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The AAM-3 missile represents a significant milestone in Japan's post-World War II military advancements, particularly in the realm of air defense. Developed primarily for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), the AAM-3's journey from conception to operational deployment mirrors Japan's strategic shift towards indigenous defense technologies, underpinned by a constitutional commitment to self-defense.

Initiated in the 1980s, the development of the AAM-3 was driven by Japan's need to modernize and enhance its air defense capabilities. This period in Japan's defense history was marked by an increasing move towards developing homegrown military technology, moving away from reliance on foreign equipment. The AAM-3, in this context, was envisioned to surpass the performance of existing air-to-air missiles like the American AIM-9 Sidewinder. The design and testing phase was comprehensive, focusing on ensuring that the missile would be compatible with Japan's mainstay fighter aircraft, such as the F-15J and the Mitsubishi F-2.

The missile's operational deployment began in the early 1990s, positioning it as a pivotal component in Japan's air defense strategy. The AAM-3, however, has a limited combat record, primarily due to Japan's post-war policy of non-aggression. While not tested extensively in actual combat, the missile's presence in Japan's arsenal serves as a significant deterrent and plays a vital role in training and defense exercises.

In terms of features, the AAM-3 is distinguished by its design and capabilities. As a short-range, infrared homing missile, it is characterized by its lightweight build and high manoeuvrability, key attributes for air-to-air engagements. The missile employs an infrared seeker for guidance, adept at locking onto the heat signatures of enemy aircraft, thereby enhancing its accuracy and reliability in intercepting fast-moving targets. Additionally, the AAM-3's design ensures compatibility with various Japanese fighter aircraft, allowing for seamless integration into their weapon systems.

Overall, the AAM-3 missile stands as a symbol of Japan's advanced military technology and its strategic focus on robust air defense. While its direct combat usage remains limited due to Japan's defensive posture, the missile's role in reinforcing the nation's air defense capabilities is undisputed.

In game this translates to one of the best missiles which is very reliable, and almost impossible to dodge in some scenarios. It can simply be described as an AIM-9M with better manoeuvrability, which can only be found on the F-15J.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

General info

Effective damage

The AAM-3 has a 4.9 kg Warhead with a 6 m proximity radius, compared to the 5 m proximity radius of the AIM-9 family of missiles, making it slightly more dangerous. The fuse only activates after 1.5 seconds of flight time, compared to the 1.8 seconds of the AIM-9 family of missiles.

The long fuse timer makes this missile very bad in head-on engagements, as the missile will not have time to activate the fuse before reaching the enemy plane.

Comparison with analogues

This missile can be compared to the AIM-9M. They have an identical seeker shutoff IRCCM, along with comparable booster power and booster duration, giving this missile similar kinetic performance to the AIM-9M.

The AAM-3 however has better manoeuvrability: its fins can turn some additional degrees compared to an AIM-9M's fins. It also has higher gimbal limit, making it possible to lead more, and higher track rate. This makes the missile be able to lead better, and not lose the enemy plane in side aspect shots.

The AAM-3 it has slightly smaller wings, making it slightly worse when gliding over long distances, however this might only be noticeable when the missile is in flight for above 8-10 seconds, for when the missile is at its kinetic range limit.

Usage in battles

The AAM-3 currently is one of the most effective missiles in game. When fired at with this missile, it is often hard to avoid getting hit. Alongside the AIM-9M this missile is most effective against enemies with a low amount of countermeasures, and can mostly not be used effectively against enemies with high flare counts.

