[Photo] F-22 Raptor stealth fighter fires AIM-9 Sidewinder missile

Mar 02 2014 - 12 Comments

You don’t happen to see such photos too often.

Most of the images you can find online showing a F-22 stealth fighter firing a missile either depict a Raptor prototype or the air-to-air missile is an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile).

That’s why the image on top is interesting: shot in 2009, it shows a F-22 Raptor 4007 launching an AIM-9L Sidewinder missile during a test at Edwards AFB, California.

The photo shows also the open side bay door housing the canted trapeze that the F-22 Raptors use to put the AIM-9 Sidewinder seeker into the airstream: indeed, stealth jets rely on weapons bay to carry bombs and missiles and preserve low-observability.

Although the missile in the picture is an AIM-9L, in the future, U.S. Air Force Raptors should be able to carry the AIM-9X Block II which features the Lock On After Launch capability meaning that the bay doors remain open just the time it is needed to eject the missile into the airstream.

The image below shows an F-22 launching an AIM-9M missile.

F-22 missile upper view

Top image credit: Darin Russell via Lockheed Martin; below U.S. Navy.

Interstingly, the second prototype of China’s J-20 Stealth Jet was spotted testing a missile deployment device on the side weapons bay which extracts the selected air-to-air missile and then closes the door to keep the reduced RCS.


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  • big john ok

    “stealth jets rely on weapons bay to carry bombs and missiles and preserve low-observability”
    tell that to the designers and engineers of the F-35.

    • R.Lopaka

      F-35’s canopies restricted rear view? Is that not a BIG problem for a fighter? As compared to f-16?

      • Mark

        F-35 is NOT designed for dogfight. F-35 is classified as a “fighter” because it is designed as a “missile truck” for AMRAAM.

      • Matthew Morgan

        It’s called Eo-DAS, full 360 degree spherical visual coverage of the plane done via five IR cameras built into the skin of the plane. The helmet syncs up with the pilots movements, so when the pilot looks down he doesen’t see the floor of the cockpit, but rather the terrain beneath the plane. So actually, there are no fighters with better visibility than the F-35

  • John Williams

    That is one ugly airplane.

    • phuzz

      I dunno, I quite like it myself.
      Each to their own I guess.

    • R.Lopaka

      SU-25 Frogfoot…..Now that’s FUGLY!!

    • OG_Locc

      LOL. If the F-22 is an ugly airplane, what do you consider a good looking airplane?

    • John Williams

      Oops, I meant to post this on the J-20 post. Got my pages mixed up. You guys probably think I’m crazy now.

  • R.Lopaka

    So the F-35 will NEVER be in a dogfight? Gee, I remember some Gens saying that about the F-4 and removed the GUN? SUU-23 20mm Gun Pod? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXI8bo0lfDo

    • Ed_Stark

      I never said dogfights were over. I said your plane can see the enemy better than any human eye, over multiple spectrums, and the helmet they wear integrates that data. You can see anything, on the ground or in the air, in any direction, even if you are looking straight down or straight into the back of your seat.

      Reading is FUNdaMENTAL.

      My grandfather was a Gunfighter. I was a Gunfighter 40 years later. You couldn’t have picked a worse person to give that lecture to.

  • Imcominforyews

    If I were a MiG fighter puke, I’d be worried. I like the latest MiG version, prancing and dancing in AB just above the runway, WTF, over. R U S M. The only common thread between MiGs are the Russian pilots on Водка.