The AIM-9X Sidewinder is a new missile manufactured by Raytheon, its the fastest and most advanced short range air to air missile.
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.