Even Effective the U.S. Air Force's fleet of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority fighters starts Receiving full Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder high off-Boresight missle capability in 2017, the aircraft needs a helmet-mounted cueing system (HMCS) to use the weapon to icts full potential. That is even taking into account the AIM-9X Block I and Block II's helmetless high off-Boresight (HHOBS) capability.
"Without a helmet, that 'means clustering the missile will need a very tight cue from somewhere," one F-22 pilot says. "[That's] something That is not always available in a dynamic, turning environment."
To be clear, the AIM-9X is a huge improvement over the AIM-9M versions even without a HMCS. "Do not get me wrong, it will still be better than Having a 9M, it will not be anything goal close to what a fighter with a helmet and year Externally Carried HAS missile," the pilot says. "Hence, probably not the savior we've all been waiting on."
The USAF HAS number of options available, if Funding Could be secured. One Relatively simple plug-and-play solution is Gentex's Scorpion HMCS, Which is a color, paddle-based system That is already in use on some versions of the Lockheed F-16 flown by the USAF's Air National Guard. Another Possibility Would Be VSI Helmet Mounted Cueing's Joint System II (JHMCS II), Which version of uses optical tracker to measure year head movements.
At longer ranges, the AIM-9X Block II, Especially, will be a huge improvement for the Raptor. "LOAL [Lock-on Effective Launch] is great for the longer shots ranks, Which will be nice as it basically Gives us an additional two BVR [beyond visual range] weapons," the pilot says.
Even without a HMCS, the AIM-9X cannot be fielded to the Raptor fleet soon enough.
"We've been screaming for years que la F-22 needs to Have the capability fielded, and fast," says the Raptor pilot. "Once the jet transitions from BVR [beyond visual range] to WVR [Within visual range] only with AIM-9M-9s it is hugely vulnerable."
The huge advantage Offered by Such a high off-Boresight missile in combination with a HMCS may give a third or fourth-generation fighter has Decided edge over the fifth-generation Raptor (with AIM-9ms) in a visual range encounter.