Ford-Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder

A short-range passive Infra-Red homing heat-seeking air-to-air missile carried offensively and for self-defence. Named after the Sidewinder snake, which also detects its prey via body heat. Developed by the U.S Navy from the late 1940s, with the first successful firing in September 1953.

Operated ‘within visual range’ as a dog fighting missile which launches and arms itself very quickly. It is capable of being launched from a wide range of aircraft types. As a ‘fire-and-forget’ missile, the pilot can fire several missiles at different targets.

Being heat seeking, normally homing on the engine exhaust of the target aircraft, the Sidewinder has been known to take to the heat radiated by the sun!

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