Canada will donate 43 AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles to Ukraine directly from the Canadian Armed Forces inventory.
This donation is aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s air defense capabilities in the face of ongoing Russian attacks. This decision was announced by the Minister of National Defence Anita Anand.
AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles are renowned for their effectiveness in air combat. Despite being introduced in 1956, these missiles still remain in service due to their exceptional efficiency. In fact, these munitions will continue to exist in active stockpiles of the US Air Force until 2050.
Ukraine will receive 43 units of AIM-9 missiles. All of them will be sourced from the Canadian Army’s stockpiles.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile is produced by an American company Raytheon. It is an air-to-air munition. Since its inception, it has undergone numerous upgrades and is still being mass-produced. Currently, over 10 different versions of this weapon exist, although it remains unclear which specific version Ukraine will receive.
The latest variant, the AIM-9X, is even used on fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35. The total production count of AIM-9 exceeds 200,000 units.
Interestingly, the Soviet Union reverse-engineered the AIM-9 missile and developed its own version called the K-13/R-13.
What are the main characteristics of AIM-9 Sidewinder?
The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile is a widely used air-to-air munition known for its effectiveness in combat scenarios. Over the years, it was produced by three companies: Raytheon, Ford Aerospace, and Loral Corp. A single unit type Block II Plus costs roughly $400,000.
The AIM-9 was designed in 1953 and is still produced.
A single missile weighs 85.3 kg (188 pounds) and is 3 meters long. It carries a WDU-17/B annular blast-fragmentation warhead weighing 9.4 kg (20.8 lb). The rocket is fueled by a solid-fuel engine Hercules/Bermite Mk. 36.
This weapon is a heat-seeking missile designed to track and engage airborne targets based on their heat signatures. It homes in on the thermal emissions from aircraft engines, making it particularly effective against enemy aircraft. An infrared seeker that detects and locks onto the heat source emitted by the target aircraft.
The maximum flight velocity is above Mach 2.5. Operational range is within 1.0 to 35.4 km (0.6 to 22 miles).
The control surfaces of Sidewinder are designed to enable it to make rapid turns and adjust its flight path to intercept agile targets. Targets can be engaged from various directions, providing a high probability of hit regardless of the target’s relative position to the launching aircraft.
The main modifications include the AIM-9L, AIM-9M, AIM-9X, Block II and Block III. Each variant offers improved capabilities such as extended range, enhanced guidance systems, and increased resistance to countermeasures.
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is compatible with different types of fighter aircraft. It can be deployed from F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and various other fighter jets operated by different nations.
Written by Alius Noreika
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