The U.S. Navy and Raytheon Company completed operational testing and evaluation live fires of the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile. Testing and evaluation consisted of 16 planned shots against a mix of full-scale and sub-scale targets. The U.S. government is now finalizing approval, acceptance and delivery of Block II missiles to the U.S. services and foreign allies for later this year.
"The AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II builds upon the proven reliability of Block I with significant advancements that improve handling, loading, in-flight safety and most importantly the ability to acquire, track and destroy an adversary," said Captain Jim Stoneman, PMA-259 Air-to-Air Missiles Program Office, which led development of the Block II missile.
The new AIM-9X missile retains all of Block I’s dogfighting capabilities and continues to deliver the "First Look, First Shot, First Kill" capability. It has new processors in the guidance section and a new fuze that includes a weapon datalink, which can enable the missile to lock-on-after-launch. Future missile software updates will be able to further expand missile capabilities as the speed and increased memory capacity of the new processors are leveraged.
"The development of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II now brings the warfighter two very important missile capabilities," said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president. "First, they have rapid, high off-boresight acquisition to enable the first firing opportunity in a hard-turning visual dogfight. Second, the pilot can now extend their reach through the use of aircraft sensors and weapon datalink to engage with Sidewinder missiles well before the initial merge to help ensure the survival and triumph of our warfighters."