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AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder -A Missile with Bite

Written by on Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Dr. William McLean and his team of scientists and engineers are credited with producing the Sidewinder missile technology from 1945 to 1954 in China Lake, California. At the time, they were tasked with producing a missile guidance system that relied upon something other than radio frequency. The Sidewinder uses a passive infrared technology that is undetectable by modern defensive systems and is not susceptible to radar jamming sources like more traditional missile systems. Today, the Sidewinder missile is used by every U.S. fighter aircraft in the inventory, from the Navy’s FA-18E/F Super Hornet to the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and with the development of the AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder, the Sidewinder technology will be in the arsenal for decades to come.

The AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder is designed and built by Raytheon and uses technology that provides a 360 degree envelope, with data link cueing, and increased range, all with a passive infrared guidance system that guarantees that a target cannot jam or spoof the missile generic antibiotics with traditional radio frequency jamming systems. The AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder is scheduled to start engineering and manufacturing development in the second quarter of 2016 with developmental testing scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018. With operational test scheduled to be completed sometime in 2019, the AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder is expected to be operational sometime in early


The AIM-9X Block III Sidewinder brings significant advantages over existing missile systems and with the increased range provided by the Block III will undoubtedly catapult the U.S. to the front of missile technology and provide a viable solution against jammer systems that currently hamper both onboard radar systems and radar guided missile systems. To think that technology that was invented over fifty years ago at a small military base in the deserts of California is still alive and well is truly a testament to the accomplishments of Dr. Mclean and his team.

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