does not use the nitrogen receiver assemblies contained in the LAU-7 and LAU-127 launchers, which provide IR element coolant for the AIM-9M. The AIM-9X will use titanium wings and fins. Also, the AIM-9X will use a CAS to direct movement of the aft fins and four internal jet vanes. The jet vanes direct the flow of the rocket motor exhaust to generate thrust vector control.

The AIM-9X will be integrated with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), a helmet-mounted display with capability to cue and verify cueing of high off-boresight sensors and weapons. This missile-helmet marriage will provide the aircrew with first-look, first-shot capability in the air-to-air, within visual range, combat arena. Increased off-boresight acquisition angle and improved situational awareness will be achieved through the integrated combination of the AIM-9X missile, the JHMCS and the aircraft.

The $275,000 missile is on the path to changing the face of aerial combat, according to Captain Stewart, who said he expects it to have a huge impact on warfighter tactics throughout the Air Force and other branches of service.

The Air Force is pairing the AIM-9X with the Helmet-Mounted Cueing System. The HMCS’ visor displays key data to the pilot and links the aircraft’s sensors and weapons. This combination will enable the pilot to aim and shoot the missile simply by looking in the direction of his target.

“With this combination (helmet and missile), I can look at the enemy, turn my head and cue the missile to look (at a target) and then launch,” said the Navy captain. “Pilots won’t have to use as much dog fighting and turning and maneuvering in order to put the aircraft in a lethal launch acceptability region with the missile … the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System with the AIM-9X is like a sidewinder on steroids.”

The time it takes to attack and kill an enemy aircraft will also be reduced by the HMCS/AIM-9X combination, according to Navy Cmdr. Roger Budd, AIM-9 Sidewinder office.

“So now, the pilot can attack and kill in a much shorter time period than before,” he said. “Which means the pilot is less vulnerable than before.”'AIM9X%20Sidewinder'

here's a cool video of its performance against aircraft.


this missile along with the new helmet mounted will give the decisive advantage for the U.S. Airforce, i dont know about the F-22 equipped with this, but it would make it more formidable being stealthy, fast, maneuvarable, detecting the enemy first, along witht the missile that makes impossible turns. this missile will help keep the air force on top, as well as make old planes like the F-15s and F-16s formidable for awhile.

posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 10:27 AM
HOLY CRAP!!! You see that thing make a 90 degree turn a hundred feet after launch? Cobra smodra!!! Who needs high g dogfighting moves when all you need to do is see your target. Imagine this missile in a two pilot aircraft? With two sets of these helmets? Sheesh!!

This is exciting technology people.

Imagine going against an F22 with these. If for some reason you lived long enough to get that close and then get shot down by it without the F22 even attempting to face you. Truly lethal. Total air dominance.

posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 11:04 AM
We are actually kind of late to the party on this one though.

The R-73 (AA-11 Archer) has had these kinds of capabilities for years, and the ASRAAAM too.

Kinda makes you wonder how badly our guys in the field get screwed by the Pentagon's glacially slow procurement process.

posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 12:34 PM
About time the US developed a missle like that.

posted on Jul, 12 2005 @ 02:58 PM
The U.S most likely didn't need it till now.

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:32 AM
Very good miss. One question. What is the max range for launching, because max range for launching of R-73 is 30km.

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:44 AM
The AIM-9M version is 29km. The -9X is supposed to be longer ranged than that. It uses the same warhead and motor as the -9M but it's supposed to have lower drag so more range. I haven't been able to find anything on the range though. But I admit I haven't really looked very much.

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 05:53 AM
1. Any missile which fails to integrate it's relative target positioning and orientation as a function of 3D Mapped images suffers inevitable 'frame lag' as the weapon deduces track from changes in relative pixel location via hte gimbal and plus intensity/plume changes. A staring focal plane array is less 'slow on the uptake' than a scanning mirror system but the delay is still there.

2. Any system which uses 'passive optics' _of any kind_ is vulnerable to dazzle, burnout or seductive stimulation techniques which are the raison` d'etre of directed IR countermeasures systems based on lasers. In many ways, it is better to fly a 1G profile and let the DIRCM do it's work than to try to 'out fly the missile' in close in engagements and this itself will remove a lot of the dynamicism of shot geometries which supposedly justify HOBS.

3. Between 1 & 2, the only thing the AIM-9X brings 'as new' to the table is an air to air thermal camera which can theoretically transmit images to a cockpit display beyond pilot tally range. If the weapon used a Lidar or multiband seeker so that it's CCM and all weather abilities were a bit more robust and it's ability to 'track in frame' as the target airframe axis rotated as a topographical map, it would be something. If it was 'so cheap' that we could use it as a MANPADS suppressor or 'insurgent APC' truck buster, that too would be neat. This is just 30 years after AIM-85 Agile and the SS-2D 'concept weapons' were getting similar range for maneuver profiles back in the period 1974-77.

