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INTERCEPT PROCEDURES TEXTBOOK
C. Warhead
The AIM-7M employs an 85 pound annular blast fragmentation warhead that explodes into
thousands of steel fragments. The hot gases that propel these fragments also serve to ignite all
combustible materials.
D. Rocket Motor
The Sparrow has a Mk-56 boost-sustained, solid propellant rocket motor. The initial boost
lasts for 3.5 seconds and propels the missile to its cruising speed of 2.5 mach over the launch
aircraft's speed. The motor then sustains the thrust for an additional 12.5 seconds to allow the
missile to maintain its speed over a much greater range.
AIM-54 Introduction
The AIM-54 Phoenix is a medium to long range, all-aspect, all weather missile. It has both
semi-active and active radar guidance systems. The Phoenix was designed primarily for long
range battlegroup defense against bomber-sized aircraft, but has also proven effective against
cruise missiles and fighter-sized aircraft.
History
The Phoenix first evolved as the primary weapon for the experimental YF-12 interceptor
aircraft. Developed to counter the growing Soviet bomber threat, it had a look-down/shoot-down
capability with either conventional or nuclear warhead systems. Although the program was a
success, it was cancelled because of the expense involved.
In 1962, the F-111B, along with the accompanying AIM-54 Phoenix missile system, was
designed for all services. The Navy cancelled the program because the aircraft could not pass
carrier suitability tests. The Air Force retained the aircraft, minus the weapons system, for low-
altitude attack missions.
Grumman proposed encasing the AIM-54 and AWG-9 weapons system into a new airframe -
the F-14. This combination of a multi-shot, track-while-scan capable weapons system along
with a fairly good fighter aircraft allowed the F-14 to be the Navy's premier defensive platform
for over 25 years.
Design
The AIM-54 is 13 feet in length, 15 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 1000
pounds. The increased size over the AIM-7 is due to its larger warhead, bigger motor, and
because it has its own radar transmitter. This active radar feature is what allows the Phoenix to
be a launch and leave missile. The AWG-9 weapons system was designed to launch up to 6
Phoenix missiles simultaneously against six different targets. The AIM-54 can be broken down
into four major sections: guidance, fuse, warhead, and rocket motor.
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