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Elmendorf first to field new AIM-9X

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFPN) -- The 12th and 19th fighter squadrons here are the first operational units within the Department of Defense to field and train with the new AIM-9X Sidewinder.

A ceremony celebrating the achievement was held here Nov. 13.

“We’re thrilled the 3rd Wing has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of combat technology,” said Col. Russ Handy, 3rd Operations Group commander here. “The AIM-9X adds even more lethality to our already awesome air-to-air capability."

The AIM-9X is the newest and most technologically advanced version of the infrared-guided Sidewinder missile family.

It has undergone an extensive and highly successful flight-test program, complemented by a sophisticated and accredited modeling and simulation capability. The missile is a DOD flagship program for modeling simulation, saving more than $50 million in development costs.

“The F-15 (Eagle) is the most deadly air-to-air fighter the world has ever known,” said Capt. Randy Gordon, a weapons and tactics officer with the 3rd Operations Support Squadron. “And the AIM-9X is one more deadly weapon we can add to our inventory that will make an enemy pilot think twice before taking off.”

The program scored 18 successes in 19 guided flights during development testing and completed 22 operation evaluation firings. The missile has also undergone more than 3,500 hours of rigorous flight testing.

The AIM-9X is a revolutionary missile that “completely revises the way we think about ‘within visual range’ combat,” Gordon said.

“Imagine the difference in capability between a cable modem and a dial-up model for Internet use, and you begin to understand why (F-15) pilots here are so fortunate to fly with the AIM-9X versus older variants of the AIM-9M,” said Gordon, an F-15 Eagle pilot.

Air Force officials plan to buy 5,080 AIM-9X missiles during a planned 18-year production run.

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