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Both IR or HF fuzes could be fitted. The YF and F No. Note the radar-less small nose of the YF on the left. Tom Collins photo The Echo expanded the engagement envelope at low altitudes through its new Ford seeker head with Peltier thermoelectric cooling and new electronics - enabling faster tracking speed. The AIM-9E has an improved guidance and control system, as well as a more aerodynamic nose. This model provides greater range and enhanced low-altitude capability against maneuvering targets.
The latter was the first model to offer limited all-weather capability, as well as solid-state electronics and double-delta control surfaces resulting in a superior maneuverability compared to older models. SEAM slaves the seeker head of the missile to the radar when in "dogfight" mode, which enables the seeker head to be uncaged, slewed toward a specific target by the aircraft radar, and made to track that particular target before being launched.
Detachable double-delta controls were added, as well as solid-state electronics and a long burning gas generator. The J model has an expanded target-engagement cone which enables it to be launched at any spot in the rear half of a target aircraft rather than merely at its exhaust. The Dash-1 and Dash-3 are improved versions and actually all-new. USAF photo The AIM-9L introduced yet another new guidance system making it a true all-aspect missile which means it doesn't need to be aimed at the exhaust of the target but can also lock on e.
It uses a proximity-fuze, consisting of a ring of GaAs Gallium-Arsenide laserdiodes and corresponding photodiodes. If the target is close enough to reflect the emitted light back to the receiving photodiodes, the warhead is fired.
This improved optical fuze increases the missile's lethality and resistance to electronic countermeasures. The M model has improved defense against infrared countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor.
These modifications increase ability to locate and lock-on a target and decrease the missile's chances for detection. Deliveries of the M model began in It has greater engagement boundaries, enabling it to be launched farther from the target.
The more maneuverable P model also incorporated improved solid-state electronics that increased reliability and maintainability. Deliveries began in The most recently developed version, the AIM-9P-3, combined both the active optical target detector and the reduced-smoke motor. It also has added mechanical strengthening to the warhead as well as the guidance and control section. The improved warhead uses new explosive material that is less sensitive to high temperature and has a longer shelf life.
The AIM-9P-4 adds all-aspect capability to conversions. Under Pave Prism, the research effort continued for enhanced clutter rejection, better aim-point selection, increased field-of-view for tracking highly maneuverable or off-boresight targets and better IRCCM Infra Red Counter Counter Measures.
The seeker head incorporates a 3-gimbal stabilized optical platform bearing a new Imaging IR IRR seeker with a focal plane array, which can lock on at greater ranges than any previous version, a digital image processor and autotrack function, and the use of EPROM Electronically Programmable ROM to facilitate software upgrades.
Five out of the six first tests were successful. Construction of the missile started back in and introduction is foreseen between and , when full rate production is set to start. It will solve the existing deficiencies of the M-version on the field of high off-boresight angle capability, infra-red counter-countermeasures and missile maneuverability. This will help the missile to keep track with existing ait-to-air missiles available on the international market. On the F, AIM-9 Sidewinders can be loaded on stations 1 and 9 wingtip , 2 and 8, and 3 and 7 1 missile on each station.
The simplicity of the AIM-9 with 'less than 24 moving parts' as advertised made the missile in a low-cost and reliable piece of armament which was above all compatible with most exisitng aircraft types. Although earlier version were restricted to perfect visibility, close stern engagements, later versions quickly alleviated these problems.
In order to fire a missile, the pilot listens in his headset for the signals of the missile. As soon as the missile is uncaged, the pilots hears a 'seeking tone'. As soon as the missile has acquired a target, the tone changes into a 'growl', varying in pitch according to the quality of the lock.
Later variants of the missile can be slaved to the radar, so when the pilot achieves a radar-lock on a target, the radar can 'tell' the Sidewinder where to look for it. The first operational use of the Sidewinder came in October , only 2 years after the system achieved IOC.
Extensive use of the Sidewinder was made in during the Vietnam conflict. If the listings are incomplete or contains errors then feel free to send in updates. Buttlell Jr. Latham Jr. Leonard Jr. Madden Jr. McCoy Jr. Randy H. The 8 May engagement saw them take on 3 MiG 'Frescos', shooting down one tailing their wingman.
During the battle the pair scored their third, fourth and fifth kills. The last being the most famous as it turned out to be one of the North Vietnamese's top aces. Unfortunately during their return to the USS Constellation their F-4 was hit by a SA-2 Guideline surface to air missile which caused substantial damage resulting in the crew ejecting over the Gulf of Tonkin. The Sidewinder is not guided by the actual position recorded by the detector, but by the change in position since the last sighting.
So if the target remained at 5 degrees left between two rotations of the mirror, the electronics would not output any signal to the control system. Consider a missile fired at right angles to its target; if the missile is flying at the same speed as the target, it should "lead" it by 45 degrees, flying to an impact point far in front of where the target was when it was fired.
If the missile is traveling four times the speed of the target, it should follow an angle about 11 degrees in front. In either case, the missile should keep that angle all the way to interception, which means that the angle that the target makes against the detector is constant. It was this constant angle that the Sidewinder attempted to maintain. This " proportional pursuit " system is very easy to implement and offers high-performance lead calculation almost for free and can respond to changes in the target's flight path,  which is much more efficient and makes the missile "lead" the target.
