AIM-9 Sidewinder

Short Range Air-to-Air Missile

Introduction

The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile. It has a high-explosive warhead and a passive infrared guidance system. It is used by a variety of Western fixed-wing combat aircraft and helicopters, and has been adopted for surface-to-air use as the Chaparral missile. Unit cost ranges from USD $56,000 to USD $84,000 (FY 1999).


History

In 1949, a small team at NOTS (later NWC) China Lake, led by Dr. McLean, investigated the passive Infra Red homing problem, with limited financial means. Surprisingly, the result of this low-profile research project is still known as one of the world's leading dogfight missiles. As if the financial limitations were not restrictive enough, the team imposed on itself one further restriction: it chose for an airframe of only 5 inch (127mm) diameter, which made fitting in the necessary electronics (still vacuum-tube in those days) a major challenge. The research led to a contract, awarded to Philco in 1951, for a homing head.

On 11 September 1953, the first successful missile, designated XAAM-N-7, was fired and the missile reached IOC in 1956. Designations were N-7 (US Navy), GAR-8 (USAF) and SW-1 (Development). The AIM-9 designation was assigned to the Sidewinder in 1962, while RB.74 is the Swedish designation. Over the years, the missile has been continuously improved and updated, the latest projected versions being the AIM-9R and AIM-9X.

Construction


Modified AIM-9L/M on a Belgian F-16A during Red Flag 97-4. (F-16.net photo)
Early Sidewinders consisted of sections of cilindrical aluminum tube, with the seeker head fitted at the front end together with the control fins. The rear end has four fixed fins, each containing a so-called 'rolleron'. These patented rollerons are in fact small wheels, one of which is mounted at the rear tip of each fixed tailfin. These wheels are slightly milled at the edges, so they are made to spin at high-speed by the slipstream. The rollerons act as air-driven mini-gyros, their inertial moment resisting every change in attitude. This way, they tend to roll-stabilize the missile. Both tailfins and control surfaces are in a cross-like arrangement.

The missile's main components are an infrared homing guidance section, an active optical target detector, a high-explosive warhead, and a rocket motor. The infrared guidance head enables the missile to home on target aircraft engine exhaust. An infrared unit costs less than other types of guidance systems, and can be used in day/night and electronic countermeasures conditions. The infrared seeker also permits the pilot to launch the missile, then leave the area or take evasive action while the missile guides itself to the target. The early models used an uncooled PbS (Leadsulfide) seeker which yielded a 70% SSKP (Single-Shot Kill Probability) in ideal conditions, but extremely bad results in less-than-ideal circumstances. The seeker showed a tendency to lock-on to the sun or reflections from water surfaces. De original solid-engine was produced by Hunter-Douglas, Hercules and Norris-Thermador, and accelerated the missile to Mach 2.5 in 2.2 seconds.

Versions

AIM-9, AIM-9A, AIM-9B

The original version was built in 3 almost identical versions, with the majority of missiles produced being of the 9B variant. 80,900 were built by Philco (later Ford) and Raytheon, and a further 15,000 were built by a European consortium. The AIM-9B FGW.2 is a modification made to the European missiles in the late 60s, incorporating a new seeker head designed by BGT with silicium nose dome (silicium is - at infra red wavelengths- more transparent than glass), a cooled seeker and solid-state electronics.

AIM-9C/D

The C and D models are both realizations of the same model (the SW-1C) built by Motorola and Ford respectively, introducing the Rocketdyne Mk.36 solid motor providing for greater range, and a new guidance system. The 9C was actually a SARH variant for the F-8 Crusader but proved to be unreliable, while the 9D offered an improved nitrogen-cooled IR seeker with a magnesium-fluoride dome. The 9D also offered a smaller field-of-view, faster tracking/reticle speed, detachable larger fins powered by high-power actuators fed from a longer-burning gas generator, and a 22.4lbs continuous-rod annular blast-fragmentation warhead replaced the old 10lbs one. Both IR or HF fuzes could be fitted.

AIM-9E, AIM-9E-2


The YF-16 and F-16 No.1, both with AIM-9E Sidewinders. Note the radar-less small nose of the YF on the left. (Tom Collins photo)
The Echo expanded the engagement envelope at low altitudes through its new Ford seeker head with Peltier (thermoelectric) cooling and new electronics - enabling faster tracking speed. The AIM-9E has an improved guidance and control system, as well as a more aerodynamic nose. This model provides greater range and enhanced low-altitude capability against maneuvering targets. Some E models are equipped with reduced-smoke rocket motors and have the designation AIM-9E-2.

