F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2018, 05:36
by spazsinbad
F-35 operators have started switching to AIM-9X Block II+
31 Dec 2018 ALERT5

"Raytheon was given a contract on Dec. 28 to supply 160 AIM-9X Block II+ air-to-air missiles to the U.S. Navy, Air Force and the governments of Australia; Israel; and the Netherlands.

The same contract also gave Raytheon orders to produce 766 AIM-9X Block II missiles."

Source: http://alert5.com/2018/12/31/f-35-opera ... -block-ii/

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2018, 09:06
by element1loop
Now that's some welcome news. 8)

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2018, 13:17
by mixelflick
Hmmm... what are we to make of this news?

Was it planned from the beginning, or something new/that was accelerated? I agree its welcome news, doubly so if the F-35 can maintain a low RCS while carrying them. If memory serves, it's a near beyond visual range AAM? Would seem well suited to its sniper like mission, and makes a great compliment to the AMRAAM, particularly if enemies have developed a reliable way to jam it.

Brings the AAM load up to 6, and eventually 8 when 6 AMRAAM's are fitted. Plus, the way they're fitted just looks cool :)

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2018, 17:07
by element1loop
II+ (AIM-9X-3) has AMRAAM's two-way datalink and the nav updates developed for the cancelled BKIII so will use full BVR fly-outs with higher-gain longer-range datalinking for mid-course making for better nav efficiency and terminal energy. That's a big step-up from BkII, for increasing PK at a higher range, especially when combined with an entirely passive engagement capability using the soon the be upgraded DAS and EOTS ... against non alerted targets.

That's a wicked further tactical advantage to have on 3F F-35s at FOC.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 31 Dec 2018, 23:22
by aussiebloke
element1loop wrote:AIM-9X Block II+ (AIM-9X-3) has AMRAAM's two-way datalink


If that is true then it appears to me that is an about-turn from what was being said in 2016. Block III was cancelled sometime in 2015).

See https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/ ... c=26530.15
or
https://forum.keypublishing.com/forum/m ... ews/page40
[The original Jane's article appears to no longer exist]

Mark Justus, AIM-9X programme director at RMS told IHS Jane's that the Block II+ initiative comprises "minor hardware modifications to the external missile body which improve aerodynamics and [launch] platform survivability".

Justus said that for the Block II+, the missile's five main components - the guidance unit, AOTD, warhead, rocket motor, control actuator system, and internal circuitry - remain the same as Block II. "Software versions for AIM-9X are driven by the main processor unit [MPU]. Block II and II+ use the same MPU with identical software versions and associated capability," Justus added.

Justus said that Block II+ is interchangeable with a Block II missile "at any time and on any platform. As with Block II, the Block II+ will remain backward compatible with a Block I AIM-9X. Visually, the differences between a Block II and II+ are small, and difficult to discern, and the mass properties are identical."

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 04:22
by element1loop
aussiebloke wrote:
element1loop wrote:AIM-9X Block II+ (AIM-9X-3) has AMRAAM's two-way datalink


If that is true then it appears to me that is an about-turn from what was being said in 2016. Block III was cancelled sometime in 2015).


Around Jan/Feb 2015 as far as I could nail it down.

I've just had a look back over the USN Sidewinder procurement docs from 2014 to 2017 and related docs and it appears I misread the datalink as being a two-way. The upgraded datalink on the BKII is already AMRAAM derived, but one-way and common to the II & II+.

Appears I have that wrong, thanks for the clarification. :doh:

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 08:14
by gc
Base on the USN program guide 2017.

It's to improve the F-35 survivability. Does that mean it allows for internal carriage or launch or perhaps have LO characteristics to reduce the RCS inpact of external carriage.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 08:23
by wrightwing
gc wrote:Base on the USN program guide 2017.

It's to improve the F-35 survivability. Does that mean it allows for internal carriage or launch or perhaps have LO characteristics to reduce the RCS inpact of external carriage.

No, it means that by having the Block II+ variant, survivability is improved over AIM-9M/X Block I/II.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 09:10
by gc
wrightwing wrote:
gc wrote:Base on the USN program guide 2017.

It's to improve the F-35 survivability. Does that mean it allows for internal carriage or launch or perhaps have LO characteristics to reduce the RCS inpact of external carriage.

No, it means that by having the Block II+ variant, survivability is improved over AIM-9M/X Block I/II.