During World War II , various researchers in Germany designed infrared guidance systems of various complexity. Hamburg used a single IR photocell as its detector along with a spinning disk with lines painted on it, alternately known as a "reticle" or "chopper". The reticle spun at a fixed speed, causing the output of the photocell to be interrupted in a pattern, and the precise timing of the resulting signal indicated the bearing of the target.
Although Hamburg and similar devices like Madrid were essentially complete, the work of mating them to a missile had not been carried out by the time the war ended. In the immediate post-war era, Allied military intelligence teams collected this information, along with many of the engineers working on these projects.
Several lengthy reports on the various systems were produced and disseminated among the western aircraft firms, while a number of the engineers joined these companies to work on various missile projects. By the late s a wide variety of missile projects were underway, from huge systems like the Bell Bomi rocket-powered bomber to small systems like air-to-air missiles. McLean initially called his effort "Local Fuze Project " using laboratory funding, volunteer help and fuze funding to develop what they called a heat-homing rocket.
The name Sidewinder was selected in and is the common name of Crotalus cerastes , a venomous rattlesnake , which uses infrared sensory organs to hunt warm-blooded prey. It subsequently received designation as a program in Originally called the Sidewinder 1 , the first live firing was on 3 September The missile intercepted a drone for the first time on the 11 September The missile carried out 51 guided flights in , and in production was authorized.
Philco-Ford produced the guidance and control sections of the early missiles. Marine Corps to modify their aircraft to carry the Sidewinder. In the first encounter on 24 September , the Sidewinders were used to ambush the MiGs as they flew past the Sabres thinking they were invulnerable to attack. The MiGs broke formation and descended to the altitude of the Sabres in swirling dogfights. This action marked the first successful use of air-to-air missiles in combat, the downed MiGs being their first casualties.
Soviet engineers later said that the captured Sidewinder served as a "university course" in missile design and substantially improved Soviet air-to-air capabilities. The Vympel K entered service with Soviet air forces in Performance of the Sidewinders launched  during the war was not as satisfactory as hoped. The USAF conducted the classified Red Baron Report while the Navy conducted a study concentrating primarily on performance of air-to-air weapons that was informally known as the " Ault Report ".
The impact of both studies resulted in modifications to the Sidewinder by both services to improve its performance and reliability in the demanding air-to-air arena. In total Sidewinders were fired during the Vietnam War, resulting in a kill probability of 0. Its first use in a large-scale conflict was by the United Kingdom during the Falklands War. China Lake developed an improved compressed carriage control configuration titled BOA. Hughes Electronics was awarded a contract for development of the AIM-9X Sidewinder in after a competition against Raytheon for the next short-range aerial combat missile,  though Raytheon purchased the defense portions of Hughes Electronics the following year.
Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System , and a totally new two axis thrust-vectoring control TVC system providing increased turn capability over traditional control surfaces 60Gs. Though not part of the original requirement, AIM-9X demonstrated potential for a Lock-on After Launch capability, allowing for possible internal use for the F , F Raptor and even in a submarine-launched configuration for use against ASW platforms. Objectives of the operational test were due to be completed by the third quarter of In February , the U.
The USN projected that the new missile would have a 60 percent longer range, modern components to replace old ones, and an insensitive munitions warhead, which is more stable and less likely to detonate by accident, making it safer for ground crews. Modifying the AIM-9X was seen as a cost-effective alternative to developing a new missile in a time of declining budgets. To achieve the range increase, the rocket motor would have a combination of increased performance and missile power management.
China Lake experimented with Sidewinders in the air-to-ground mode including use as an anti-tank weapon. Starting from , the AIM-9X demonstrated its ability as a successful light air-to-ground missile. In testing with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration a Saab Gripen could hit one stationary and two moving targets. Under the High Altitude Project, engineers at China Lake mated a Sidewinder warhead and seeker to a Sparrow rocket motor to experiment with usefulness of a larger motor.
These issues have since been resolved. It is planned to be put into service in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Short-range air-to-air missile. Sea Power. ISSN US Navy. February Retrieved 30 September Sidewinder Invention and Early Years. The China Lake Museum Foundation.
Archived from the original on 3 February Retrieved 2 February Archived from the original on 9 February Air Force Test Center. United States Air Force. Retrieved 7 January PLOS Biology. PMC PMID In Benecke, T; Quick, A eds. History of German Guided Missiles Development. Archived from the original on Retrieved Air-Britain Digest.
Archived from the original on 23 September Retrieved 26 March US Naval Academy Archived from the original on 2 July Retrieved 21 November OCLC Popular Mechanics. Hearst Magazines. Marine Corps University. United States Marine Corps. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN Australian Aviation.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a short-range air-to-air missile which entered service with the US Navy in and subsequently was adopted by the US Air Force in. The AIM-9P Sidewinder is a infra-red (IR) homing missile used on a variety of aircraft. An export version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder. The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile carried by fighter aircraft. It has a high-explosive warhead and an infrared.