AIM-9G/H

The AIM-9G was the first version to include SEAM (Sidewinder Expanded Acquisition Mode), basically an improved AIM-9D seeker head, but was quickly made obsolete by the AIM-9H. The latter was the first model to offer limited all-weather capability, as well as solid-state electronics and double-delta control surfaces resulting in a superior maneuverability compared to older models. SEAM slaves the seeker head of the missile to the radar when in "dogfight" mode, which enables the seeker head to be uncaged, slewed toward a specific target by the aircraft radar, and made to track that particular target before being launched.

AIM-9J, AIM-9J-1, AIM-9J-3, AIM-9N, Rb 24

The AIM-9Js are rebuilt 9E or 9B missiles, sacrificing range for speed. Detachable double-delta controls were added, as well as solid-state electronics and a long burning gas generator. The J model has an expanded target-engagement cone which enables it to be launched at any spot in the rear half of a target aircraft rather than merely at its exhaust. The Dash-1 and Dash-3 are improved versions and actually all-new. the AIM-9J-1 later became the AIM-9N. The Swedish AIM-9J's are designated as Rb 24.

AIM-9L/M, AIM-9M-7, Rb 74


A close look at the teeth of the Wild Weasel: two 35th FW F-16CJ-50s carrying HTS pod, 2x AIM-9P, 2x AIM-120, 2x AGM-88, ECM pod, and 2x 370gal fuel tanks. (USAF photo)

The AIM-9L introduced yet another new guidance system making it a true all-aspect missile (which means it doesn't need to be aimed at the exhaust of the target but can also lock on e.g. wing edges heated by air friction), and an annular blast-fragmentation warhead surrounded by a sheath of pre-fragmented rods. It uses a proximity-fuze, consisting of a ring of GaAs (Gallium-Arsenide) laserdiodes and corresponding photodiodes. If the target is close enough to reflect the emitted light back to the receiving photodiodes, the warhead is fired. This improved optical fuze increases the missile's lethality and resistance to electronic countermeasures. Despite its basic design, the all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder still remains a potent threat, exceeded in effectiveness perhaps only by the Russian-built Molniya/Vympel R-73 (known in the West as the AA-11 Archer) which combines aerodynamic and thrust-vectoring control systems. The Swedish AIM-9L's are designated as Rb 74.

The AIM-9M has the all-aspect capability of the L model, but provides all-around higher performance. The M model has improved defense against infrared countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor. These modifications increase ability to locate and lock-on a target and decrease the missile's chances for detection. Deliveries of the M model began in 1983.

The AIM-9M-7 was a specific modification to the AIM-9M in response to threats expected in the Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm theater of operation.

AIM-9P, AIM-9P-1, AIM-9P-2, AIM-9P-3, AIM-9P-4


Low-level Pakistani F-16A, armed with 2 AIM-9P Sidewinders and 2 high-drag Mk.82s. (PAF photo)
The AIM-9P is either a B/E or J rebuilt or all-new and offers new motor, fuze and better reliability. It has greater engagement boundaries, enabling it to be launched farther from the target. The more maneuverable P model also incorporated improved solid-state electronics that increased reliability and maintainability. Deliveries began in 1978. The AIM-9P-1 has an active optical target detector instead of the infrared influence fuze; the AIM-9P-2 added a reduced-smoke motor. The most recently developed version, the AIM-9P-3, combined both the active optical target detector and the reduced-smoke motor. It also has added mechanical strengthening to the warhead as well as the guidance and control section. The improved warhead uses new explosive material that is less sensitive to high temperature and has a longer shelf life. The AIM-9P-4 adds all-aspect capability to conversions.

AIM-9Q

AIM-9M with upgraded guidance/control section.

AIM-9R

The AIM-9R was originally funded as the AIM-9M Product Improvement Program (PIP). Under Pave Prism, the research effort continued for enhanced clutter rejection, better aim-point selection, increased field-of-view for tracking highly maneuverable or off-boresight targets and better IRCCM (Infra Red Counter Counter Measures).

