Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are awarding a $291.8 million contract modification to the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to build lot 16 of the AIM-9X block II air-to-air missiles for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and the governments of Japan, Norway, and Taiwan.
Of this lot 16 AIM 9X missile buy, the lion's share of the air-to-air weapons will go to the U.S. Air Force with 429. The Navy will get 160 missiles, the Army will get 7, Taiwan will get 40, Norway will get 20, and Japan will get four.
The AIM-9X is a relatively short-range infrared heat-seeking missile that equips most jet fighters, fighter-bombers, and other offensive combat aircraft in the U.S. arsenal, and is for shooting down enemy aircraft close by. The AIM-9X works by homing in on an enemy aircraft's hot engine exhaust. Variants of the AIM-9 Sidewinder have been deployed since the 1950s.
The AIM-9X is among the latest versions of the AIM-9 missile family. It entered service in 2003 on the Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter-bomber and on the U.S. Air Force F-15C jet fighter. It has an imaging infrared focal plane array seeker with 90-degree off-boresight capability for accuracy.
The missile is compatible helmet-mounted displays such as the U.S. Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, and features 3-D thrust-vectoring control for increased turn capability. The AIM-9X also includes an internal cooling system.
The latest version of the AIM-9X is called the AIM-9X Block II. This newest version has lock-on after launch capability for use with the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter and the F-22 Raptor advanced tactical fighter.
Last September Raytheon won contracts worth $491.1 million for AIM-9X block 15 production, as well as to improve the missile by mitigating obsolescence issues by installing new components and software into the AIM-9X Lot 17 and Lot 19 production programs.
Friday's order also includes 252 Block II captive air training missiles for the Navy, Air Force, and the governments of Japan, Norway, Turkey, Australia, and Taiwan. Also included are 274 all up round containers for the Navy, Air Force, Army, and the governments of Japan, Norway, Turkey, Netherlands, Australia, and Taiwan.
Also involved in the order are special air training missiles, captive test missiles, spare advanced optical target detectors, spare guidance units, spare captive air training missile guidance units, guidance unit containers, spare advanced optical target detector containers, spare propulsion steering sections, and other spare parts.
On this contract modification Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; Andover, Mass.; Valencia, Calif.; Midland, Ontario; Rocket Center, W.Va.; Vancouver, Wash; Goleta, Calif. (2.86 percent); Cheshire, Conn. (2.05 percent); Heilbronn, Germany (1.88 percent); Simsbury, Conn. (1.61 percent); San Jose, Calif. (1.48 percent); Anniston, Ala. (1.31 percent); Cincinnati; Maniago, Italy (1.21 percent); Chatsworth, Calif. (1.11 percent); San Diego, and in other locations inside and outside the U.S., and should be finished by March 2019.