U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 strike-fighters armed with medium range AMRAAM radar-guided missiles and short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles with a Helmet-Mounted Cueing Sight (HMCS) will revolutionize air warfare in the next century. These weapons will change the manner in which we conduct air-to-air warfare. Our pilots will get the first look with aircraft radar or visually with an HMCS, fire the first shot with AMRAAM or a high off-boresight capable AIM-9X, and benefit from increased lethality and aircraft survivability.


The AIM-120 AMRAAM missile is deployed on the F/A-18C/D, and will be deployed on F/A-18E/F and JSF aircraft. Joint U.S. Air Force and Navy procurement of AMRAAM continues, and deliveries of the reprogrammable AIM-120B have begun. The AIM-120C pre-planned product improvement program is a key factor in maintaining air superiority into the next century. This modernization plan includes clipped wings for internal F-22 carriage, a propulsion enhancement program, increased warhead lethality, and enhanced electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) capabilities through hardware and software upgrades.

Ultimately, AMRAAM will be the Department of the Navy's sole medium range missile. As part of our neckdown strategy, the radar-guided AIM 54C Phoenix and AIM-7M Sparrow are out of production, and no further software or hardware improvements are planned. Nevertheless, F-14 Tomcats armed with the AIM-54C and AIM-7M will remain effective air superiority fighters into the next century, and the AIM-54/AIM-7 inventory will support the Tomcat throughout its remaining service life.


The AIM-9M8/9 is the last of the planned upgrades to the existing, analog based AIM-9M, and will incorporate enhanced infrared counter countermeasure (IRCCM) features. The follow-on Sidewinder variant, AIM 9X, will include major digital modifications. AIM-9X will feature a high off-boresight, focal-plane array seeker mounted on a highly maneuverable airframe with reprogrammable IRCCM capabilities.
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