Country of origin
Missile launch weight
Range of fire
up to 50 km
(Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile), also known in US as the AIM-132,
is a highly maneuverable heat-seeking short-range air-to-air missile
produced by the United Kingdom’s MBDA corporation. It was developed
in order to replace the aging AIM-9 Sidewinder. The ASRAAM entered
service in 1998 and has since been deployed in at least one
Originally the ASRAAM was a joint German, American,
Norwegian, Canadian, and British project. However, with the end of
the Cold War, the US, Norway, and Canada lost interest, and Germany
determined to develop a missile with shorter range and more
This air-to-air missile utilizes infrared homing, more
commonly known as heat seeking. This means that the ASRAAM tracks
its targets by following their infrared signature. It is also known
as heat seeking, because infrared is radiated primarily by heat.
However, unlike many other contemporary missiles, the ASRAAM can
“see” the target, allowing it to distinguish between countermeasures
and its target. Also, the ASRAAM has high resistance to electronic
The ASRAAM’s effective 10 kg high-explosive fragmentation
warhead can be triggered by either a proximity fuse or impact. It is
just as powerful, if not more so, than the famous AIM-9 Sidewinder’s
9.4 kg one.
A powerful 15.24 cm diameter low-signature rocket motor and
minimal drag design propels the ASRAAM to speeds of up to and
possibly even above Mach 3 (3 703 km/h). At this blindingly fast
speed, it can rapidly hit most opposing aircraft.
The ASRAAM’s sequences are 100% compatible with those of the
AIM-9 Sidewinder. Thus, the ASRAAM can be used on any aircraft that
can also operate the AIM-9.
The ASRAAM possess Lock On After Launch (LOAL) ability. This
allows the ASRAAM to be carried internally. Additionally, the target
will probably not be aware that they are being targeted until after
the missile is already in the air, giving the target far less time
to prepare. In addition, the ASRAAM can be fired at targets behind
Other recent air-to-air missiles, such as the AIM-9X
Sidewinder or IRIS-T, are intended to be super-maneuverable
short-range weapons. The ASRAAM still has high maneuverability, but
couples it with a somewhat longer range (50 km, as opposed to the
Sidewinder’s 35 km range), giving it great versatility.
The ASRAAM is incredibly maneuverable. It is capable of turns
of at least 60 G and can accelerate quickly. These characteristics
give it a good chance of taking down fighter aircraft, which are
capable of turns of a maximum of around 12 G.
is in service with the United Kingdom, Australia, and India. It can
be used on the
Panavia Tornado ADV,
F-35 Lightning, and possibly the
AV-8B Harrier II.
So far there are no known variants of this missile.
after dropping out from the ASRAAM program, Germany developed the
IRIS-T, a fast, super-maneuverable, short-range weapon. Since it
entered service in 2005, a number of countries have adopted it. The
IRIS-T is also compatible with all Sidewinder-equipped aircraft.
R-73: known in the West as the AA-11 Archer, this
infrared-guided Russian short-range air-to-air missile entered
service in 1984. It has high maneuverability, a 7.4 kg warhead,
speed of 3 073 km/h, and depending on the variant, a range of 20-40
kilometers. It currently has more than 15 operators and can be used
on a wide variety of Russian fighters, interceptors, ground attack
aircraft, and attack helicopters.
AIM-9X Sidewinder: entering service in 2003, the AIM-9X is
the latest version of the venerable Sidewinder. It features
thrust-vectoring control, improved computing, and a reduced drag
design for better speed, maneuverability, and resistance to
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