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Raytheon secures US$434m order to supply air-to-air missiles

Raytheon will provide 766 AIM-9X Block II missiles and 160 AIM-9X Block II+ missiles for role out with key US, Australian and allied platforms, including F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and F-35 variants. 

The US$434.4 million contract includes captive air training missiles; special air training missiles; missile containers; spare advanced optical target detectors; spare guidance units; spare captive air training missile guidance units; guidance unit containers; spare advanced optical target detector containers; and a spare block II propulsion steering section.

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Raytheon currently provides the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile variants to the Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and growing fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. 

As part of this contract, Raytheon will supply missiles and support infrastructure to both the United States Navy and United States Air Force, Israel, Qatar, Norway, South Korea and Australia will procure eight captive air training missiles (CATMs) and twenty-one all up containers. 

The Sidewinder is a 'tri-use' missile, effective in air-to-air, air-to-surface or surface-to-air applications with no modifications required. The F-35 can carry up to two AIM-9X missiles on its wings, with introduction across the F-35 fleet expected in 2019.

The current version, the AIM-9X Block II missile, is in its 16th year of production. It adds a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety. It also features updated electronics that enable significant enhancements, including lock-on-after-launch capability using a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements. 

A Raytheon Australia spokesperson told Defence Connect in 2018: "These weapon systems will deliver for the Royal Australian Air Force a new combat advantage while also providing the opportunity for greater interoperability of systems with allied forces."

The AIM-9X is an infrared heat-seeking missile that equips most jet fighters, fighter-bombers and other offensive combat aircraft in the US and allied Air Forces, and is optimised for shooting down enemy aircraft close-by, the AIM-9X works by homing in on an enemy aircraft's hot engine exhaust. 

The AIM-9X missile is compatible with helmet-mounted displays such as the US Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, and features 3D thrust-vectoring control for increased turn capability.

The AIM-9X Block II has lock-on-after-launch capability for use with the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F-22 Raptor, operated by the US and allies including the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Belgium.

Raytheon secures US$434m order to supply air-to-air missiles
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