December 10, 2009 (by Lieven Dewitte) - During a Sept. 23 test, an AIM-9X fired from a U.S. Air Force F-16C fighter sank a rapidly moving target boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
An F-16C from the 416th FTS flies near China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center, Calif., July 8 2004 during a successful AIM-9X test
Raytheon thus demonstrated the capability to employ the AIM-9X Sidewinder
advanced infrared-guided air-to-air missile to attack surface targets.
"With a software upgrade, AIM-9X retains its air-to-air capabilities and gains an air-to-surface capability," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "AIM-9X now has the potential to take on an additional mission at a very affordable cost."
The test marks the third time an AIM-9X engaged moving surface targets. In April 2008, a U.S. Air Force F-16 launched an AIM-9X and sank a maneuvering boat, and in March 2007, a U.S. Air Force F-15C fired an AIM-9X and destroyed a fast-moving armored personnel carrier.
The AIM-9X was launched for the first time
from an F-16 Fighting Falcon on April 9th 2004.