AIM-9L Sidewinder

The AIM-9L introduced yet another new guidance system making it a true all-aspect missile (which means it doesn't need to be aimed at the exhaust of the target but can also lock on e.g. wing edges heated by air friction), and an annular blast-fragmentation warhead surrounded by a sheath of pre-fragmented rods. It uses a proximity-fuze, consisting of a ring of GaAs (Gallium-Arsenide) laserdiodes and corresponding photodiodes. If the target is close enough to reflect the emitted light back to the receiving photodiodes, the warhead is fired. This improved optical fuze increases the missileös lethality and resistance to electronic countermeasures. Despite its basic design, the all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder still remains a potent threat, exceeded in effectiveness perhaps only by the Russian-built Molniya/Vympel R-73 (known in the West as the AA-11 Archer) which combines aerodynamic and thrust-vectoring control systems. The L model was the first Sidewinder with the ability to attack from all angles, including head-on. Production and delivery of the AIM-9L began in 1976.

Seeker: All-aspect infrared
Speed: Mach 2+
Length: 9 ft 7 in
Weight: 198 lb
Warhead: 22 lb blast fragmentation
Range: 10 miles
Diameter: 5 in

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