A US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Lightning II has test fired an AIM-9X missile in a demonstration that progresses the introduction and integration of the missile to the F-35 fleet expected in Block 3F in 2017. Block 2B and 3i aircraft carry only the basic complement of GPS, laser-guided bombs and Raytheon’s medium-range AIM-120C.
Approval has also been granted by the US Navy for full-rate production of the latest AIM-9X Block II version, adding a new electronics package and datalink for lock-on-after-release engagements.
Meant for close-in kills at high off-boresight angles, the AIM-9X is a heat-seeking alternative to the radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM, which is susceptible to advanced electronic countermeasures such as digital radio frequency memory jammers.
The F-35 is designed to carry two AIM-9X missiles on its wings and four AIM-120s internally.
January 29, 2016