The AIM-9X Sidewinder is the latest of the Sidewinder family of short-range air-to-air missiles carried on a wide range of modern tactical aircraft.


The AIM-9X features a fifth generation staring focal plane array IR seeker with a high off-boresight capability. AIM-9X is an advanced IR missile. It is mounted on a highly maneuverable (thrust vectored) airframe, along with digital guidance and IR signal processing that results in enhanced acquisition ranges, greatly improved infrared counter-countermeasures capability, and extremely high off-boresight engagement zones for unprecedented first shot/first kill air-to-air performance.

The Sidewinder is the most widely used air-to-air missile currently being used by more than 40 nations throughout the world. The AIM-9 is one of the oldest, least expensive and most successful missiles in the U.S. weapons inventory. A prototype of the Sidewinder, the AIM-9A, was first fired successfully in September 1953. The initial production version, designated AIM-9B, entered operational use in 1956 and has been improved upon steadily since. The L model was the first Sidewinder with the ability to attack from all angles, including head-on. The AIM-9M has the all-aspect capability of the L model while providing all-around higher performance. The AIM-9M has improved defense against infrared countermeasures, enhanced background discrimination capability, and a reduced-smoke rocket motor. These modifications increase its ability to locate and lock on a target and decrease the missile's chances for detection. Deliveries began in 1983. The AIM-9M-7 was a specific modification to AIM-9M in response to threats expected in the Persian Gulf war zone.


Primary Function: Air-to-air missile
Contractor: Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, AZ
Date Deployed: AIM-9B:1956
Propulsion: Solid-propellant rocket
Length: AIM-9M, 9.3 feet; AIM-9X, 9.9 feet
Diameter: 5 inches (.13 meters)
Wingspan: 2 feet 1 inch (0.63 meters)
Weight: 188 pounds
Speed: AIM-9M, Classified; AIM-9X, Classified (Supersonic)
Range: Classified
Guidance System: Passive infrared
Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation (conventional) weighing 20.8 pounds (9.36 kg)

Program Status

Block I
ACAT: ACAT 1C Program
Production Phase: Production & Sustainment

Block II
ACAT: Modification
Production Phase: Production