When firing at enemies
  • This missile best works on unsuspecting enemies in side and rear aspect, almost guaranteeing a hit.
  • If the enemy is aware of your presence, avoid to fire this missile from front aspect and from directly behind an enemy. It has almost no chance of hitting an enemy who flares in head on, and only has slightly higher chances of hitting from rear aspect. A good player will be able to avoid this missile from both front and rear aspect reliably, but they will have a hard time dodging the AAM-3 if shot from side aspect.
When fired at you
  • When this missile is fired at you, you should instantly start flaring, and making your plane change its vector. The AAM-3 does not see you while you flare due to its seeker IRCCM type. As long as the enemy sees flares, the seeker will be shut off, making the missile effectively a dumb "bomb" for as long as it sees flares.
  • Once you start flaring, if the missile is fired from rear aspect, turn the opposite way you were pulling.
  • If the missile is fired from side aspect, flare as much as you can and try to pull perpendicular to the missile. If it is fired at you from the left, you should flare and pull either up or down. Pulling towards or away from it will not help.
  • The missile is easiest to flare in front aspect. One flare and a slight mouse movement in all 4 directions is generally enough. However if you keep flying straight the missile has high chances to hit you.

The AAM-3 is very potent in Simulation battles as it has a smokeless engine, which is very hard to see without the AB and RB markers.

The AAM-3 missile has very similar performance to the AIM-9M. This means that if you are familiar with the AIM-9M, the AAM-3 will feel very similar and familiar to use.

Pros and cons


  • Long burning motor time allows the AAM-3 to reach longer ranges than most other short range IR missiles
  • Seeker Shutoff IRCCM: Makes the AAM-3 extremely hard to dodge in side aspects and against enemies who do not know how the IRCCM works
  • Highly manoeuvrable non thrust vectoring missile with a 40G overload
  • Very reliable missile, guaranteeing a hit if fired under the right circumstances
  • It has a smokeless motor making the enemy practically invisible in SIM battles and also quite hard to see if you do not see it as it is fired


  • Can be hard to use against enemies who know what they are doing, or enemies who have high flare counts
  • Sometimes might re-acquire friendly players after being fired at enemy players, so caution should be advised when fired


The development and operational history of Japan's AAM-3 missile is a fascinating chapter in the broader narrative of Japan's post-World War II military technology evolution. This air-to-air missile, while not as extensively documented as its Western counterparts, reflects Japan's strategic shift towards self-reliance in defense technology, particularly under the constraints of its post-war defense policy.

Development and Creation

The genesis of the AAM-3 missile in the 1980s was set against a backdrop of Japan's increasing focus on indigenous defense capabilities. This period marked a deliberate pivot from dependence on foreign military technology to fostering a homegrown defense industry. The motivation for developing the AAM-3 was twofold: firstly, to replace or augment older air-to-air missiles like the American AIM-9 Sidewinder, and secondly, to respond to the changing security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region.

The design and testing phase of the AAM-3 was a testament to Japan's meticulous approach to military technology. Engineers aimed to create a missile that boasted superior manoeuvrability, speed, and tracking capabilities compared to its predecessors. The rigorous testing process ensured that the missile would seamlessly integrate with Japan's frontline fighter jets, such as the F-15J and the Mitsubishi F-2. This phase underscored Japan's emphasis on developing a missile that was adept in interception roles, aligning with the nation's strategic air defense needs.

Combat Usage

Upon its deployment in the 1990s, the AAM-3 was primarily positioned for air defense roles within the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The missile was seen as a critical element in bolstering Japan's capabilities in intercepting hostile aircraft and missiles, fitting seamlessly into the country's overarching defense strategy.

However, the combat record of the AAM-3 remains largely uncharted, primarily due to Japan's defensive military stance post-World War II. Japan's engagement in international conflicts has been minimal, and its military policy has heavily leaned towards deterrence rather than aggression. As a result, the AAM-3, like much of Japan's military hardware, has been utilized more as a deterrent tool in defense exercises rather than in active combat situations.

Technological Features

In terms of manoeuvrability and range, the AAM-3 is tailored for short-range engagements. Its agility and responsiveness are critical in close-quarters combat, often encountered in dogfight situations. Furthermore, the missile's compatibility with various aircraft in the JASDF, like the F-15J and the Mitsubishi F-2, highlights its integration into Japan's broader air defense system.

