TechNASAMS fires latest aim-9x sidewinder to down Russian target

NASAMS fires latest aim‑9x sidewinder to down Russian target

A NASAMS system firing at a Russian object.
A NASAMS system firing at a Russian object.
Images source: © United24

8:39 PM EDT, May 28, 2024

An interesting video has surfaced online showing the activities of a NASAMS anti-aircraft system battery. The video captures a missile launch that appears to be the newest member of the AIM-9 Sidewinder family. We present its performance.

In the video below, you can see one of the missiles launched from the NASAMS anti-aircraft system launcher, shooting down a Russian target, most likely a drone or cruise missile.

According to X user John Ridge, who specializes in anti-aircraft missiles, the fired missile could have been an AIM-9X Sidewinder. This is also indicated by the frame-by-frame analysis of the recording, which shows the missile's front part lacking large canards (characteristic of older versions) and its rear part having short fins.

AIM-9X Sidewinder - the latest short-range weapon. It is also used in Polish F-16s

AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles have been the standard short-range armament for most NATO aircraft since the 1950s. The AIM-9X variant, produced since 2003, is an evolution of the older AIM-9L/M missiles, retaining only the rocket motor and the warhead weighing about 22 pounds.

The rest of the missile has changed, starting with a slightly redesigned airframe with greater strength and modified aerodynamics to the new generation guidance head. This fourth-generation design operates in the infrared spectrum and sees the thermal image of the target; hence, the term IIR (imaging infrared).

Unlike older solutions, it can track an aircraft's heated fuselage, not just its engine's heat point. It is also resistant to decoys like flares. Essentially, the only forms of protection against an attack are to outmaneuver it (nearly impossible) or to blind the head with a laser beam, which only very few self-defense systems can do.

The range depends on the version. The block I version can have a range above 10 miles, and the block II version, produced since 2015, is estimated to have a range of about 19 miles. It is also worth noting that in the block II version, a communication link was added, enabling, for example, target confirmation post-launch or switching to another target.

These range values apply to launches from aircraft at high altitudes. In the case of ground launches, the range will be significantly lower (below 12 miles), as the denser air causes greater drag and faster energy dissipation of the missile.

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