The seeker head incorporates a 3-gimbal stabilized optical platform bearing a new Imaging IR (IRR) seeker with a focal plane array, which can lock on at greater ranges than any previous version, a digital image processor and autotrack function, and the use of EPROM (Electronically Programmable ROM) to facilitate software upgrades. The 9R also dispenses with the refrigeration system, which was mounted either in the missile itself (USAF) or inside the launcher shoe (US Navy versions). The USD $50 million development effort began in 1987, and the first 65 pre-production IIR seekers were delivered to the US Navy in May 1990. Five out of the six first tests were successful. In September 1991, the US Air Force dropped out of the AIM-9R program, arguing that the $103,000 unit cost was too high (Unit cost estimates range from $70,000 according to the Navy, to as high as $180,000.) The Air Force withdrawal put the full financial burden on Navy budgets, leading to a decision in December to drop the AIM-9R altogether.

AIM-9S

AIM-9M with IRCCM deleted for Foreign Military Sales customers.

AIM-9X

The AIM-9X is the latest development in the Sidewinder family. Construction of the missile started back in 1992 and introduction is foreseen between 2001 and 2004, when full rate production is set to start.

The AIM-9X is a further and enhanced development of the M-version. It will solve the existing deficiencies of the M-version on the field of high off-boresight angle capability, infra-red counter-countermeasures and missile maneuverability. This will help the missile to keep track with existing ait-to-air missiles available on the international market.

F-16 Installation

F-16 Loadout

On the F-16, AIM-9 Sidewinders can be loaded on stations 1 and 9 (wingtip), 2 and 8, and 3 and 7 (1 missile on each station).

Operational Use

The simplicity of the AIM-9 with 'less than 24 moving parts' (as advertised) made the missile in a low-cost and reliable piece of armament which was above all compatible with most exisitng aircraft types. Although earlier version were restricted to perfect visibility, close stern engagements, later versions quickly alleviated these problems.

In order to fire a missile, the pilot listens in his headset for the signals of the missile. As soon as the missile is uncaged, the pilots hears a 'seeking tone'. As soon as the missile has acquired a target, the tone changes into a 'growl', varying in pitch according to the quality of the lock. Later variants of the missile can be slaved to the radar, so when the pilot achieves a radar-lock on a target, the radar can 'tell' the Sidewinder where to look for it.

The first operational use of the Sidewinder came in October 1958, only 2 years after the system achieved IOC. Large Numbers of rounds were fired by Nationalist Chinese F-86s against Chinese MiG-17, with 14 kills claimed in one single day.

Extensive use of the Sidewinder was made in during the Vietnam conflict. The following tables shows AIM-9 kills attributed to the US armed services involved. If the listings are incomplete or contains errors then feel free to send in updates

DateTargetAircrewAircraftUnit
10 Jul, 1965MiG-17T. Roberts/R.AndersonF-4C45th/2nd AD
10 Jul, 1965MiG-17K.Hokombe/A.Clark F-4C45th/2nd AD
23 Apr, 1966MiG-17M. Cameron/R. Evans F-4C555th/8th TFW
23 Apr, 1966MiG-17R. Blake/S.W. GeorgeF-4C555th/8th TFW
26 Apr, 1966MiG-21P. Gilmore/W. SmithF-4C480th/35th TFW
26 Apr, 1966MiG-17W. Dowell/H. GossardF-4C555th/8th TFW
30 Apr, 1966MiG-17L. Godberg/G. HarfgraveF-4C555th/8th TFW
12 May, 1966MiG-17W. Dudley/I.Kringelis F-4C555th/8th TFW
14 Jul, 1966MiG-21W. Swendner/D. Buttlell Jr.F-4C480th/35th TFW
14 Jul, 1966MiG-21R. Martin/R. KriepsF-4C480th/35th TFW
16 Sep, 1966MiG-17J. Jameson/D. RoseF-4C555th/8th TFW
5 Nov, 1966MiG-21W. Latham Jr./K. KlauseF-4C480th/35th TFW
2 Jan, 1967MiG-21W. Radeker II/J. Murray IIIF-4C555th/8th TFW
2 Jan, 1967MiG-21R. Olds/C. CliftonF-4C555th/8th TFW
2 Jan, 1967MiG-21E. Raspberry/R. WesternF-4C555th/8th TFW
4 May, 1967MiG-21R. Olds/W. LafeverF-4C555th/8th TFW
13 May, 1967MiG-17C. OsborneF-105D333th/355th TFW
13 May, 1967MiG-17R. RillingF-105D333th/355th TFW
13 May, 1967MiG-17W. Kirk/S. WayneF-4C433rd/8th TFW
20 May, 1967MiG-21R. Janca/W. RobertsF-4C389th/366th TFW
20 May, 1967MiG-17J. Pardo/S. WayneF-4C433rd/8th TFW
20 May, 1967MiG-17P. Combies/D. LaffertyF-4C433rd/8th TFW
20 May, 1967MiG-17R. Olds/S. CrockerF-4C433rd/8th TFW
22 May, 1967MiG-21R. Titus/M. ZimmerF-4C389th/366th TFW
3 Jun, 1967MiG-17L. WigginsF-105D469th/388th TFW
5 Jun, 1967MiG-17R. Pascoe/N. WellsF-4C555th/8th TFW
31 May, 1972MiG-21B. Leonard Jr./J. FeinsteinF-4E13th/432nd TFW
21 Jun, 1972MiG-21V. Christiansen/K. HardenF-4E469th/388th TFW
8 Jul, 1972MiG-21S. Ritchie/C. DeBellevueF-4E555th/432nd TRW
18 Jul, 1972MiG-21C. Baily/J. FeinsteinF-4E13th/432nd TRW
9 Sep, 1972MiG-19J. Madden Jr. C. DeBellevueF-4D555th/432nd TRW
9 Sep, 1972MiG-19J. Madden Jr. C. DeBellevueF-4D555th/432nd TRW
12 Sep, 1972MiG-21L. Beckers/T. GriffenF-4E35th/388th TFW
12 Sep, 1972MiG-21M. Mahaffey/G. ShieldsF-4D469th/388th TFW
16 Sep, 1972MiG-21C. Tibbett/W. HargroveF-4E555th/432nd TRW
15 Oct, 1972MiG-21R. Holtz/W. DiehlF-4E34th/432nd TRW
15 Oct, 1972MiG-21I. McCoy Jr./F. BrownF-4D523rd/432nd TRW
22 Dec, 1972MiG-21J. Brunson/R. PickettF-4E555th/432nd TRW
USAF Vietnam Sidewinder Kills

