Thursday, August 02, 2012

First Supersonic AIM-9X

Maj. Ryan Howland of the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB, California, was at the controls for the first supersonic AIM-9X launch From an F-22 on 30 July 2012.
Wow.  Too much military fiction for me.  Everyone one of the aviation writers I've ever read always talks about pilots going supersonic or darn near to add umph to their missiles.  I didn't know it was actually done in real life...until now.

3 comments:

  1. This is a pretty big milestone for the fighter/missile combination. Under normal conditions every weapon has to be integrated with each type of launch platform that carries it, as every installation's aerodynamics, software, and in this case launch mechanism is different. Supersonic off the F-22 is a big deal because the carriage is internal and the launch sequence is far more dynamic/complex and uses different tech than if it was just hanging off the wing. Emphasis on supersonic launch practically disappeared after the Century Series interceptors, as for fighters other than pure interceptors, it was seen that the fight devolved rapidly into a subsonic one no matter how fast you were going when it started, and you didn't spend a lot of time supersonic becasue it sucked too much fuel. With the F-22, more likely than not the initial engagement will begin with the Raptor cruising well above his prey in supercruise. Since absolute missile speed is measured in Mach # ABOVE launch speed, it lowers the missile acceleration times tremendously when it is launched above the transsonic range where it doesn't have to fight past the associated drag rise.
    The AIM-9X is long overdue (originally we were supposed to get the ASRAAM from the Brits) and finally gets us off-boresight launch capabilities the the Russians have had for years with their AA-11/Archer (NATO Code Name) weapon.

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  2. Now if they would upgrade the MLD to allow HOBS, the F-22 would be seriously nasty.

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  3. Now imagine AIM-47s launched from Mach 3.2 and 80,000ft. Yeah, sweet. :-)

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