|Kunsan pilots improve capability with AIM-9X missile |
by Senior Airman Steven Doty
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/29/2008 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) -- Pilots, maintainers and ammunition Airmen at Kunsan Air Base have been introduced recently to a new generation weapon that changes air-to-air combat.
The Air Intercept Missile-9X Sidewinder, developed by Raytheon engineers, is a fifth generation AIM-9 missile that is a substantial upgrade to the Sidewinder family featuring an advanced infra-red seeker and a higher off-boresight capability.
In January, members of the 80th Fighter Squadron swapped out older Block 30 F-16 Fighting Falcons for newer Block 40 F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. These jets have the capability to carry the AIM-9X.
"Combined with the Block 40 F-16s we received from Alaska, these missiles add an even greater combat capability to our mission at Kunsan," said Capt. Nicolas Evans, the 80th Fighter Squadron chief of weapons and tactics.
The AIM-9X Sidewinder is an important attribute to the 80th FS as it is compatible with the recently integrated Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System. Combined with the JHMCS, a pilot can control the AIM-9X missile by simply looking at a target offered through the new technology. Together, the two systems are more effective in the sky.
"The AIM-9X provides greater survivability against air threats, as it will allow 80th FS pilots the ability to engage enemy aircraft even faster than before," he said.
Offensively, the weapon will assure pilots have the ability to project the necessary power to ensure dominant maneuver. In the defensive counter-air role, the missile system will provide a key capability for force protection.
As with any new system or advancement, there are a number of training requirements to maintain, load or employ that advancement in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.
"Since the AIM-9X arrived, we have been training (Airmen) rapidly in order to increase the number of Airmen qualified to maintain, load and employ this weapon," Captain Evans said.
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