In the first half of a two-part feature, Douglas Barrie and Piotr Butowski review the short-range air-to-air missiles currently in service around the world.
Short-range air-to-air missiles
Seventy years ago, William McLean sketched out the design of a missile seeker based on infrared radiation. It marked the genesis of the most ‘successful’ air-to-air weapon ever designed, the Sidewinder: a missile with variant names that almost span the alphabet and that today remains in widespread service. By the turn of this century more than 200,000 of all versions had been produced.