The AIM-9G is part of the AIM-9 Sidewinder family of short ranged infrared guided air to air missiles designed by the US during the early 1950s. The Golf variant improves on the previous Echo model by heaving more reliable electronics which allows it to sustain 18G loads compared to the 10G of the Echo. The lock on range, speed, and launch range remain the same as with the Echo. However, the Golf model has an increased weight at 88 kg and a reduced explosive mass of only 2.76 kg. As with all Sidewinder variants pre-Lima model they are still rear IR aspect guided.
Vehicles equipped with this weapon
The AIM-9G Sidewinder is a rear aspect IR guided short-ranged air-to-air missile. It functions similarly to previous variants of the AIM-9 but with more reliable avionics which allow it to sustain higher G-loads.
AIM-9G uses a newer continuous rod warhead with an improved proximity fuse, this allows less explosives to be used while increasing all around damage. The missile usually guarantees a one shot kill at most angles due to the continuous rod warhead.
Comparison with analogues
The Soviet R-3S aka K-13 missile and British SRAAM are comparable IR guided short range missiles. Compared to the R-3S, the AIM-9G has better speed, range, and G load capabilities and is an all round superior missile. The SRAAM has superior avionics capabilities to the Sidewinder with better acquisition envelope, higher G load, and is able to better make horizontal shots, but has a shorter engagement range at only 2 km.
Usage in battles
The AIM-9G is primarily a short range air-to-air missile which requires a rear aspect IR signature to lock on to a target. The Golf models have an improved acquisition envelope making target tracking easier and at steeper angles. The missile is also able to sustain higher Gs which increases horizontal engagement hit ratios and target lock. As a short range missile recommend rear engagement distance is around 1-4 km, any shots lower may not give adequate time for the missile to track. With horizontal engagement lock on distance is around 1-2 km depending on the approach angle.
When locking on, ensure that the target track is not a friendly or the sun, as the IR missile cannot differentiate between heat signatures. The most ideal engagement is a rear aspect as the enemy's engine will provide a perfect source of thermal energy for the seeker. The AIM-9G can handle off set horizontal engagements better then previous models due to the higher G load and improved seeker envelope. However you will still have difficulty acquiring the thermal signature of an aircraft unless your are within 1.5-2 km, at this shorter distance the heavier missile may not be able to manoeuvre fast enough or acquire the target.
Pros and cons
- Higher max G-load at 18G
- Improved acquisition envelope
- Heavier missile at 88 kg compared to previous models
- Reduced explosive mass at 2.76 kg
- Same range with little improvements to avionics
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