Future F-35’s AIM-132 Block 6 missile has new British-built seeker

LONDON, ($1=0.81 British Pounds) — Successful tests of the advanced short-range air-to-air missile [ASRAAM], also known by its United States designation AIM-132, have been carried out and the missile has thus reached its initial operational capability. This means that this year the British Eurofighter Typhoon fighters will be armed with this missile, and within two years the American F-35 as well.

Future F-35's AIM-132 Block 6 missile has new British-built seeker
Photo: MBDA UK

The characteristic of Block 6 is the lack of American components in the structure of the missile. This means that in the future the UK will not ask the US for permission to export. In this way, all the requirements of the Traffic in Arms Regulations [ITAR] will be met. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that some time ago the US government did not allow Britain to export the missile to Saudi Arabia precisely because of the restrictions on ITAR.

However, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II will receive the missile as part of the weapons package of future fighters. Based on the fact that there are no American components, AIM-132 Block 6 will have a completely new British-build seeker, which is said to have more pixels than its American competitor.

Block 6 has upgraded subsystems and new built-in cooling, say UK sources.


Future F-35's AIM-132 Block 6 missile has new British-built seeker
Photo: MOD UK

AIM-132 is currently in service in only two countries: Britain and India. Inquiries about the purchase of these weapons have been made by Qatar and Oman. Australia was previously armed with AIM-132 mainly on its F / A-18A / B Hornet aircraft. Currently, all Australian fighter jets are tied to the AIM-9X.

The missile is manufactured by MBDA UK. The standard configuration includes the following data: mass 88 kg, diameter 166 mm [6.5 in], warhead 10 kg [22 lb] blast / fragmentation. The rocket is powered by a dual-burn, high-impulse solid rocket motor. The operational range is 25+ km. AIM-132 flies at a speed of Mach 3.

The missile guidance system is built of infrared homing, 128 × 128 elements focal plane array, with lock-on after launch [LOAL] and strap-down inertial guidance.


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