skip to main content

Abandoned Multi-Mission Launcher, AIM-9X Sidewinder pairing revived for US Army air defence competition

US Army officials are preparing to evaluate at least two mobile, ground-based weapon systems to defeat aerial threats, but the service has found faults with both in the past – a ground-launched AIM-9X Sidewinder interceptor that struggles with thermal issues and the Israel-designed Iron Dome that may not integrate into the wider air defence architecture.

On 21 May Program Executive Officer for Missiles and Space Major General Robert Rasch and the Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team Director Brigadier General Brian Gibson spoke about the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 (IFPC Inc 2) programme and provided an update of a recent ‘shoot-off’ at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Although the duo did not provide specifics about contenders and their respective capabilities, they confirmed details and outlined the path forward.

Around the late April and early May timeframe, at least two teams demonstrated their systems for the army.

A Dynetics-Raytheon team fired the AIM-9X Sidewinder interceptor, according to industry and the service. This team used the Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) developed by the army and Dynetics but later abandoned by the service in favour of a new competition, according to an industry source. The army and Dynetics had not responded to Janes questions about the revival of the MML and the AIM-9X Sidewinder interceptor pairing, at the time of writing.

Raytheon deferred questions about its IFPC Inc 2 programme participation, but a spokesperson said on 23 May that thermal management issues noted in a report to Congress last year still exist and that the company “well understands [the] modifications required for any future ground-based applications”.

The MML launcher during a preliminary design review at the Dynetics facility in 2015. The army cancelled the programme later.  (US Army )

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...