Raytheon announced yesterday it is demonstrating the AIM-9X Sidewinder as a surface-to-air missile, potentially opening a new mission for the short-ranged, air-launched weapon.
A second intercept test on 16 May engaged an unmanned air vehicle in a demonstration series sponsored by the US Marine Corps, Raytheon says.
"A ground-based AIM-9X missile system makes perfect sense from a value and capabilities perspective," says Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice-president of Air Warfare Systems.
The UAV's position was provided to the telemetered AIM-9X using an off-board sensor, Raytheon says. The missile launched from a LAU-7A/D launcher mounted on a USMC Humvee, and guided to "within lethal range" of the target.
Raytheon is currently producing the AIM-9X Block 1, which includes a reprogrammable guidance unit. A block II version would add lock-on-after-launch, an better fuze and a one-way forward quarter datalink.
Raytheon says either variant could be used as a SAM.