Italy acquires advanced AIM-9X missiles for its F-35s
Defence Redefined
Published on 07/02/2022 at 19:00

The Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. notified the Navy International Programs Office that the Italian Air Force accepted and signed the Letter of Offer & Acceptance (LOA) provided by the United States Government.

Italian Air Force officials signed the LOA on November 19, and shortly after representatives from the Air-to-Air Missiles Program Office – PMA-259 and the Raytheon Missiles & Defense company presented the AIM-9X Block II/II+ upgraded capabilities to the Italian Air Force Staff and F-35 Lightning II pilots.

The F-35 can carry up to two AIM-9X missiles on its wings and four AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles internally.

This LOA refers to a small quantity of AIM-9X Block II/II+ missiles to complement the Italian F-35 fleet. This procurement will be part of the US Navy’s Lot 23 Production Contract, which will be awarded in 2023 and shall deliver missiles in 2026.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder (where “AIM” stands for “Air Intercept Missile”) is a short-range air-to-air missile that entered service with the US Navy in 1956 and subsequently was adopted by the US Air Force in 1964.

It is worth noting that the AIM-9X missiles feature the 5th generation “Block II+II” technology which adds a ‘Lock-on After Launch’ capability with a data link, so the missile can first be launched and then directed to its target by an aircraft with the proper equipment for 360-degree engagements, such as the F-35s and the F-22s.

Also read: Lockheed wins $10.9B contract to modernise F-22





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