AIM-9X goes slumming with air-to-surface mode

AIM-9X Block 2 credit USAF.jpgPhoto: Tom Reynolds/US Air Force

For fighter jocks, it continues to be a long way down to air-to-ground.

Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder, the ultimate in high-tech dogfighting weapons, has been adapted to strike moving targets on the ground or water.

The US Air Force wants the air-to-surface AIM-9X to give the Boeing F-15C a weapon for anything besides a strictly air-to-air mission.

Read Flight’s exclusive coverage here.



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16 Responses to AIM-9X goes slumming with air-to-surface mode

  1. dolmuş reklamları 30 November, -0001 at 12:00 am #

    Well, now that some Eagles have a new radar… why not multiply the force, via 2ndary A2G role? OK, just one SecDef rant please, can’t resist: I can almost hear his reasoning now…

  2. EG 3 December, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    Seems like an expensive way to take out a target. Is the warhead even big enough to do anything to something larger than a Cigar boat?

  3. Stephen Trimble 3 December, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    Fair point. The idea is not to replace proper air-to-ground weapons. But, in a pinch, if that’s all you’ve got, it might do the job. It’s got a 35lb warhead, not to mention rocket thrust.

  4. Heiko Jakob 3 December, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Wasn’t the F-15 the plane that got built with “not a pound for air-to-ground” in mind ?

  5. George Zip 3 December, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    Not really that expensive – about twice the cost of a Hellfire, but then it’s about twize the size too.

  6. FighterFan 4 December, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    Turn it into an anti-AAM and put it on tankers, AWACS, RJs, JStars etc. These HVAs were sitting ducks in the Rand study China-Taiwan scenario last year, and need some self-defense capability.
    You don’t need a large warhead for this, just super-accurate guidance and a good proximity fuse.
    If it could done decades ago (with the Seawolf naval SAM), why not with today’s technology?

  7. Mars HQ Regiment 4 December, 2009 at 6:59 am #

    Well, now that some Eagles have a new radar… why not multiply the force, via 2ndary A2G role? OK, just one SecDef rant please, can’t resist: I can almost hear his reasoning now… “Well, now that the F-15C is multi-purpose, it doesn’t make economical sense to have it, plus F-15E, plus F-35A all doing the same role. That’s why I order the F-15C’s accelerated retirement.” Sheesh.

    Regarding anti-maritime 9x possibilities though… maybe 6x All Purpose-9x armed on a 20,000′ cruising Reaper (or naval Predator-C) for Anti-pirate/anti-small boat duty? Much greater/flexible engagement envelope than Hellfire??

  8. eg 4 December, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    While the warhead maybe 35 lbs, it’s the combination of the method of its detonation/outward fragmentation and the proximity fuse that makes me wonder about its effectiveness. It might be okay on very soft targets, but on anything else it seems of dubious value. I am not a bb stacker, so anybody else’s input would be welcome.

  9. biggman19 5 December, 2009 at 2:39 am #

    Yes because a HVAA can get in a postion to kill a fighter and not get killed it self. Also putting those on HVAAs would kill the aerodynamics even more then already with the radars and such all over them.

  10. XBradTC 5 December, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Didn’t Randy Cunninham pop a truck with an early AIM-9 during the Vietnam war?

  11. FighterFan 7 December, 2009 at 6:18 am #

    The idea here is not to target the fighters launching the AAMs… to get within AIM-9X range of the fighters would be tantamount to suicide – instead, intercept the missiles when they’re homing in on the HVAs.

    Remember, in the Taiwan scenario, the Flankers were launching their missiles at the HVAs from maybe 200+ miles out – no way the HVAs could engage the Flankers themselves.

    You could house the 9X’s in a low drag pod, but at the loitering speeds HVAs fly while on station, drag may be less of an issue.

  12. Bonza 12 December, 2009 at 1:44 am #

    Possibly a testbed and/or development opportunities for a JDRADM seeker head variant?

  13. Thomas Barton, JD 12 December, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    I would not put any faith whatsoever into anything Cunningham says he did or did not do in Vietnam, given his ridiculous and over the top greed and lying about it in Congress. Of course he was just following the example of many of his bretheren and sisteren there in the Beltway.

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