Lockheed Martin has been awarded a USD33.4 million contract to modify its F-22 Raptor combat aircraft to carry the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile (AAM).
The contract, which was announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 24 October, will see Lockheed Martin upgrade 220 AIM-9 Configurable Rail Launchers (CRLs) to be compatible with the AIM-9X.
Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by 28 February 2017.
While the AIM-9X has the same rocket motor and warhead as previous versions of the missile, changes include fixed forward canards and smaller fins. The missile now incorporates a jet-vane steering system for enhanced post-launch agility. The AIM-9X's guidance section has been redesigned and features an imaging infrared seeker, and the missile is also compatible with the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS).
Already in service with the Boeing F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18A+ Hornet, F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, and with integration work progressing on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the AIM-9X is the latest variant of the venerable Sidewinder short-range AAM.