4. There is a _reason_ they call it a 'miss-ile' rather than a 'hitt-ile'. One pass, you win or you lose. Single throw of the dice. MUCH more impressive is a weapon which flies out 70-100nm ahead of you and _hangs there_ (10-15nm down range from an enemy airbase lane) so that any enemy approaching you has to get by a threat weapon which at least theoretically has the ability to make multiple passes after the first G break bleeds the target airframe down a bit. The MALI is one such weapon.

5. Nobody should take brochure distances as meaning squat. A WVR weapon that is taken up to 40,000ft and Mach 1.4 may well fly out 15nm. But against a target with even a /hint/ of reserve defensive Ps, the effectives shrink to about 6-9nm, FQ (without Missile Approach Warning) at altitude and probably 2-2.5 low. With an effective missile warner and linked mechanical expendables on a high G airframe, these take another hit, down to about 4-6nm and 'under 1' at low. Insert high crossing rates of negative overtake of any kind, especially low and slow (which is where most of the video is shown) and the ranges can slide down to the thousands of feet.

The AIM-9X is a 1970's technology 5.5" motor being driven around the bend (to complete obsolescence) by a digital autopilot with 3D strap down but no (as of yet) inertial memory unit abilities to lock on after launch using sophisticated kinematic trajectory profile matching.

And no tether to 'eyes open' blinker the seeker scan in a multi party fight where _friendly_ fratricide limitation is also a serious concern.

The Archer is a 1980's technology motor driving about twelve maneuver, four flow stabilization and two AOA sensor whiskers downrange. It is also a bigger case weapon which means that while it is draggy as the Titanic steaming sideways through the Sahara, it can _overmatch_ the AIM-9X in some profiles.

The way it does so (on the M2 and later 74 versions) is by locking down the _dead weight_ of the thrust vector vanes so that absolutely none of the motor impulse is wasted 'straightening the curve' of an intercept flyout which is (and always will optimally be) less than 40` off the nose.

Even so, you are looking at a comparison between a 20km seeker on a 10km missile and a 12km seeker on a 10km missile (outer zone).

Again, DLZ variables being what they are, it will more often come down to who has the most dynamic offsets in a vertical or horizontal offensive split/pinch play as a function of delayed acquisition and who gets first look, lock and shot off.

Even here, there are an awful lot of pyrhhic variables because while the Russian helmet sight is more or less a clone of our own VTAS system (also 1970's vintage 'blinking lights' with no envelope or seeker point overlay); the fact remains that it pays more to get your missile /off/ than it does to work the inbound and the difference between each system is only a few seconds. While everybody and their wingman mother is going to be point-and-clicking at the plume source anyway (i.e. it doesn't pay to come into a WVR fight at anything less than extreme numbers advantagement and preset sorte:morte lockups).

The Russians (and the Euros) also have increasingly superlative IRST which is the method of choice for both passive wideangle search and tight-bore handoff synergization between weapons system and missile. While the U.S. solution is a more problematic (for engagement dynamics) tie-in between dual shooter teams sharing IFDL tracks. This can get choppy and lagged out, even if you have time to head-slew search for all the bandits. Even as it also presumes /someone/ is stood off with an aperture able to keep everybody sorted out. Which tends to imply an immediate numbers disparity.

On an F-16, I might take ONE X-Ray, just to give them something to think about in their EXCM block loadout. But the rest would all be 'honest' 60`X10nm AIM-120B/C.

On the F/A-22, the odds are even less useful because the best place for the Raptor is so far above the threat best fighting height (around 20-27K for most jets) that it compromises their lookup/shootup windows for whatever cued-heat shot they think they can support.

At 40-45K, the AIM-9M basically is no longer competitive for required launch speed and I doubt if the (smaller winged) 9X is much better.

Taking an X-Ray shot from 50K at somebody motoring along at

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 10:32 AM

The ASRAAM (Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile) is a new European (mainly British) short-range air-to-air missile. It is included in this directory of U.S. missiles because it was at one time planned to replace the AIM-9 Sidewinder in U.S. service and therefore received the official DOD missile designation AIM-132.

