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Missiles Division Completes Sidewinder Upgrade

Missiles Division Completes Sidewinder Upgrade

By Hal McKenzie, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Public Affairs.

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- December 4, 2000 -- (AFPN) -- The Missiles Division of the Space and Special Systems Management Directorate here recently celebrated the completion of a major upgrade of the Air Force's air-to-air AIM-9M-9 Sidewinder missile.

Members of the AIM-9M-9 integrated process team from Robins AFB attended a ceremony at Letterkenny Munitions Center in Chambersburg, Penn., marking the building of the last updated missile.

The Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile used by most U.S. fighter aircraft and the A-10 ground support aircraft. Its guidance system homes in on the engine exhaust of target aircraft, enabling the pilot to launch and leave while the missile guides itself to the target.

"The purpose of the modification is to improve counter counter-measure capability," said Paul Wellborn, deputy chief of the missiles division. "Enemy aircraft throw out flares to confuse the missile and we corrected that problem. It gives the war fighter's missiles a higher probability of a kill."

The modification program delivered 6,600 modified missiles to Air Force field units, according to logistics analyst Paul Bennett, a contractor from Value Systems Engineering working with the Missiles Division.

"All test sets had to be modified, too, to check out the new capability," said logistics manager John Collins, also a contractor from VSE. "They had to be modified before the missiles could be sent to the field."

Bennett said the upgrade and delivery of the missiles to the field involved a "lot of coordination" between Warner Robins, the manufacturer, the armed services and Letterkenny. He said 179 deliveries were made to 84 locations in the United States and around the world, bringing the older missiles back for modifications and sending new missiles out so as not to reduce inventory for the war fighter.

"If any part had broken down in the round-robin flow, it would have set everything behind schedule," Bennett said. "We couldn't wait for a warehouse full of shipments. They need missiles on day one of a war.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).