Word for word from the guide, it is to improve the F-35’s survivability ‘when carrying’ the missile.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 01 Jan 2019, 14:03
by aussiebloke
gc wrote:
It's to improve the F-35 survivability. Does that mean it allows for internal carriage or launch or perhaps have LO characteristics to reduce the RCS inpact of external carriage.


Based on the comment I quote below my guess is that RAM has been applied to the missile's outer surfaces to reduce the RCS when carried externally.

"FY 2018 continues procurement of AIM-9X Block II and the second year of AIM-9X Block II+ missiles, which incorporates specialized external materials to enhance aircraft platform survivability."

http://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Docu ... s_book.pdf

Also this quote from my other reply on this topic:

Mark Justus, AIM-9X programme director at RMS told IHS Jane's that the Block II+ initiative comprises "minor hardware modifications to the external missile body which improve aerodynamics and [launch] platform survivability".

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 10 Jan 2019, 16:13
by mixelflick
That's the clearest language yet that the 9x/external carriage option is low observable.

And it adds a frightening new capability to the F-35's air to air prowess. Even before the 6 AMRAAM loadout, it brings a 6 AAM loadout of mixed seekers and near BVR capability (or is it confirmed BVR for the 9x)?

And even more importantly, 8 ways to Sunday to ID, track and destroy multiple bandits - many of which are passive. It may bring its top speed down a little, but not much. I'm afraid it just keeps getting worse for the SU-35's and J-20's of the world...

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 10 Jan 2019, 18:24
by wrightwing
From the Warrior Maven site.

"Raytheon AIM-9X weapons developers have told Warrior that the Block 2 variant adds a redesigned fuze and a digital ignition safety device that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety. Block II also features updated electronics that enable significant enhancements, including lock-on-after-launch capability using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements, a Raytheon statement said."

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2019, 12:25
by hornetfinn
aussiebloke wrote:Based on the comment I quote below my guess is that RAM has been applied to the missile's outer surfaces to reduce the RCS when carried externally.

"FY 2018 continues procurement of AIM-9X Block II and the second year of AIM-9X Block II+ missiles, which incorporates specialized external materials to enhance aircraft platform survivability."

http://www.secnav.navy.mil/fmc/fmb/Docu ... s_book.pdf

Also this quote from my other reply on this topic:

Mark Justus, AIM-9X programme director at RMS told IHS Jane's that the Block II+ initiative comprises "minor hardware modifications to the external missile body which improve aerodynamics and [launch] platform survivability".


Maybe new fins and canards with slightly different shaping (for better aerodynamics) and using new materials in them or adding RAM there? I find it interesting (although not necessarily unexpected) that such small upgrade to small air-to-air missile would improve platform survivability.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2019, 13:21
by mixelflick
So most are switching to the 9x... but not all. Case in point, I just read where the UK's F-35B's will carry ASRAAM?

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2019, 14:28
by hornetfinn
mixelflick wrote:So most are switching to the 9x... but not all. Case in point, I just read where the UK's F-35B's will carry ASRAAM?


Well, ASRAAM is pretty good missile itself with the same seeker (IIRC) as AIM-9X and similar HOBS and LOAL capability than latest AIM-9X missiles. Since it has been operational in the UK for a long time, there just isn't that much need for AIM-9X there.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 11 Jan 2019, 14:56
by marsavian
ASRAAM is now part of the UK CAMM family of missiles, probably zero chance it will be dropped for any other IR missile and has been refurbished for F-35.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAMM_(missile_family)

The CAMM (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile) series is a family of surface-to-air missiles developed by MBDA for the United Kingdom. CAMM shares some common features and components with the ASRAAM air-to-air missile, but with updated electronics and an active radar homing seeker. The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile is intended to replace the Sea Wolf missile on Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy from 2017, the Rapier missile in British Army service from 2018 and is contributing to the updating of MBDA’s ASRAAM in service with the Royal Air Force.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 19 Jan 2019, 12:02
by imacca
So, my understanding is that the RAAF uses ASSRAM on its FA18's??

Seems to be moving to the AIM9X after the purchase of FA18 f /g though.

i would guess from what i have read thats because the ASSRAM being a good missile for long range or over the shoulder LOAL IR shots, AIM9X is more versatile overall ( actually has an air/surface capability of sorts?? )and being a US product iit probably has a longer development life ahead of it.

With Brexit will the UK have and dosh for missile development?? :(

That said i could see the RAAF keeping ASSRAM in the arsenal as its cleared for external carriage on the F35.

How reasonable would it be for a country with earlier model AIM9X to upgrade their rounds to the latest spec??

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2019, 16:21
by mixelflick
The more I think about the F-35 and the 9x, the more a quantum leap in capability it becomes..

So in the future it'll carry 4-6 AMRAAM's, as we know the 6 AMRAAM loadout is being accelerated. Adding 2 9x's (especially the LOAL capability and when slaved to the F-35's sensors) is going to give it additional BVR capabilites, and bring some much needed mixed seekers to the fight.

I do forsee a time when the F-35 will be WVR of an opponent. This may be due to ROE's (especially foreign air arms not familiar or comfortable with the sensor technology) and it's going to make the F-35 perhaps THE most dangerous WVR machine ever. The speed at which the F-35 can ID enemies vs. friendlies during a fight is blinding. In looking at Gulf War dogfights, F-15 pilots on numerous occasions waited until they could visually ID Mig-25's/29's given they look similar to F-15's.

In a furball that ID sequence is going to rapidly unfold in the Panther's favor. And when you add up its post stall/nose pointing authority plus the 9x's ability to hit things at 90 degree angles... it's game over for the bad guys.

Of course, we hope it never gets to WVR, but it's good to know the 9x will be on the menu if it does..

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2019, 16:43
by spazsinbad
'mixelflick' said: "...I do forsee a time when the F-35 will be WVR of an opponent. This may be due to ROE's (especially foreign air arms not familiar or comfortable with the sensor technology) and it's going to make the F-35 perhaps THE most dangerous WVR machine ever. The speed at which the F-35 can ID enemies vs. friendlies during a fight is blinding...."

And so the dogfights begin again. Get over it. The F-35 has 650 ways to ID a bogey whilst the F-35 operators have plenty of confidence & knowledge of this system, which they can tailor specifically for their area of operations - with others - BVR.

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=5525&p=404068&hilit=Osley#p404068 [AVM Osley RAAF: F-35 650 Parameters BVR ID quote]

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 21 Jan 2019, 20:34
by steve2267
Dogfight? Dogfight!?! Did someone say DOGFIGHT??? :devil:

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2019, 14:49
by mixelflick
spazsinbad wrote:
'mixelflick' said: "...I do forsee a time when the F-35 will be WVR of an opponent. This may be due to ROE's (especially foreign air arms not familiar or comfortable with the sensor technology) and it's going to make the F-35 perhaps THE most dangerous WVR machine ever. The speed at which the F-35 can ID enemies vs. friendlies during a fight is blinding...."

And so the dogfights begin again. Get over it. The F-35 has 650 ways to ID a bogey whilst the F-35 operators have plenty of confidence & knowledge of this system, which they can tailor specifically for their area of operations - with others - BVR.

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=5525&p=404068&hilit=Osley#p404068 [AVM Osley RAAF: F-35 650 Parameters BVR ID quote]


I read that and understand your point, but I'm not a fan of absolute statements.

You seem to be saying dogfights won't ever happen again. I'm saying although rare, it's still going to happen. Case in point: Dogfights of Desert Storm. The same DS where for the first time, more BVR kills were racked up vs. dogfights. Yet there was one instance where an F-15's first sparrow fell helplessly off the aircraft, its motor failing to ignite. The next sparrow missed. His 3rd and 4th missile's tracked, first one hit and 2nd flew through the fireball. By that time though, he was down to a WVR fight (at least on of those last 2 was a Sidewinder).

You can argue that the AMRAAM's PK is going to be higher in the F-35 vs other aircraft and I'd agree with you. But if the air force didn't think it was important, why did they make part of the requirements "rates like a Viper, can point its nose like a SH"? Why not eschew that altogether??

I'm just not a fan of absolute statements (i.e. dogfights are never going to happen again. Never is a long time. Let's settle on "extremely rare"..

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2019, 15:48
by vilters
Most of the time (hopefully) your side has the overview of the battlefield and BVR will be the future way to go.

But it is not always so clear…
When the situation or ROE require "visual identification" before engaging you are already WVR.

Heli and transport AC are relatively "easy", but for others it depends.

What does he have? Aircraft/weapon combination? Intentions?

And don't worry or let your sleep over it but missiles have the reputation of having a mind of their own.

In test, the missiles always function properly.

But you can not ask that of a missile that has been hanging on a vibrating launcher and flown though 3 tons of dust for its previous 100 hrs.

