Air Force print news: Edwards test team fires F-16's first AIM-9X Sidewinder (April 16, 2004).
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE Edwards Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 301,000 acres (121,805 hectares), S Calif., NE of Lancaster; est. 1933. It is one of the largest air force bases in the United States and has the world's longest runway. , Calif. (AFPN AFPN Air Force Print News
AFPN American Forces Philippines Network (former AFRTS network in the Philippine Islands ) -- A test team from the Global Power Fighters Combined Test Force fired the newest variant of the AIM-9 Sidewinder The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. It is named after the Sidewinder snake, which detects its prey via body heat and also because of the peculiar snake-like path of flight the , the X variant, for the first time from an F-16 Fighting Falcon The F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American multirole jet fighter aircraft developed by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin for the United States Air Force. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multirole aircraft. here April 9.
The Sidewinder sidewinder, common name for a rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, found in the deserts of the SW United States. This 2-ft (60-cm), pale yellow and pink snake is named for its curious method of locomotion. is a supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile carried by fighter aircraft. Before this, the AIM-9X had been fired only from F-15 Eagles and U.S. Navy F-18 Hornets.
The test mission is part of the F-16 M4-plus test project currently going on here. The project tests an improved avionics system that will be used to upgrade about 600 active-duty F-16 aircraft.
This was the first firing in a series of tests designed to clear the new variant for use on the F-16, said Capt. Chad Hale, 416th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS FLTS Flats (street type)
FLTS Flight Test Squadron (Air Force Flight Test Center)
FLTS Flat Size (US Postal Service)
FLTS Flight Line Test Set ) operations engineer for the project. The initial flights are designed to validate the effects predicted by its contracted developer.
The team's first two firings are unguided, and the flight profiles will build up to three guided firings against subscale drones, Captain Hale said.
In its first test, after clearing the aircraft the missile was programmed to perform a high-G dive into the ground. Air Force Maj. Ray Toth, 416th FLTS test pilot, fired the new Sidewinder. "The test went as planned, and there were no surprises," said Toth, who fired the missile over a test range at nearby China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center.
The team also evaluated how the new Sidewinder variant works with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) is a US joint service helmet mounted display produced by VSI under contract to Boeing which projects information similar to head up display on the visor thereby allowing the aircrew to cue the weapons system to the direction the head is . It is compatible with the system, which is designed to acquire targets more easily and decrease aircrew workload.
Results of the tests will have big payoffs for combat pilots, said Air Force Maj. Monte Cannon, a project pilot and 416th FLTS F-16 chase pilot for the mission.
"The AIM-9X test marks a tremendous increase in combat capability for the F-16," Cannon said. "Together, the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and the missile will provide a lethal combination for pilots who find themselves in visual engagements."
The latest variant has the same rocket motor and warhead as the AIM-9M, which is the most current operational variant of the missile. However, the AIM-9X has major changes from previous versions including increased flight performance.
The Sidewinder was originally developed by the Navy for fleet air defense and was later adapted by the Air Force for use on fighter aircraft. Early versions of the missile were used in the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. .