MANILA — The Department of National Defense (DND) will acquire sufficient stocks of AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air missiles for the country’s 12 FA-50PH “Fighting Eagle” jet aircraft.
This was bared by DND public affairs office chief, Arsenio Andolong, in an interview with PNA Wednesday.
“Notice to Proceed was issued to Diehl Raytheon of Germany last Aug. 31. The (‘Sidewinder’ contract) is worth PHP1,016,734,088.” he added.
Andolong declined to give the specific number and delivery dates of the missiles for security reasons. But he said the “weapons are sufficient for all of the country’s FA-50s.”
Andolong added the AIM-9s to be acquired are “all live rounds and fresh from the factory” meaning all of its sensors, rocket motors and warheads are brand-new.
With the pending delivery of the missiles, the FA-50s will now have another weapon for air-to-air combat aside from its internal 20mm cannon, making it more capable of protecting the country’s airspace against airborne threats.
The AIM-9, which was developed by the US Navy in the 1950s, is one of the world’s most reliable and successful air-to-air missiles.
It utilizes infrared homing for guidance and tracking and has a top speed of Mach 3 or three times the speed of sound. Its warhead weighs around 20 pounds and the missile has a length of 9 feet and 11 inches.