Randy H. 'Duke' Cunningham was the first American pilot ace of the Vietnam War and the first Navy jet ace in history. Flying combat missions from the USS Constellation as part of the VF-96, he and his RIO Bill Driscoll downed a MiG-21 Fishbed in a treetop-level dogfight on the 19 January 1972 making this their first victory. The 8 May 1972 engagement saw them take on 3 MiG-17 'Frescos', shooting down one tailing their wingman.

Two days later, 10 May 1972 as part of the onset to Operation LINEBACKER over 20 MiG-17's attacked there formation east of Hanoi. During the battle the pair scored their third, fourth and fifth kills. The last being the most famous as it turned out to be one of the North Vietnamese's top aces. Unfortunately during their return to the USS Constellation their F-4 was hit by a SA-2 Guideline surface to air missile which caused substantial damage resulting in the crew ejecting over the Gulf of Tonkin. For theire actions, Cunningham and Driscoll were awarded the Navy Cross.

DateTargetAircrewAircraftUnit
12 Jun, 1966MiG-17H.MarrF-8EVF-211
21 Jun, 1966MiG-17P.VampatellaF-8EVF-211
13 Jul, 1966MiG-17W.McGuigan/R.FowlerF-4BVF-161
9 Oct, 1966MiG-21R. BellingerF-8EVF-162
24 Apr, 1967MiG-17C. Southwick/J. LaingF-4BVF-114
24 Apr, 1967MiG-17D. Wisely/G. AndersonF-4BVF-114
1 May, 1967MiG-17M. WrightF-8EVF-211
19 May, 1967MiG-17P. SpeerF-8EVF-211
19 May, 1967MiG-17J. SheaF-8EVF-211
19 May, 1967MiG-17B. LeeF-8CVF-24
19 May, 1967MiG-17P. WoodF-8CVF-24
21 Jul, 1967MiG-17M. IsaacsF-8CVF-24
10 Aug, 1967MiG-21G. Freeborn/R. ElliotF-4BVF-142
10 Aug, 1967MiG-21R. Davis/G. EllieF-4BVF-142
21 Sep, 1967MiG-17D.Brent/M.PeinemannF-4BVF-161
30 Oct, 1967??E.Lund/J.BorstF-4BVF-142
14 Dec, 1967MiG-17R. WymanF-8EVF-162
26 Jun, 1968MiG-21M. MyersF-8HVF-51
10 Jul, 1968MiG-21R.Cash Jr./J.Kain Jr.F-4JVF-33
29 Jul, 1968MiG-17G.CaneF-8EVF-51
1 Aug, 1968MiG-21N.McCoyF-8HVF-51
19 Dec, 1968MiG-21T.NargiF-8CVF-111
28 Mar, 1970MiG-21J.Beaulier/S.BarkleyF-4JVF-142
28 Mar, 1970MiG-17F.Vogt/K.VollandF-4JVF-143
19 Jan, 1972MiG-21R. Cunningham/W. DriscollF-4JVF-96
6 Mar, 1972MiG-17G. Weigand/W.FreckletonF-4BVF-111
6 May, 1972MiG-17J. Houston/K. MooreF-4BVF-51
6 May, 1972MiG-21R. Hughes/A. CruzF-4JVF-114
6 May, 1972MiG-21K. Pettigrew/M. McCabeF-4JVF-114
8 May, 1972MiG-17R. Cunningham/W. DriscollF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-21C. Dose/J. McDevittF-4JVF-92
10 May, 1972MiG-17R. Cunningham/W. DriscollF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17R. Cunningham/W. DriscollF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17M. Connelly/T. BlonskiF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17M. Connelly/T. BlonskiF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17S. Shoemaker/K. CrenshawF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17R. Cunningham/W. DriscollF-4JVF-96
10 May, 1972MiG-17K. Cannon/R. Morris Jr.F-4BVF-51
18 May, 1972MiG-17FN.Criss/K.CulversonF-4BVF-213
18 May, 1972MiG-19H. Bartholomay/O. BrownF-4BVF-161
18 May, 1972MiG-19P. Arwood/J. BellF-4BVF-161
23 May, 1972MiG-17R. McKeown/J. EnschF-4BVF-161
23 May, 1972MiG-17R. McKeown/J. EnschF-4BVF-161
11 Jun, 1972MiG-17F. Teague/R. HowellF-4BVF-51
11 Jun, 1972MiG-17W. Copeland/D. BouchouxF-4BVF-51
21 Jun, 1972MiG-21S. Flynn/W. JohnF-4J VF-31
11 Sep, 1972MiG-21USL.Lasseter/J.CummingsF-4JVFMA-333
28 Dec, 1972MiG-21S. Davis/G. UlrichF-4JVF-142
12 Jan, 1973MiG-17FV.Kovaleski/J.WiseF-4BVF-161
USN/USMC Vietnam Sidewinder Kills

During the 1982 air engagements over Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, 51 out of the 55 Syrian-flown MiGs shot down were hit by Sidewinders.

During the Falklands war in 1982, 100 AIM-9L missiles were supplied to the RAF and RNavy, since none of the European-produced Lima models had actually reached British forces. Used by RN Sea Hariers and RAF Harriers (deployed on board RN ships), the missiles scored 17 known kills and 2 assists against Argentinian aircraft.

RAF's Harrier GR.3s were fitted for, and did occasionally carry, the Golf model Sidewinder during the Falklands War, none was used in combat as these aircraft were employed solely in the strike role.

RAF's Nimrod MR.2 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, based at the Ascension Island, were fitted with Sidewinders during the war. The Nimrod is a derivative of the De Havilland Comet airliner, thus making it one of the largest 'fighters' in history!

DateTargetPilotAircraftUnit
1 May, 1982Mirage IIIEABarton (RAF)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
1 May, 1982Mirage IIIEA *Thomas (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
1 May, 1982Dagger APenfold (RAF)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
1 May, 1982Canberra B.62Curtiss (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
21 May, 1982A-4CBlissett (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
21 May, 1982A-4CThomas (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
21 May, 1982Dagger AFrederiksen (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
21 May, 1982Dagger AThomas (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
21 May, 1982Dagger AThomas (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
21 May, 1982Dagger AWard (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
21 May, 1982A-4QMorell (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
23 May, 1982Dagger AHale (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
24 May, 1982Dagger AAuld (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
24 May, 1982Dagger AAuld (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
24 May, 1982Dagger AD. Smith (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
1 Jun, 1982C-130E **Ward (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1801 Sqn
8 Jun, 1982A-4BMorgan (RAF)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
8 Jun, 1982A-4BMorgan (RAF)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
8 Jun, 1982A-4BD. Smith (RN)Sea Harrier FRS.1800 Sqn
Falklands War Sidewinder Kills

* Damaged by Sidewinder, then shot down over Stanley by own AA defences

** Takes hit from Sidewinder [Starts fire on port wing between engines], and 240 rounds of 30mm cannon fire. Should also note 2 Sidewinders were fired. First fell short.

