An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies near China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center during a successful AIM-9X missile test. Photo: US Air Force.
TUCSON, ARIZONA (BNS): The US Air Force, US Navy and Raytheon Company successfully test-fired three AIM-9X Block I missiles from an F-35A aircraft at airborne targets, resulting in direct hits.
The weapon is the first short-range, air-to-air missile to be used on the F-35.
"These tests validated the on-board communications and handoffs between the aircraft and the missile required to prosecute an aerial target," Mark Justus, AIM-9X programme director for Raytheon Missile Systems was quoted as saying in the Raytheon news release.
The series of guided live fire tests proved the end-to-end system capability of AIM-9X on the F-35. AIM-9X will help ensure our pilots and allies have the most reliable and effective weapons on the F-35.
The F-35 can carry two AIM-9X missiles on its wings and four AIM-120s internally when configured for an air dominance mission. These test firings advances integration of the AIM-9X, with introduction across the F-35 fleet expected in 2017, the release added.
Complementary Raytheon weapons (AMRAAM and AIM-9X) ensure allied pilots flying the newest fighter aircraft have the most reliable, effective and lethal arsenal to assure victory in combat.
The fourth guided test in the series is expected to take place later this year.
AIM-9X is a US Navy-led, joint Navy and US Air Force programme.