Warplanes: June 17, 2001


Rafael and Lockheed Martin have modified their Python-4 heat-seeking air-to-air missile so that it can be fired without the expensive helmet-mounted sight. Python-4 can detect targets at "high off-boresight" angles (far to one side of the plane's nose) and the helmet-mounted sight was designed to allow the pilot to spot targets for the missile by turning his head. The new system allows relatively old aircraft to mount a new missile with important new capabilities. The system does not even require a radar on the launching aircraft to spot targets. The missile is linked into the aircraft's existing databus and alerts the pilot when it spots a target.--Stephen V Cole


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