Raytheon announced Wednesday that it has demonstrated, once again, the ability to attack surface targets with the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile that is in the inventory of the Air Force and Navy. During this test, which occurred Sept. 23 in the Gulf of Mexico, an Air Force F-16 fired an AIM-9X that sank a rapidly moving target boat, said the company. This was actually the third time that Raytheon says the sophisticated dogfight missile has engaged moving surface objects, building upon demonstrations against a maneuvering boat in April 2008 and a fast-moving ground vehicle in March 2007. “With a software upgrade, AIM-9X retains its air-to-air capabilities and gains an air-to-surface capability,” at a “very affordable cost,” said Harry Schulte, Raytheon’s vice president of air warfare systems.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.