In conclusion, the AAM-3 missile encapsulates Japan's focus on defensive capabilities and technological self-reliance in the realm of military hardware. While its combat use has been limited, the missile's presence in Japan's arsenal serves as a significant component of the nation's air defense strategy, with its technological attributes tailored to enhance Japan's air-to-air interception capabilities.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the weapon;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

AAM  AIM-54A Phoenix · AIM-54C Phoenix · ATAS (AIM-92) · AIM-120A · AIM-120B
Sparrow  AIM-7C · AIM-7D · AIM-7E · AIM-7E-2 · AIM-7F · AIM-7M
Sidewinder  AIM-9B · AIM-9C · AIM-9D · AIM-9E · AIM-9G · AIM-9H · AIM-9J · AIM-9L · AIM-9M · AIM-9P
AGM  AGM-22 · APKWS II (M151) · APKWS II (M282) · BGM-71D TOW-2
Bullpup  AGM-12B Bullpup · AGM-12C Bullpup
Hellfire  AGM-114B Hellfire · AGM-114K Hellfire II
Maverick  AGM-65A · AGM-65B · AGM-65D
TOW  BGM-71 · BGM-71A · BGM-71B · BGM-71C
SAM  FIM-92 Stinger · MIM-72 · MIM146
Naval SAM  RIM-24A
AAM  AIM-9B FGW.2 Sidewinder · Flz Lwf 63/80
AGM  9M14M Malyutka · Flz Lwf LB 82 · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · PARS 3 LR
AShM  AS.34 Kormoran
SAM  Roland
Naval SAM  Strela-2M
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-24R · R-24T · R-27ER(1) · R-27ET(1) · R-27R(1) · R-27T(1) · R-60 · R-60M · R-60MK · R-73(E) · R-77
AGM  9K127 Vikhr · 9M17M Falanga · 9M120 Ataka · 9M120-1 Ataka
  Kh-23M · Kh-25 · Kh-25ML · Kh-29L · Kh-29T · Kh-29TE · Kh-29TD · Kh-66 · S-25L
ATGM  3M7 · 9M14 · 9M113 Konkurs · 9M114 Shturm · 9M123 Khrizantema · 9M133 · 9M133FM3 · 9M133M-2
SAM  95Ya6 · 9M311 · 9M311-1M · 9M331 · 9M37M
Naval SAM  Volna-M
AAM  Fireflash · Firestreak · Red Top · Skyflash · Skyflash SuperTEMP · SRAAM · R-Darter
AGM  AS.12 · ZT-6 Mokopa
AShM  AJ.168
ATGM  BAe Swingfire · MILAN · MILAN 2 · ZT3
SAM  Starstreak
AAM  AAM-3 · AAM-4
AGM  Ki-148 I-Go Model 1B
ATGM  Type 64 MAT · Type 79 Jyu-MAT
SAM  Type 81 SAM-1C · Type 91
AAM  PL-2 · PL-5B · PL-5C · PL-7 · PL-8 · TY-90 · PL-12
AGM  AKD-9 · AKD-10 · HJ-8A · HJ-8C · HJ-8E · HJ-8H
ATGM  302 · HJ-73 · HJ-73E · HJ-9 · QN201DD · QN502CDD
AAM  Aspide-1A
Naval AShM  Nettuno
SAM  Mistral SATCP
AAM  AA-20 Nord · Matra R511 · Matra R530 · Matra R530E · Matra Super 530D · Matra Super 530F · Matra R550 Magic 1 · Matra R550 Magic 2 · Mistral · MICA-EM
AGM  9M14-2 Malyutka-2 · AS-20 Nord · AS-30 Nord · AS-30L Nord · HOT-1 · HOT-2 TOW · HOT-3 · Spike ER
SAM  Roland · VT1
AAM  RB24 · RB24J · RB71 · RB 74 · RB 74(M) · RB 99
AGM  Rb05A · RB 53 Bantam · RB 55B Heli TOW · RB 55C Heli TOW · RB 75
ATGM  Rbs 55 · Rbs 56
SAM  Rbs 70
AAM  Shafrir · Shafrir 2 · Python 3 · Derby
ATGM  Spike-LR2 · Spike-MR
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   AShM = Anti-Ship Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile