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AIM-9X Firing Successful In ECM Environment (Apr. 7)



TUCSON, Ariz.---The AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-to-air missile, under development by Raytheon Company, successfully completed its fourth guided launch by intercepting a QF-4 drone March 31 at the Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. The launch, from a U.S. Navy F/A-18C fighter aircraft, was the fourth in a series of guided launches from F/A-18 and F-15 airplanes.

This was the first launch conducted in a dogfight scenario in the presence of defensive infrared countermeasure flares. It also was the first launch using the U.S. Air Force and Navy Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) to point the missile seeker and acquire the target at an extremely high off-boresight angle. The one-circle air combat tactic pitted the F/A-18 Hornet against the QF-4 Phantom target in an air combat maneuvering dogfight engagement.

"The AIM-9X has demonstrated outstanding capability in three previous guided shots and 10 separation firings, exercising extremely aggressive post launch maneuvering and precise guidance," said Navy Capt. Dave Venlet, program manager, Air-to-Air Missile Systems. "This launch is a critical step for the program as it proceeds to a series of five operational assessment launches later this year.

"The air-to-air combat picture has dramatically changed over recent decades," Venlet added. "The fielding of the AA-11 Archer from the former Soviet Union eclipsed our capability in visual range air combat. This gives rise to the possibility that we may find ourselves outgunned while performing our critical peacetime missions around the world. AIM-9X reclaims dogfight air superiority, providing the U.S. and allied fighter pilots with a clear advantage over any adversary. AIM-9X and the JHMCS system provide a truly unbeatable first-shot, first-kill capability. "Frankly, that's why we're attracting so much interest from U.S. allies and security partners."

According to Charles D. Anderson, vice president of the Raytheon's air-to-air product line, "This launch demonstrates great progress by the government/industry team in maturing a weapons system capability urgently needed by our forces. We are on track for the operational assessment phase and anticipate a green light for low rate initial production later this year."

The AIM-9X is a joint U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force program currently in engineering and manufacturing development. It is the newest member of the AIM-9 Sidewinder short range missile family in use by more than 40 nations.

Raytheon Company, based in Lexington, Mass., is a global technology leader that provides products and services in the areas of commercial and defense electronics, engineering and construction, and business and special mission aircraft. Raytheon has operations throughout the United States and serves customers in more than 80 countries.

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AIM-9X Successfully Intercepts Target In Countermeasures Environment