Country of origin
Country of origin
Range of fire
Semi-active radar homing (AIM-9C), infrared
Unquestionably the most famous and successful air-to-air missile,
the AIM-9 Sidewinder is still in full production and widespread
service today, 60 years after its introduction. It has been used by
a multitude of air arms throughout the world, and more than 1 000
have been launched in combat, shooting-down almost 300 aircraft. The
US Air Force (USAF) itself has contracts for maintenance and
logistical support for the Sidewinder into 2055, and Stephanie
Powell, a spokeswoman for that service, has stated that "...due to
its relative low cost, versatility, and reliability it is very
possible that the Sidewinder will remain in Air Force inventories
through the late 21st century."
The origins of this weapon date back to 1946 at the Naval
Ordnance Test Station near Inyokern, California; a facility today
referred to as Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. This concept
for an infrared-guided missile was euphemistically dubbed "Local
Fuze Project 602" by its creator, William B. McLean. Surprisingly,
this was not the result of an actual US military requirement, but a
sort of a "pet project" of McLean himself. In 1950, the design was
officially named the "Sidewinder", after Crotalus cerastes, a
venomous rattlesnake known to use infrared vision to hunt its prey.
McLean spent years trying to convince the US Navy to test the
Sidewinder, and it wasn't until 1951 that McLean convinced the
Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, Admiral William "Deak"
Parsons, to actually fund it. Though even with funding, the
Sidewinder wasn't ordained as an official US Navy program until
1952. Although by then, the US Navy finally realized they were on to
something. The USAF had their own infrared guided missile program
(which later resulted in the AIM-4 Falcon), and even in its
conceptual phase, the Navy's weapon was already clearly much more
efficient and cost-effective than its USAF counterpart. For
political reasons, the Navy neither wanted to acquire nor fund a
USAF weapon, and the Sidewinder couldn't have been presented at a
part to a fully-realized design phase, the development of the
missile proceeded quickly. Initially named the Sidewinder 1, the
prototypes had a markedly different layout from the familiar
production models of the Sidewinder, with square fins and a much
longer rocket motor. The first test launches occurred in 1951, while
the first powered launch from and aircraft took place on September
3rd 1952. Barely a year later, the Sidewinder I --- now designated
the XAAM-N-7 --- achieved its first powered and guided launch
against a target drone, on September 11th 1953. An additional 51
guided launches took place through 1954 as the design was further
refined, and in 1955, the Navy finally approved the missile for
production. Deliveries to the Navy soon followed, and In the
following year, the Sidewinder was declared operational. The USAF's
competing AIM-4 Falcon entered service in the same year, though it
was a much less impressive feat, considering that its development
was twice as long.
Interestingly, while the Sidewinder today is almost universally
associated with jet aircraft, those involved in the earliest tests
were all propeller-driven; the prototypes were launched from AD4
Skyraiders, and the target drones were converted F6F-5K Hellcats.
Prior to the early 1960s establishment more familiar
tri-service designation system now in use, the first model of the
Sidewinder was designated the AAM-N-7 Sidewinder I, while the
subsequent three models were designated AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IA (or
GAR-9, under the USAF designation system), AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC (SARH),
and AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC (IR). For simplicity, these missiles will
be referred-to in the rest of this article by their tri-service
designations; the AIM-9A, AIM-9B, AIM-9C, and AIM-9D, respectively.
The Sidewinder has an iconic and immediately recognizable
appearance, with a long and narrow cylindrical fuselage,
crucifix-pattern fore and aft fins, small and triangular front fins,
and proportionately large trapezoidal aft fins (though the recent
AIM-9X has tiny aft fins). The nose may be conical or dome-shaped,
depending on the variant; and also straight or tapered. The foreword
fins on the A through D models are triangular, pointed, and
swept-back, though the C and D models have a noticeably larger fin
with a more shallow sweep. A rolleron --- a wheel-like device
mounted in a tab-shaped fixture, whose function is described below
--- is located on the outer aft corners of the aft fins (the AIM-9X
has no rollerons, though that missile is outside the subject matter
of this particular article).
