Navy asks Raytheon to upgrade software on AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile in $52.2 million contract

Sept. 14, 2020
The AIM-9X infrared-guided heat-seeking missile equips most jet fighters, fighter-bombers, and other offensive combat aircraft in the U.S. arsenal.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy aerial warfare experts are asking Raytheon Technologies Corp. to upgrade software in the Navy and U.S. Air Force AIM-9X Block II infrared-guided air-to-air missile under terms of a $52.2 million contract announced Thursday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for new software development, software risk reduction, existing software support, software improvements and production integration planning related to the AIM-9X Block II missile.

The AIM-9X is an infrared-guided 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.

Related: Air Force asks Raytheon to upgrade AMRAAM radar-guided air-to-air missile software in $125 million deal

Raytheon will develop new operational flight software 10.15, which is necessary for AIM-9X Block II missile production in support of Lot 23, as well as future lots for the Navy, Air Force and U.S. allies.

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 with 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.

Related: Raytheon to upgrade hardware and software in sea- and land-based X-band missile-defense radar

This contract involves the latest versions of the AIM-9X, 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.

On this contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson and Scottsdale Ariz.; Andover, Mass.; Anaheim and Valencia, Calif.; Keyser, W.Va.; Minneapolis; Mosheim, Tenn.; North Logan, Utah; Vancouver, Wash.; and other locations, and should be finished by July 2023.

For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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