you are spouting the same things said in the 1970`s as to the failures of the very best F-4`s and the very latest BVR missiles of the day - the
You’re comparing the first generation Sparrow to the AMRAAM of today? C’mon the missiles and their support systems are world’s apart.
In 1963, production switched to the AIM-7E version. It used a new propulsion system, a solid-fueled rocket by Rocketdyne (either a MK 38 or later a MK
52). The new motor again significantly increased range and performance of the missile. Effective range of course depended greatly on firing parameters
like launch speed and relative velocity of the target. In head-on attacks under optimal conditions, it could be as high as 35 km (20 nm), while in
stern attacks, maximum effective range was more around 5.5 km (3 nm).
About 7500 AIM-7D and 25000 AIM-7E missiles were built, and the Sparrow was used heavily in Vietnam by the USAF and the U.S. Navy. The first combat
kill was scored on 7 June 1965, when USN F-4B Phantoms shot down 2 MiG-17s. However, the initial combat results were very disappointing. The
potentially long range of the AIM-7 could not be used, because unreliable IFF capabilities of the time effectively required visual identification of
all targets. Coupled with the high minimum range of the missile of 1500 m (5000 ft) and poor performance against manoeuvering and/or low-flying
targets, this led to a kill probability of less than 10%. Therefore, the improved AIM-7E-2 was introduced in 1969 as a "dogfight missile". It had a
shorter minimum range, clipped wings for higher manoeuverability, and improved autopilot and fuzing. The AIM-7E-3 had further improved fuzing and
higher reliability, and the AIM-7E-4 was specially adapted for use with high-power fighter radars (like the F-14's AN/AWG-9). Despite all problems,
more than 50 aircraft were shot down by Sparrow missiles during the Vietnam air war.
The AIM-120A is powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor in a WPU-6/B propulsion section. Before launch, the launching aircraft's fire control
system programs the missile's inertial autopilot in the WGU-16/B guidance unit to bring it into a homing basket in the vicinity of the target. The
autopilot can receive mid-course updates from the aircraft via a data link. The AMRAAM's WCU-11/B control section controls the missile in flight with
the four movable tail fins. As soon as the target is within range, the AMRAAM activates its active radar seeker for autonomous terminal homing. The 23
kg (50 lb) WDU-33/B fragmentation warhead is detonated by an FZU-49/B fuzing system consisting of a "smart" (anti-clutter) proximity fuze and an
impact fuze. The effective range of the AIM-120A of course highly depends on the firing parameters, and official performance data are classified.
Typical quoted figures for maximum range vary between 50 km (30 miles) and 70 km (45 miles). For the lower portions of the AMRAAM's range envelope
(minimum range is said to be 2 km (2200 yds)), where the mid-course guidance updates are not needed, the AIM-120 is a true fire-and-forget weapon.
The guidance unit of the AIM-120C is upgraded to WGU-44/B standard. The first P3I Phase 2 missile is the AIM-120C-4 (first delivered in 1999), which
has an improved WDU-41/B warhead. The AIM-120C-5 is a C-4 with a slightly larger motor in the new WPU-16/B propulsion section and a new shorter
WCU-28/B control section with compressed electronics and ECCM upgrades. Deliveries of the AIM-120C-5 began in July 2000. The current production
version of AMRAAM is the AIM-120C-6, which features an updated TDD (Target Detection Device). The AIM-120C-7 (P3I Phase 3), development of which has
begun in 1998, incorporates improved ECCM with jamming detection, an upgraded seeker, and longer range. The latter feature was specifically requested
by the U.S. Navy to get a (somewhat) suitable replacement for the AIM-54 Phoenix very-long range missile, which was then planned to be retired
together with the F-14D Tomcat around 2007 (actual official retirement was already in Spetember 2004). The AIM-120C-7 was successfully tested against
combat-realistic targets in August and September 2003, and IOC was then planned for 2004.
Because of the recent introduction of the AIM-120 it has only been fired in combat 3 times and has hit the target every time.
The Slammer also has an astonishing record in both flight tests (once proper sofware was perfected) and in combat. For example, in one test over White
Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, one F-15C Eagle ripple-fired four AIM-120A's at 4 QF-100 drones. The drones were performing evasive maneovers,
releasing chaff, and were also equipped with jammers. All 4 AIM-120's hit the targets dead-on. This and other tests earned the nickname Slammer (One
F-15 driver compared firing the AMRAAM at targets to being like clubbing baby seals), as well as other nicknames such as "The World War III Shot".
Some people have even taken to calling the AMRAAM the "Go Get'em Fido" Missile. The Slammer has been fired in combat on 3 occasions. On the first,
which took place on 27 December 1992, an F-16C patrolling the No-Fly Zone over Iraq destroyed an Iraqi MiG-25 Foxbat head-on at medium range. Later on
17 January 1993 another F-16C shot down an Iraqi MiG-23 at closer range, at the limit of the AMRAAM's no-escape zone. The third kill in AMRAAM
history took place over Bosnia when a Serbian tactical fighter, flying in a terrain-hugging profile, was hit by a U.S. Slammer.
even when F-14`s engaged libyan fighters did bvr shots MISS.
Again your using the past to judge the more recent A2A missiles, like I showed the Sparrow wasn’t great from the start partly due to technical
limitations and design constraints from the era when it was designed. If you could show to me that the same problems persist in the more recent BVR
missiles then I might be more accepting of your point. However all you have done is looked toward the past while ignoring recent changes.
What happened in this exercise reinforces the need for in depth training of pilots in the strengths and limitations of the weapon systems they
are using! We saw the same lesson when the F-117 Nighthawk was lost in Kosavo a few years ago. After the spectacular sucess of the Nighthawk in Desert
Storm, many people forgot that Stealth Aircraft aren't invincible!
I don't think most people thought the Raptor was invincible, just that it would be harder to shoot down. As such the only
thing that we can
conclude from these two images without knowing the rules and parameters of this exercise is that the Raptor can
be shot down, but then again
people already knew that.
[edit on 12-4-2006 by WestPoint23]