After the end of the Cold War, the western world got access to former Soviet air to air missiles, it was noticed that the eastern Wympel R-73/A-11 Archer missiles were much more advanced than there western competitors. That was a surprise for the NATO forces, while it was thought that the Soviet missiles weren’t very advanced and that in the future the missiles would be in class of the AIM-9M/L Sidewinder. It was decided then to develop a new air to air missile to counter the Russian ones.
At first it was planned to replace the Sidewinder with the British AIM-132 ASRAAM, but because of non-stopping disputes about the design of the AIM-132 between Great Britain and Germany, the United States cancelled the plan to buy ASRAAM missiles. Instead of buying the AIM-132, the United States started in 1994 developing a new missile themselves, the AIM-9X Sidewinder.
Like its precursors, the AIM-9X is in the Sidewinder class, but it is a completely new development, only some parts are similar to the precursors. The booster and the Warhead are taken from the AIM-9M. The design is also new, it has less air resistance and it isn’t controlled by the canards anymore, now by the tailfins. In combination with thrust vector control the AIM-9X gains outstanding manoeuvreability.