The US Air Force (USAF)’s 411th Flight Test Squadron and F-22 Combined Test Force (CTF) have successfully tested two guided AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles from the F-22 Raptor tactical fighter aircraft.
The AIM-9X advanced infrared missile is the newest of the Sidewinder family of short-range air-to-air missiles. This new development marks the latest phase in bringing the Raptor closer to using the missile operationally.
The first guided launch of the AIM-9X missile from an F-22 Raptor successfully shot down a BQM-34 drone during the test.
In April, the USAF carried out the second guided firing, targeting a BQM-74 drone.
According to the USAF, the AIM-9X missile has a digital guidance system and infrared signal processing that offers an improved acquisition ranges and enhanced infrared counter-countermeasures capability.
In addition, it will provide extremely high off-boresight engagement zones for unprecedented first shot, first kill air-to-air performance.
411 FLTS operations assistant director major Christopher Guarente said: "The 9X will give the pilot the capability to launch this missile from any condition he can find himself in.
"The aircraft will be able to employ the 9X at high angles of attack and high-look angles, which will allow the pilot freedom to manoeuvre as necessary to achieve the first shot and kill without being limited by the missile’s launch capability."
The recently completed two guided test shots mark the start of the integration phase of the F-22 CTF’s AIM-9X programme.
As part of this, CTF completed the carriage phase, while the separations phase is ongoing with 17 successful releases.
Image: The AIM-9X is the newest of the Sidewinder family of short-range air-to-air missiles carried on a wide range of fighter jets. Photo: courtesy of David Henry / Lockheed Martin.