Characteristics of the Poseidon:
2,500 nautical miles
In todays high-performance aircraft, the trend is
toward versatility by means of rockets; bombs; missiles;
and, in some aircraft, guns. The Navys Research and
Development team is constantly seeking ways to
improve existing airborne weapons while working
simultaneously on new weapons. This section briefly
describes some of the existing airborne weapons.
The Navy uses four air-to-air missiles. These
missiles include the Sparrow, Sidewinder,
Phoenix, and AMRAAM.
Although earlier described as a surface-to-air
missile, the Sparrow missile is also used as an air-to-
air missile. In this role, it provides Navy fighter
aircraft with air superiority in a hostile environment.
The Sidewinder air-to-air missile (fig. 20-6) is a
short-range, dogfight missile used by all Navy
fighters and attack aircraft against hostile
The Sidewinder is one of the oldest, least
expensive, and most successful missiles in the
entire U.S. weapons inventory. The prototype of
this heat-seeking missile was fired more than 30
years ago; since then various versions of it have
been produced for more than 27 nations. The
latest version has a significantly improved
infrared countermeasure capability.
Characteristics of the Sidewinder:
9 feet, 5 inches
Diameter: 5 inches
Wing span: 2 feet, 1 inch
More than 1,900 miles per hour
More than 3.5 nautical miles
The Phoenix missile (fig. 20-7) is an all-
weather air-to-air missile designed to destroy
Figure 20-7.Two AIM-54A Phoenix missiles mounted on the undercarriage of an F-14A Tomcat aircraft.