The US Army and Raytheon Company successfully test fired an AIM-9X Block II missile from the Army's ground-based Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC) Increment 2-I Block 1 Multi-Mission Launcher (MML).
The AIM-9X is a member of the Sidewinder air-to-air missiles that have been in service with many of the world's air forces since the 1950s. This test demonstrated that the latest AIM-9X can be used in both air-to-air combat and now, without modification, in ground-based air defence.
The AIM-9X missile first locked onto an unmanned aerial system (UAS) before launch, and then intercepted and destroyed the UAS, which was flying 1,500 meters above ground level.
"AIM-9X can perform well against fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial systems or cruise missiles and retain the 'first look, first shot, first kill' reputation – in the air and from the ground," Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice president said.
The test also validated the operation and design of the Army's prototype IFPC MML and demonstrated the surface launch performance of the AIM-9X Block II missile against a UAS.
With the onset of UAS technology and its proliferation around the world, the implications for security of sensitive infrastructure such as energy installations, airports, and prisons are significant. As a result, industry and government have started to develop technologies to detect, identify, commandeer, and even destroy trespassing drones if necessary.
The AIM-9X entered operational service in 2003, and there are 18 international customers. AIM-9X Block II missiles have been acquired under Project Air 5349 Phase 2 which is the weapons phase of the ADF’s Super Hornet program.