Raytheon has adapted the heat-seeking AIM-9X to strike moving targets on the ground or in the water, adding another new capability for the formerly air-to-air-only missile.
The modification allows the same AIM-9X to strike both air and ground targets. Jeff White, Raytheon’s business development manager for AIM-9X, declines to describe the modification in detail, but says it involves only software changes. The AIM-9X infrared seeker, proximity fuse and blast/fragmentation warhead remain unchanged.
During a 23 September Gulf of Mexico test, a US Air Force F-15C fired the air-to-surface AIM-9X and hit a speeding “cigar boat”, a type commonly used by drug smugglers. “The missile went right through the boat,” says Raytheon spokesperson Jeff White.
A video, posted by @Gripennews, shows the testing of the laser-guided Sidewinder using a JAS-39 Gripen at the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration’s (FMV) test range in Vidsel, Sweden: