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New missile pushes F-22 ahead of fight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In today’s war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, being accurate and effective are both key components in keeping Americans and their allies safe.  

To accommodate this, the F-22 recently switched from AIM-9M to AIM-9X munitions, as the AIM-9M is an older missile, dating back to the Vietnam War, and has many countermeasures.

“The AIM-9X has newer updated technology,” said Master Sgt. Theodore Winnen, 1st Maintenance Group weapons standardization superintendent. “It really gives the pilots a lot more capability, as far as tracking targets at further distances and being able to take them out, where the AIM-9M is a lot more limited in what it can do.”

According to  Maj. Brent, 1st Fighter Wing acting director of staff, one of the main limitations of the AIM-9M is the range of sight it has -- that’s where the AIM-9X really excels.

“The 9X brings high, off-board sight capability that allows the seeker or missile to ‘see’ targets well outside the sight abilities of the 9M,” Brent said. “Our pilots are extremely pleased with the missiles performance, and it gives them a new capability they did not have before.”

With the AIM-9X, pilots are able to identify if it can be fired or not simply by the certain sounds produced. While using the AIM-9M, it is difficult for pilots to determine if the missile can properly fire due to the many variables that can affect the weapon.

Other features that AIM-9X missiles includes are the ability to maneuver more easily, built to require less maintenance and its improved camera, which allows the missile to more accurately pick up and track enemy targets.