F-16 with AIM-9X Sidewinder
The process of upgrading the AIM-9X began in the late 1980s in response to the introduction of the Russian R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missile.
The AIM-9X is equipped with a thrust vectoring control motor combined with a nose rudder fin for high maneuverability in a narrow range.
Advanced infrared sensor with up to 90 degree field of view compatible with pilot helmet targeting system that allows eye lock on target.
The AIM-9X missile began to be tested in 1999, mass production began in 2000 and officially entered mass service in 2003.
One of the “top” features of the AIM-9X is the ability to lock the target after launch, so it is suitable for stealth fighters with an internal weapon compartment.
In addition, the new sensor also has a feature that allows the pilot to focus on a single target, so the combat performance is very high, so the target is difficult to escape if attacked by a missile.
The missile has a length of 3 m, a diameter of 0.127 m, a wingspan of 0.44 m, a weight of 85 kg, a maximum range of 35 km.
The AIM-9X is considered by the world’s military as one of the world’s most powerful infrared-guided air-to-air missiles.
Currently AIM-9X has Block I, Block II and Block III versions, while Block I was only produced in a limited period from 2000-2003, Block II with some minor improvements has been mass-produced. since 2004 and equip all allies. The Philippine version ordered is the AIM-9X Block II.
The AIM-9X Block III version began to be researched in 2010 and is expected to enter service in 2022.
The AIM-9X Block III is expected to have a more powerful engine, an increased range of about 55km, and the avionics will remain the same as its predecessor.