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 23 Jan 2019, 17:28
by steve2267
vilters wrote:
In test, the missiles always function properly.

But you can not ask that of a missile that has been hanging on a vibrating launcher and flown though 3 tons of dust for its previous 100 hrs.


Yes, yes you can.

You create requirements to cover 100 hours on a vibrating launcher and fly through 3 tons of dust, and then you design for those requirements.

IMO, the better questions are

  • Have any missiles been designed to such requirements?
  • Have they been subjected to and passed any operational tests (not simply "analysis") duplicating those conditions?

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2019, 15:10
by mixelflick
That's a really good point. That and missiles have been known to... miss.

This is why the Block II plus news was so exciting. Take the stock internal air to ground loadout of 2 JDAM's and 2 AMRAAM's. One falls away harmlessly, the other misses. Or just one hits, and you still have other targets to prosecute. The addition of two 9x's gives you options. Hopefully, it's good enough for two additional BVR shots, and we know from data Sidewinders are generally better in terms of PK vs. most radar guided missiles (not sure if there's data on AMRAAM though).

Or, you can just run. In which case I'd rather be running with 2 9x's, vs. being naked...

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 24 Jan 2019, 23:45
by quicksilver
“You create requirements to cover 100 hours on a vibrating launcher and fly through 3 tons of dust, and then you design for those requirements.”

Shack.

“Have any missiles been designed to such requirements?”

Yep.

“Have they been subjected to and passed any operational tests (not simply "analysis") duplicating those conditions?”

Yep.

Link below to an example of what is just a fraction of the kind of testing that goes on in weapons development before something ever goes on a jet. In addition, each sub-component of a weapon has to complete component qualification testing consistent w DoD 5000 series instructions. It is very very comprehensive stuff.

https://www.baesystems.com/en/article/t ... s-complete

Here’s an old NASA instruction from 1970; qual testing has only become more complex and comprehensive since then. It’s part of why things that fly dont crash as often as they once did.

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi ... 019569.pdf

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 25 Jan 2019, 17:19
by mixelflick
That's one thing Americans do VERY well - thoroughly check out/test their weapons in very challenging scenarios. Post Vietnam, anyway.

When you hear a Super Hornet can carry every weapon in the Navy inventory, you know they've tested it 8 ways to Sunday. Whether or not the aircrew is proficient in using the weapon is another matter. But generally speaking, if something like the 9x has been cleared on the F-22, it's been cleared through the entire envelope. No small feat, considering the Raptor's capabilities...

Re: F-35 operators start switching to AIM-9X Block II+

Unread postPosted: 26 Jan 2019, 03:23
by firebase99
mixelflick wrote:
spazsinbad wrote:
'mixelflick' said: "...I do forsee a time when the F-35 will be WVR of an opponent. This may be due to ROE's (especially foreign air arms not familiar or comfortable with the sensor technology) and it's going to make the F-35 perhaps THE most dangerous WVR machine ever. The speed at which the F-35 can ID enemies vs. friendlies during a fight is blinding...."

And so the dogfights begin again. Get over it. The F-35 has 650 ways to ID a bogey whilst the F-35 operators have plenty of confidence & knowledge of this system, which they can tailor specifically for their area of operations - with others - BVR.

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=5525&p=404068&hilit=Osley#p404068 [AVM Osley RAAF: F-35 650 Parameters BVR ID quote]


I read that and understand your point, but I'm not a fan of absolute statements.

You seem to be saying dogfights won't ever happen again. I'm saying although rare, it's still going to happen. Case in point: Dogfights of Desert Storm. The same DS where for the first time, more BVR kills were racked up vs. dogfights. Yet there was one instance where an F-15's first sparrow fell helplessly off the aircraft, its motor failing to ignite. The next sparrow missed. His 3rd and 4th missile's tracked, first one hit and 2nd flew through the fireball. By that time though, he was down to a WVR fight (at least on of those last 2 was a Sidewinder).

You can argue that the AMRAAM's PK is going to be higher in the F-35 vs other aircraft and I'd agree with you. But if the air force didn't think it was important, why did they make part of the requirements "rates like a Viper, can point its nose like a SH"? Why not eschew that altogether??

I'm just not a fan of absolute statements (i.e. dogfights are never going to happen again. Never is a long time. Let's settle on "extremely rare"..


I agree with all you said. WVR SHOULD be rare, BVR is the future, however....why does the Raptor have a gun? better to have and not need...yadda, yadda, yadda.