U.S. Navy Grants Raytheon $80.3M to Ramp Up AIM-9X Sidewinder Production, Likely for Ukraine

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 05:17 AM, September 12, 2023
  • 755
U.S. Navy Grants Raytheon $80.3M to Ramp Up AIM-9X Sidewinder Production, Likely for Ukraine
AIM-9X Sidewinder

The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon $80.3 million to increase the production of AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, as Washington tries to keep its promise of transferring missiles of this type to Ukraine.

Confirming the contract, the Pentagon said in a statement today that this “modification adds scope to provide non-recurring tooling, equipment, and associated support required to increase the annual AIM-9X missile production capacity for the Navy.”

Work is expected to be completed in June 2026.

Ukraine's ongoing conflict with Russia is depleting its Soviet-era R-73 heat-seeking missiles, prompting the need for Sidewinders.

On August 29, the U.S. allocated $250 million in aid to Ukraine, including Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. Canada had previously pledged AIM-9s in May from their own inventory.

These missiles can be launched from F-16s, which several countries, including Denmark, The Netherlands, and Norway, have promised to Ukraine.

Ukraine could integrate its AIM-9s, with a 22-mile range and weighing 190 pounds, onto its MiG-29s and Su-27s. They've modified their aircraft and air defense systems to accommodate western weapons: Ukrainian MiG-29s and Su-27s can fire Storm Shadow missiles, while MBDA’s ASRAAM has been modified to strike from ground.

Poland has explored equipping its MiG-29s with AIM-9Xs by retrofitting American-made LAU-129 launcher rails onto the MiGs' wings and adding electronic components to their cockpits, including speakers to replicate the distinctive Sidewinder lock-on growl.

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