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
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
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'
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