The body and fins of the Sidewinder are constructed almost
entirely of aluminum, the fuselage consisting of a long tube with at
least two sections. The forward fins are solid metal, while the aft
fins have a thin metal skin, and an aluminum honeycomb internal
frame. The nose cone of the seeker head on the A and B models was
initially made of glass, but this was quickly replaced in production
with a cone made of silicium (a similar silicon-based substance,
which is more infrared-transparent than glass). All Sidewinders are
powered by solid fuel rocket motors, though the composition of the
fuel and the casing varies from one motor to another.
AIM-9 Sidewinders employ infrared homing guidance, though the AIM-9C
was an exception (more on that below); in fact, the AIM-9 was named
the "Sidewinder" as a reference to the species of venomous pit viper
snake of the same name known to have passive infrared vision (a
widely-held myth is that the Sidewinder missile earned its name from
its distinctive serpentine handling in flight, but the name was
assigned before any were actually launched yet --- and thus, before
it's handling tendencies were fully understood). The guidance
systems in all early Sidewinders (the A, B, C, and D models) lacked
solid state electronics, and instead utilized vacuum tubes.
The AIM-9A and B have a seeker head with an uncooled PbS
(lead sulfide) detector, which only had a field of view of 4 degrees
and a tracking angle of 11 degrees/second; thus, these missiles had
to be pointed almost directly at the target in order to attain a
lock. Engaging maneuvering targets with these missiles were
inadvisable, and due to the poor infrared sensitivity and filtration
of these seeker heads, engaging aircraft from any direction other
than directly from behind was effectively impossible. Moreover, the
AIM-9A/B seeker head also had a tendency to lock-onto the wrong heat
sources, such as sun glare, ground reflections, and heat from the
smoke stacks of factories. As the A and B models are almost
identical, it is unclear if any attributes of their seekers differ.
The AIM-9C is unique among all production Sidewinders, in
employing semi-active radar homing guidance instead of infrared
guidance. This made the AIM-9C the first Sidewinder capable of a
head-on engagement (or any apart from tail-chasing, for that
matter), though it could only be used by an aircraft capable of
illuminating the target with radar. It was also immune to the
interference that plagued the infrared seeker heads of the A and B
models, but the C model had problems of its own. It was easily
jammed, had no "look down" capability (i.e., the ability to "see" a
target below the horizon), could be foiled by radio interference,
and in practice could not distinguish between an aircraft and a
The AIM-9D introduced a new seeker infrared head, which still
used the familiar PbS detector, but also introduced a liquid
nitrogen coolant. Combined with the new silicium nose cone, this
greatly increased the sensitivity and resolution of the D model over
the previous missiles. The new detector had a narrower field of view
at only 4.5 degrees, but also a slightly wider tracking angle of 12
The AIM-9A and B models are propelled by a 40 kg Thiokol/Aerojet
Mk.17 solid fuel rocket motor, with a burn duration of 2.2 seconds.
This allows the missile to reach its full speed only a few seconds
after launch. The forward fins function as all-moving canards, and
are powered by a hot gas generator with a 20-second burn time.
This C and D models were instead powered by a Hercules Mk.36
solid fuel rocket motor. This 44.9 kg device boasts a 4130 steel
casing, a Phenolic nozzle, an Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
rubber insulator, a Pyrogen igniter, and an Hydroxyl-Terminated
Polybutadiene (HTPB) fuel compound that produces relatively little
smoke. The thrust produced by the Mk.36 has not been published, but
it is presumably greater than that of the Mk.17 motor. This is also
a much more efficient engine, as the C and D models have more than
triple the range of the A and B models.
All four models of the early Sidewinders accelerate to their
top speed within seconds of being launched, and attain supersonic
speed. The A and B models have a top speed of Mach 1.7 (2 100 km/h),
while the more powerful motor used in the C and D models gives them
a flight speed of Mach 2.5 (3 087 km/h). These missiles are only
propelled in flight over a few kilometers, after which they rely on
inertia to reach their target. The Sidewinder's structure is capable
of withstanding 25 Gs of force (well over twice the maximum G
tolerances of the human body, and nearly three times the tolerances
of many fighters that were in service during the 1950s), though this
doesn't necessarily make it more maneuverable overall than a manned
fighter aircraft, as the closure rate can be too fast for the
missile to correct. The aforementioned rollerons are a vital
component of the Sidewinder as well, because they keep it on course
by acting as stabilizing gyros during flight.