Operation Desert Storm saw 86 Sidewinder missiles fired by US Navy, USAF and USMC aircraft - resulting in 13 confirmed kills (and not 12 as reported in other publications - the misquoted kill being the Fishbed kill by LCDR Fox who intended to fire a Sparrow missile but fired a Sidewinder instead. Upon noticing the absence of a smoketrail, he realized he had fired an AIM-9 and immediately launched a Sparrow. The AIM-9 got there first however):

DateTargetPilotAircraftUnit
17 Jan, 1991MiG-21FoxF/A-18CVFA-81
17 Jan, 1991MiG-21MongilloF/A-18CVFA-81
24 Jan, 1991Mir F.1ShamraniF-15C13 Sqn, RSaAF
24 Jan, 1991Mir F.1ShamraniF-15C13 Sqn, RSaAF
27 Jan, 1991MiG-23DennyF-15C53rd TFS
27 Jan, 1991MiG-23DennyF-15C53rd TFS
6 Feb, 1991MiG-21DietzF-15C53rd TFS
6 Feb, 1991MiG-21DietzF-15C53rd TFS
6 Feb, 1991Su-25HehemannF-15C53rd TFS
6 Feb, 1991Su-25HehemannF-15C53rd TFS
7 Feb,1991Mi-8Broce & McElraftF-14AVF-1
20 Mar, 1991Su-22DoneskiF-15C22nd TFS
20 Mar, 1991Su-22DietzF-15C53rd TFS
Desert Storm Sidewinder Kills

Specifications

Primary Function: Air-to-air missile
Contractor: Naval Weapons Center
Power Plant: Hercules and Bermite Mk 36 Mod 71, 8 solid-propellant rocket motor
Length: see table below
Launch Weight: see table below
Diameter: 5 inches (13cm)
Wingspan: see table below
Range: see table below
Speed: see table below
Guidance System: Solid-state, infrared homing system
Warhead: see table below, Blast fragmentation
Unit Cost: $84,000 (FY 1999)

SidewinderLength (mm)Control fin span (mm)Launch Weight (kg)Speed (mach)Mission Time (sec)Range (km)Warhead (kg)Production Run
AIM-9B283055970.41.7203.24.580,900
AIM-9B FGW.2290855975.81.7203.74.515,000
AIM-9C287063084.01.76017.74.51,000
AIM-9D287063088.52.5+6017.7111,000
AIM-9E300055974.52.5+204.24.55,000
AIM-9G287063086.62.5+6017.7112,120
AIM-9H287063084.52.5+6017.7117,720
AIM-9J307055978.02.5+4014.54.510,000
AIM-9L285063085.32.5+6017.79.416,000
AIM-9M285063086.02.5+6017.79.47,000
AIM-9N307055978.02.5+4014.54.523,000
AIM-9P307055978.02.5+6017.7??
AIM-9R285063087.02.5+6019.3??
AIM-9X3020280852.5+?26101000+
BoxOffice310027983.9?????
The Sidewinder Family

Similar Weapons

Box Office/Improved Sidewinder

This formerly classified USAF program began in 1988 in conjunction with Raytheon to overhaul Sidewinder design. The missile introduces tail control with small independently activated tail fins shaped like those on the MIM-104 Patriot, and eliminates wings and rollerons, relying on the body for lift. The missile has greater acceleration, a 50-g maneuvering capability, and fits into 1/4 of the weapons bay space required for conventional AIM-9. The guidance system offers Electronically Erasable Programmable Read- Only Memory (EEPROM), and a digital roll-control autopilot.

The "Box size" (i.e., the square dimensions of its container) is 7.9 in (200 mm) compared to the 20 in (508 mm) of the standard Sidewinder. Obviously, the Box Office is designed to be fitted in the internal weapons bay of aircraft such as the F-22, so more can be carried in a given volume.

Boa

Similar to Box Office, but undertaken by the US Naval Air Test Center at China Lake, CA. The wings are merely reduced in size instead of being eliminated.



Errors and Omissions

Jan 20, 2014 - 02:28 AM
RB74 and Swedish Sidewinder

It say early in the article that the swedish designation for the Sidewinder is RB74 that's true but it's a specific model of sidewinder the AIM-9L.

During the AIM-9L's first years in Service it was known as the RB24L.

RB24 is the original designation for the sidewinder in the Swedish air force and is the AIM-9B. When the AIM-9J was aquired it was designated RB24J.

So since the article under "History" mentions the swedish sidewinder i think it would be best if the designation was said to be RB24

Best wishes Adrian




Note: Errors and omissions in the above text can be added here. Please note: your comments will be displayed immediately on this page.

If you wish to send a private comment to the webmasters, please use the Contact Us link.