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Sidewinder three for three in F-35 test firings

The Sidewinder becomes the first short-range air-to-air missile integrated onto the F-35 fighter.

By Richard Tomkins
Sidewinder three for three in F-35 test firings
An F-35A conducts testing with an AIM-9X over the skies of California. Courtesy photo by Darin Russell/Lockhead Martin

TUCSON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The Sidewinder AIM-9X missile has demonstrated its effectiveness integrated on an F-35, scoring three for three during test firings.

The AIM-9X Block I missile is the first short-range air-to-air missile used on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

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"These tests validated the on-board communications and handoffs between the aircraft and the missile required to prosecute an aerial target," said Mark Justus, AIM-9X program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. "AIM-9X will help ensure our pilots and allies have the most reliable and effective weapons on the F-35.

"We look forward to the remaining flight test and integration work, leading to fielding of the AIM-9X on the most advanced fighter aircraft."

The testing was conducted by Raytheon with the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Areas validated included loading, in-flight carriage, target acquisition by the aircraft, passing a target cue to the missile on the rail, missile target acquisition and track, launch initiation, in-flight guidance and impact/proximity fuzing at target intercept.

The F-35 can carry two AIM-9X missiles on its wings and four AIM-120s internally when configured for an air dominance mission.

A fourth guided test in the series is expected to take place later this year.

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