The AIM-9A and B were armed with a 4.5 kg High Explosive
Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead, which had a lethal radius of 9 m,
and was triggered by an infrared proximity fuze. Although it had a
satisfactory shrapnel pattern, this munition proved wanting in
testing against larger airframes typical of the supersonic fighters
and large bombers then expected to enter service soon. The AIM-9C
and D switched over to the Mk.48, an 11 kg warhead of considerably
greater power. The Mk.48 is a continuous rod warhead, whose
principle of operation is similar to an HE-FRAG munition, but
instead of wrapping the sides of the bursting charge with pre-formed
shrapnel, it is instead enveloped by a thick steel wire compressed
and folded down into a tube. When a continuous rod munition
detonates, the tube unravels at supersonic velocities, creating a
rapidly expanding ring of wire that can inflict major structural
damage against large aircraft, and destroy smaller aircraft by
literally slicing them in half. The welds at the ends of the wire
segments break at a set radius, beyond which the effectiveness and
reliability of the warhead diminishes significantly, so continuous
rod warheads often employ multiple rings.
Sidewinder was also an extremely cheap weapon compared to most other
air-to-air missiles. An AIM-9B cost only $20 000 in the late 1960s,
compared to $500 000 for a single
AIM-7B Sparrow in the same era.
Coupled with its combat results and vast numbers, it was also both
expendable and highly cost-effective. For some nations that acquired
the Sidewinder, it was the first air-to-air missile their air arms
ever operated (for example, South Vietnam and Yemen), and it is
doubtful they could have afforded an air-to-air missile capability
had the Sidewinder (or at least one of its equivalents) not been
important (and often overlooked) aspect of the Sidewinder is that it
gave an air-to-air missile capability to many aircraft that would
have otherwise been unable to attain this. For example, F-86 Sabre,
A-10 Thunderbolt II were originally designed with little to no
consideration of missile combat against other aircraft, but the
Sidewinder was easily integrated into them, making these aircraft
significantly more formidable in air combat.
debut of the AIM-9 Sidewinder occurred on September 24th 1958, over
the Taiwan Strait. The Republic of China Air Force's (ROCAF's)
primary fighter at the time was the F-86 Sabre, against which the
People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had skillfully exploited
the speed and altitude advantages of their MiG-17s. Anticipating
another such battle, the US military had secretly supplied the ROCAF
with AIM-9B Sidewinders to even the odds. USAF F-100 Super Sabres
posed as high-flying MiG-17s in dissimilar air combat training with
ROCAF F-86 pilots, who were taught how to use Sidewinders to engage
hostile aircraft from below, while the US Marine Corps back-fitted
the F-86s to carry these missiles. When the MiGs made their move on
the 24th and used the usual tactics, they got a nasty surprise from
below, and 10 of them were swatted from the sky by Sidewinders
before they knew what hit them. The ROCAF F-86s took no losses. This
event upset China's entire air combat strategy, as neither their
speed or altitude advantages could off-set the threat posed by the
Sidewinder, and barely a week later, the PLAAF's intrusive flights
into Taiwanese airspace finally ended (for the time being).
One of the most surprising outcomes of the dogfight over the
Taiwan Strait wasn't realized until one of the surviving MiG-17s
returned to China. The pilot hadn't noticed any damage to the
aircraft during the mission, but as the MiG taxied onto the apron at
its airbase, startled ground crews noticed an unexpected accessory
on the airframe; a missile lodged in its fuselage. This event being
prior to the Sino-Soviet Split, Soviet technicians quickly retrieved
the missile, and brought it back to Russia for further study. They
were astonished not only to find the missile almost totally
undamaged, but also how far ahead of Soviet aviation missile
technology the US had already progressed. Further research
eventually resulted in a reverse-engineered Soviet "Sidewinder", the
(code-named AA-2 or Atoll by the West), but that's a different story
There were many doubts during the early Cold War of the
Sidewinder's viability against bombers, like the M-4 (Western
reporting name Bison) or the
(Western reporting name Bear). After all, these were large aircraft,
and the Sidewinder was a small missile. However, the Sidewinder
actually did manage to shoot-down one such aircraft --- though as
fate would have it, the victim was a USAF
B-52 Stratofortress. On April 7th 1961, F-100A Super Sabre
#53-1662, belonging to the 188th TFS, New Mexico, performed a
practice interception of B-52B #53-0380 out of Biggs air force base,
Texas, when a Sidewinder carried by the F-100 accidentally launched.
