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Sidewinder Overview Part III: AIM-9E

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The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a common missile that can be found on almost any Western jet aircraft from the late 1950's to today. That it is found so regularly on many subjects and the fact that it has been produced in several different variants can lead to some confusion for us modelers. These posts are meant to reduce the confusion and hopefully ensure you get the right missile on the right aircraft. If you're just joining this study, I suggest checking out my previous posts covering the AIM-9B and AIM-9D/G/H.
AIM-9E In the late 1960's, the United States was elbow deep in South East Asia and the US Air Force was struggling in air-to-air combat with the resources they had against North Vietnamese MiGs. The Navy had recognized the need to improve upon the disappointing performance of the AIM-9B and conjured up the AIM-9D. Though the Navy's new missile would prove more successful, the Air Force never made use of it and ventured into their own development program. What came o…

Sidewinder Overview Part II: AIM-9D/G/H

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If you missed Part I, I suggest you check out my last post for information on the AIM-9B.

D to the G to the H... The AIM-9B did not enjoy much success in the skies over Vietnam. Even prior to its poor showing in South East Asia the Navy was already working on a replacement and developed the AIM-9D. Though the Air Force and the Navy had jointly operated the AIM-9B, the Delta would be the first in a series of Sidewinders that would only be compatible with Navy aircraft. 

The external differences between the AIM-9B and D are obvious in comparison. The Delta's new optical system was more compact, allowing it to fit in a ogival nose section and the fins were much larger. It was given a smaller magnesium fluoride dome window and a nitrogen cooling system. The missile was more maneuverable and boasted a higher tracking rate granting it a much better kill probability over its predecessor.  The AIM-9D would enter Navy service in 1965 and would see extensive use in Vietnam accounting for at…