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Raytheon receives $78 milllion contract for Sidewinder missiles

The primary recipients are the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, but the contract includes upgrades for several countries that use the missile.

By Stephen Carlson
Raytheon receives $78 milllion contract for Sidewinder missiles
Raytheon recently received a contract for sustainment of Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missiles worth $77.8 million for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, in addition to several other nations that buy the missiles. Photo courtesy of Raytheon

April 24 (UPI) -- Raytheon Missile Systems, based out of Tuscon, Arizona, has received a $77.8 million contract for sustainment of the Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile, the Department of Defense announced late last week.

The primary recipients are the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, but the contract also includes upgrades for the many countries that use the missile. Raytheon also received a $291 million contract in July 2016 to sustain Sidewinder missiles for the United States and other countries.

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The modifications included in the new contract will upgrade its targeting and propulsion systems, and will be obligated from fiscal 2017 for both the Navy and Air Force. It also applies to foreign military sales.

The contract includes service and support for training missiles, continuing updates to older models, and monitoring of any potential shortages for potential missions by countries continuing to purchase the missile.

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The Sidewinder has been the standard short-range infrared missile for the US military since 1953, and the Block II has been in production for 14 years. It remains the preeminent short range air-to-air missile in over 40 countries, including key allies from Korea to Turkey.

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The Block II Sidewinder has an all-aspect infrared seeker, which means it can target an aircraft from any angle, unlike older models that could only fire on aircraft from the rear. It has a range of up to 22 miles, can travel at Mach 2.5, and has a proximity warhead.

The work will be performed at the Raytheon facility in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by May 2019.

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