The missile was locked onto the B-52, and the F-100 pilot never
pulled the trigger, a series of malfunctions in the electrical
system connected to the missile caused it to launch. The pilot
immediately warned the B-52 crew of the launch, but on a large,
lumbering strategic bomber in the days before they carried
electronic countermeasures, nothing could stop the missile. It
struck and detonated against the inboard left engine pod, shredding
it and tearing through the skeletal structure of the wing; moments
later, the wing snapped in half, and the B-52 simply fell out of the
sky. In seconds, the AIM-9B had proven it could fell even the most
formidable aircraft in service at the time, though it was hardly a
proud moment for the USAF or Raytheon.
The AIM-9A and AIM-9B also saw extensive combat use in the
Vietnam War, the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War, the Six Day War, the War
of Attrition, the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, the Yom Kippur War, the
Iran-Iraq War, the Falklands War, and many other conflicts.
However, since the Vietnam War is generally considered the
"acid test" for how well the early AIM-9 Sidewinders performed, its
results in that war are worth noting. A total of 425 were launched
in combat, achieving 80 kills, for a Probability of Kill (pK) ratio
of 18%. While this is a poor result by contemporary standards, it
must be noted that it is the best performance of any missile used in
that war by a wide margin. The AIM-4 Falcon performed badly over
Southeast Asia, with only 5 kills to show for 54 launches (a 10% pK
ratio), and the Vietnamese People's Air Force's R-3s did no better;
it was the poor performance of the Falcon that prompted the USAF to
re-arm its F-4 Phantom IIs with AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow
missiles instead of the Falcons they had been using, though
ultimately the Sparrow fared worst of all --- its pK ratio of 0.05%
was a disaster.
was used extensively by the US Navy during the Vietnam War,
achieving a total of 36 confirmed kills during the conflict (out of
46 Navy kills with all types of Sidewinders used in that war). By
AIM-9Gs launched by the Navy achieved 9 kills, and only
a single Navy kill was confirmed using an AIM-9B. The AIM-9B played
a much more important part in the USAF, however. Out of 34 USAF
kills using Sidewinders in the same conflict, 25 were with AIM-9Bs,
with the remainder going to the more advanced
AIM-9E and AIM-9J.
While this doesn't necessarily suggest the AIM-9B was the most
capable Sidewinder variant used during the Vietnam War, it certainly
does demonstrate how heavily the USAF relied on it.
real irony was that while the Sidewinder had practically become the
universal air-to-air missile of the US military by 1970, it wasn't
even supposed to be in service at all by then. USAF fighters that
couldn't use the Falcon only carried the Sidewinder as a stop-gap
measure until a future USAF-exclusive missile could carry it, and
prior to the Vietnam War, the only weapon ever intended for USAF
F-4s was the Falcon. Similarly, the Navy saw the Sidewinder as an
obsolete weapon for obsolete aircraft, and the F-4 had not yet been
back-fitted to use it; by the end of the decade, the F-4 was the
only contemporary Navy fighter to remain in frontline service, and
the only weapon this aircraft was meant to use was the Sparrow,
while the subsequent (though later canceled) F-111B was to use the
Sparrow and the AIM-54 Phoenix. What changed all of this was the
reality of war. Even the most optimistic assessments of the Sparrow
considered it expensive and sub-optimal for use against fighters, so
Navy F-4s bound for Southeast Asia were back-fitted to use the
"old-fashioned" Sidewinder to give it a few more rounds to fire.
This was due to strong institutional bias in both services toward
close air combat tactics, which prior to the Vietnam War were
regarded as hopelessly obsolete in the face of the new aerial
warfare technologies of the time (this was also the case in the US
military with all prior air wars, going back to the Spanish Civil
War... as well as every air war *since* the Vietnam War).