In 1980, a joint U.S./European agreement for development of a new family of air-to-air weapons was signed. This agreement put the responsibility for the BVR (Beyond Visual Range) AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) to the United States (leading to the AIM-120), while the complementary ASRAAM "dogfight missile" would be developed in Europe. After a joint British/German/Norwegian project definition phase between 1984 and 1987, it was decided to proceed with the development of the ASRAAM. The U.S. missile designation YAIM-132A was allocated to the forthcoming ASRAAM prototypes, although the U.S. military was not satisfied with the results of the definition phase. The AIM-132 was to be developed by a joint venture of the British company BAe Dynamics and the German BGT (Bodensee Gerätetechnik). In March 1989 the design was finalized but a few months later Germany pulled out of the program because of different requirements. While the UK put emphasis on high velocity and increased range, Germany insisted on a dogfight-optimized missile with extreme manoeuverability using TVC (Thrust-Vectoring Control) (this requirement eventually led to the IRIS-T missile development program). To make things worse, the other ASRAAM partners (USA, Canada, Norway) pulled out of the program in 1990, too.

In May 1991 the UK requested proposals from the industry for a new short-range air-to-air missile. Several companies submitted their designs, and in March 1992 a development contract for the ASRAAM was finally awarded to BAe Dynamics. Firing trials of the YAIM-132A began in 1994, and in February 1998 the ASRAAM gained its first international customer, when Australia selected the missile to arm its F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. In December 1998 the first ASRAAM missiles were delivered to the RAF for systems integration.

The AIM-132 is a high-speed short-range rocket-powered missile with a low-drag configuration without any forward flying surfaces. The missile is compatible with all available target designation systems like radar, electro-optical sensors and helmet-mounted cueing sights, and its low-smoke solid-propellant rocket motor provides very high acceleration off the launch rail. Using its four cruciform tail surfaces, the ASRAAM can pull up to 50 g immediately after launch. The main improvement compared to the existing AIM-9L/M Sidewinder, however, is the new Focal Plane Array IIR (Imaging Infrared) seeker, which is similar to the one used in the American AIM-9X. This seeker has a long acquisition range, high countermeasures resistance, high off-boresight (+/- 90°) field-of-view, and the capability to designate specific parts of the targeted aircraft (like cockpit, engines, etc.). The ASRAAM also has a LOAL (Lock-On After Launch) capability which is a distinct advantage when the missile is carried in an internal weapons bay. The maximum effective range of the missile of course depends on the exact parameters (e.g. head-on or tail-chase engagement), but a figure of 15 km (8 nm) is sometimes quoted (the true figure is probably higher). Minimum range is quoted as around 300 m (1000 ft). The ASRAAM is armed with a 10 kg (22 lb) blast-fragmentation warhead, which is triggered by a combined laser proximity/impact fuzing system.

To develop and produce the ASRAAM, BAe Dynamics had formed a joint venture with the French Matra company in 1996. In 2001, this and several other European missile manufacturers were incorporated into the new company MBDA Missile Systems. While the RAF had still rejected full-scale procurement of ASRAAM in 2001 because it was not meeting performance goals in some key areas, these problems have apparently been solved, and ASRAAM was finally declared ready for operational use with the RAF in September 2002. Although there are no plans by the U.S. military to procure this missile, the official DOD designation AIM-132A has been assigned to the production ASRAAM at the request of the Royal Australian Air Force.

The problem with the ASRAAM is its short range(15 km (8 nm)). The AIM-9X has a range of 40+ km (22+ nm).

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 10:39 AM

The AIM-9X seeks and homes in on IR energy emitted by the target. When an IR-emitting source enters the seeker field of view, an audio signal is generated by the electronics unit. The pilot hears the signal through the headset, indicating that the AIM-9X has acquired a potential target. One method of cueing the AIM-9X to the target’s IR energy source is referred to as boresight, whereby the missile is physically pointed toward the target via the pilot maneuvering the aircraft. The IR energy gathered by the missile seeker is converted to electronic signals that enable the missile to acquire and track the target up to its seeker gimbal limits.

A second method of cueing the AIM-9X to the target’s IR energy is the Sidewinder Expanded Acquisition Mode (SEAM). SEAM slaves the AIM-9X seeker to the aircraft radar. The aircraft avionics system can slave the missile seeker up to a given number of degrees from the missile/aircraft boresight axis. The missile seeker is slaved until an audible signal indicates seeker target acquisition. Upon target acquisition, a seeker interlock in the missile is released (uncaged) and the missile seeker begins tracking the target. The AIM-9X seeker will then continue to track the target.

A third method for cueing the AIM-9X to the target’s IR energy is through use of the JHMCS. This method allows the pilot to cue the AIM-9X seeker to high off-boresight targets via helmet movement. The pilot can launch the AIM-9X anytime after receipt of the appropriate audible signal.

posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 01:27 PM

The problem with the ASRAAM is its short range(15 km (8 nm)). The AIM-9X has a range of 40+ km (22+ nm).