Sidewinder's success in subsequent combat actions accidentally
turned the Sidewinder into a permanent fixture of the US armed
services, as "pre-Phantom" fighters that couldn't use the "missiles
of the future" in all the US armed services carried a significant
portion of the air-to-air combat. Aircraft that were armed with the
"missiles of the future" performed poorly against MiG-17s that
pre-dated even the Sidewinder. This realization was finalized two
studies into the matter, a USAF document whose contents are still
classified, and a US Navy document titled the "Air-to-Air Missile
System Capability Review" --- though it is better known as the Ault
Report. The contents of these reports finally made short-range
air-to-air missiles a recognized necessity in the US military,
though the USAF and US Navy once again saw the Sidewinder only as a
stop-gap. The new plan was to replace it with a new generation of
short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missile by the mid-1970s,
which would eventually result in the
programs, both of which ultimately ended up being canceled in favor
of yet another generation of the Sidewinder... but again, that's
another story in and of itself.
The AIM-9B is one of the most numerous variants of the
Sidewinder, with over 80 000 (out of some 200 000 Sidewinders of all
types) manufactured in the US and Western Europe. It is unclear how
many AIM-9A missiles were produced, and the aforementioned 80 000
figure may include them as well. However, only 1 000 AIM-9Cs and 1
000 AIM-9Ds were ever produced, making them some of the rarest
The AIM-9C was never launched in anger. The remainder were
eventually converted into the AGM-122 Sidearm, a small
anti-radiation missile introduced into US military service in 1986.
some militaries still use the AIM-9A and AIM-9B, though their days
are clearly numbered. Some of them may end up being re-manufactured
into more advanced missiles (which had been done before, resulting
in the AIM-9G and AIM-9H), but their most likely fate is to be
gradually expended in training or combat, destroyed by demolition,
or simply left in the armories long past the expiration date of
their final service life extensions.
However, the Sidewinder has affected the outcome of military
in a way that few other individual weapons ever have, and this
family of missiles now over 60 years old is expected to live-on for
almost another century in active service around the world, if not
even longer. And it was all thanks to the imagination of a bored
engineer, who worked on a personal side project in his spare time.
Sidewinder 1: The prototype of Sidewinder had a similar
seeker to that used on the production AIM-9A, but it had rectangular
fins and a longer rocket motor that gave it a radically different
appearance. Coincidentally, this shape gave the Sidewinder 1 a
similar appearance to the
Stinger, a much later Raytheon product.
AIM-9A (AAM-N-7 Sidewinder I): First production model for the
US Navy. Employed infrared guidance. It was first successfully fired
in 1953. This missile was approved for production by the US Navy in
1955. It entered service in 1956.
AIM-9B (AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IA): Virtually identical to the
AIM-9A, with indistinguishable performance, but this nonetheless
became the definitive early Sidewinder missile. It was adopted in
1956. The first combat use of this missile was in 1958. Over 80 000
were manufactured, making this the most numerous Sidewinder model.
Designated as the "GAR-8" in USAF service, until the tri-service
designation system was adopted. Since its introduction the AIM-9B
has been steadily improved.
AIM-9C (AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC (SARH)): Longer-range
Sidewinder with a Semi-Active Radar Homing (SAHR) guidance for the
US Navy. It was developed for the US Navy's F-8 Crusader. The AIM-9C
is one of the rarest Sidewinders, only some 1 000 AIM-9Cs were
manufactured, and most were later converted into AGM-122 Sidearms
AIM-9D (AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IC (IR)): Infrared-guided version
of the AIM-9C for the US Navy. As with its predecessor, only about 1
000 were built.
AIM-9E Sidewinder: Improved AIM-9B developed by the USAF.
It was created based on analyses of air combat reports in the
Vietnam War. It can be seen as the second generation of the Raytheon
AIM-9 Sidewinder. It used a HE-FRAG warhead. It entered service in 1967. About 5 000 AIM-9Bs were converted into AIM-9Es.
AIM-9F Sidewinder: Improved AIM-9B developed and produced by BGT in
Germany predominately for sale to NATO air arms. It was the first
Sidewinder variant developed by a foreign country. It is similar to the AIM-9E, but with a different seeker
head. It entered service in 1969. Most European AIM-9Bs were converted to AIM-9F standard.
AIM-9G Sidewinder: New missile based on the overall design of
the AIM-9D, but with an improved seeker head. This product improved AIM-9D variant
was developed for
the US Navy. It was created based on analyses of air combat reports
in the Vietnam War. It entered service with the US Navy in 1970.