Actually, the ASRAAM is almost certainly longer ranging than the AIM-9X as the Brits have always known how to design superb (if overly complex) IR weapons:


You size the motor to the kinematic envelope and aspect model you want and (usually) the seeker problems solve themselves (they had ALASCA on the Blue Streak and Red Top weapons by the late 50's or early 60's).

Indeed, the Brits had SRAAM/Tail Dog as a _guided_ hyper agile experimental AAM prototype which 'nearly took the nose off a Hunter testbed in pursuit of a Jindivik drone crossing at 90`, 1,000ft off the nose'.

This at roughly the same time period as we were experimenting with AGILE and CLAW, as simple (aeros only) weapons in say 1973-75 or so.

And they chose not to go that route because they _knew_ that the best weapon you can have is one which takes the fight farthest off your nose before it makes the ENEMY 'honor the turn signal' of inbound threat.

In this, the ASRAAM continues a fine tradition in the following ways:

1. It is a 6+" weapon with approximately 1/4 the drag of the Pythons or the Archer.
2. It has an IMU with full strapdown abilities and (as mentioned) LOAL. So that you can lobshot the round at a target that is -approaching- the 12-15km seeker acquisition zone using predictive lead to cue the seeker search volumes.
3. The motor inside that big tube and indeed the seeker dome (some kind of exotic saphire I believe) are all tailored to a sustained Mach 3.5-4 'building' midcourse.

The last in particular makes ASRAAM (by far) the fastest SRM on Earth and thus renders any comment about it's 'short range' equally suspicious if not specious as the assumptions of a 20km flyout on the AIM-9X (powered by a Mk.36 AIM-9L/M motor).

When we backed out of the MOU for AMRAAM/ASRAAM it was for the following reasons:

1. We found the brits had been dorking around too long in the 'white paper' internal definition of requirements too long. So that numbers and inventory dates didn't gel with initially promised costs.
2. Their big body missile came with a completely new rail interface (at the time there was actually a trirail launch shoe as well, like a Maverick) that was incompatible with existing LAU-7 cooling/wiring.
3. Our tech people called it "A camel in a race horse course..." (Camels will outrun a horse over long distances but as 'ships of the desert' don't turn worth a dang).

IMO, the last in particular only reinforces the notion that the ASRAAM is in fact a BEAUTIFUL long range design. With full internal cooling, excellent proportional nav and a heavy warhead plus a sustained high impulse to offset the 'camel like' tendencies of those tail controls.

Which might otherwise be thought likely to completely deplete the round terminal endgame reserves with the first threat breaking turn which drove the missile nose up (high AOA's require a lot of cross control inputs to eliminate roll at yaw moments in the Cartesian control methodology).

Of course there are other penalties in that the ASRAAM only has about a 60` HOBS envelope (which is just fine and equivalent to the AMRAAM) and lacking TVC (which the Brits offered to P3I integrate, along with a wider seeker bore, if we accepted the weapon for our AIM-9X candidacy) it probably conserves momentum via wide steer target volume reacquisition 'on the far side' of any over the shoulder (single circle) close-in modes.

Since the Brits cannot afford a large number of AMRAAMs (or won't, because of the broken MOU) and given they are shifting towards a 20-60nm capability in the Meteor anyway, it makes sense that this weapon be as much of an 'intermediate/BVR' ranging system as possible rather than requiring an AIM-120 to fill the gap between LRAAM and SRM.

If there is one problem that besets the ASRAAM to this day, it is that the seeker is in fact that of the AIM-9X. And if the Brits truly wanted a super-BVR lockup option, (as well as better export options from nations that might otherwise think it too close to a U.S. 'known' of IRCCM techniques) they would have been better off going with a higher detector count on an indigenous GCU.

As an alternative (and one which was in fact trialled using miniaturized Sea Eagle technology); they could have gone with an ARH seeker and a full tether as the MICA offers.

Either way, you are looking at a 220lb weapon vs. a 360lb AIM-120 or 390lb R-77 so you know you are going to lose the total impulse game. But if you can use deceptive maneuver and -assuming- your target doesn't have MAWS technology, the ASRAAM offers some unique options in the transmerge fight (inside radar separation of formation elements, outside visual tally distances).

I remember, back in '97 or so, when the Brits came to a Maple Flag I think it was, the F-15's had a real handful trying to keep them out of the AWACS' shorts and the number of 'impossible!' Fox-2 calls later fully BVR validated got quite a few people thinking about our spectral choices and RF dependencies (in this it should be noted we seldom allow 'pitbull' mode launches with AMRAAM, all shots must be fully supported to handoff).


posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 02:23 PM

Thanks, your posts in this thread have been highly informative.

I love hearing all the nitty-gritty details of this stuff

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