Sidewinder: This is basically an AIM-9G with substantial reliability
improvements. The AIM-9H introduced solid state electronics, an
improved warhead, and a thermal battery (which replaced the
turbo-alternator used in the AIM-9D). The AIM-9H was also given an
improved motor, made by Hercules Bermite,
in the form of the Mk.36 Mod 5,6, or 7 (depending on which phase of
production a given AIM-9H was built in). An improved version of the
Mk.48 Continuous Rod is installed in the AIM-9H. This missile has a
virtually identical exterior to that of the AIM-9G. It entered service with the US Navy in 1972.
F.G.W.2: AIM-9B Sidewinder produced under license in the UK.
also referred as the K-13 (Western reporting name AA-2 or Atoll):
Soviet infrared-guided air-to-air missile, based on a
reverse-engineered AIM-9B. Manufactured in vast numbers and exported
by at least 26 nations, the R-3 and its derivatives are still in
service with some air forces to this day.
Diamondback: Nuclear-tipped air-to-air missile based on
Sidewinder technology. Never left the drawing board.
AGM-87 Focus: AIM-9B converted for air-to-ground combat. Though
reportedly successful in combat, no further conversions were made
after the first batch was expended.
AGM-122 Sidearm: Anti-radiation missile based on the AIM-9C.
As with the Focus, it was highly successful in combat, but no
attempt was made to replenish or replace them once they were all
expended. Given that 700 were converted from AIM-9Cs, almost every
remaining missile of that type must have been converted.
RayWinder: Air-to-air anti-radiation missile based on the
Sidewinder. Privately developed by Raytheon with their own funds,
and demonstrated to be effective in actual live fire testing under
simulated combat conditions, the US military nonetheless dismissed
the concept, under the dubious assertion that Soviet aircraft didn't
have radar. This attitude toward the RayWinder remained unchanged,
even after Soviet fighters equipped with radar had become the norm.
MIM-72 Chaparral: Surface-to-air missile based on the AIM-9D. It
is launched from a rotating 4-rail launcher, which may be mounted on
either an M48 vehicle or an M54 trailer. A naval version of that
launcher was developed as well, and is used by the Republic of China
Falcon: The chief rival of the AIM-9 Sidewinder, the USAF's Falcon
predated the former by several years. It was a larger and heavier
missile with generally poorer performance than the Sidewinder, and
it was largely superseded by that missile in USAF service (by the
late 1960s, the only USAF fighters still using the Falcon were those
that couldn't be made to use the Sidewinder, such as the F-106 Delta
Dagger). The Falcon was quickly overrun and trampled on the
short-range air-to-air missile market by the Sidewinder, though it
nonetheless found a few enduring niches that kept it in service into
the early 2000s.
R-5: The first operational Soviet air-to-air missile. It is
also known as the K-5. Western reporting name for this missile is
AA-1 or Alkali. It was a short-range weapon like the Sidewinder, but
it was much larger and heavier, carried a warhead three times as
heavy, had an even shorter range, and employed radio beam-riding
(later semi-active radar) guidance. The R-55 variant replaced the
seeker head with an infrared homing model in 1967, but by the time
of this improvement, the R-5 series was badly outclassed by missiles
like the British Red Top and the AIM-9D Sidewinder.
This British infrared guided air-to-air missile is similar in
function to the Sidewinder, though it entered service several years
earlier. A formidable weapon for its time, the Firestreak was almost
twice as heavy as the AIM-9A, and carried a warhead four times as
Red Top: Another early British "heat-seeking" missile, the
Red Top was developed to replace the Firestreak, but never
completely did so. It is twice as heavy as the Sidewinder, with a
warhead five times as massive.
PL-5: Produced in China, the PL-5 is extremely similar to the
AIM-9G (an improved version of the AIM-9D).
R.550 Magic: A much newer French air-to-air missile
introduced in 1975. The Magic is extremely similar in form and
function to the Sidewinder, though its electronics and performance
are more like that of 1970s variants. It is easily differentiated
from the Sidewinder by its two tandem sets of forward fins.
AAM-1: Another missile very similar to the early Sidewinders,
the AAM-1 was developed and produced in Japan. It was used only by
the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and only 330 were produced.
Shafrir-1: This Israeli air-to-air missile is very similar in
form and function to the AIM-9B Sidewinder, but carries a heavier
warhead on-par with the AIM-9C/D. It was introduced in 1963.
Shafrir-2: A later development of the Shafrir-1, this missile
looks even more like the Sidewinder, and has improved performance
over its predecessor.
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