by: Luciano Satornetti [ ]
Originally published on:
Development of the Sidewinder began in 1950 at the NOTS (Naval Ordnance Test Station) - later renamed as NWC (Naval Weapons Centre) - at China Lake. The first test missiles were fired in 1951, and on 11 September 1953, the first air-to-air hit on a drone was scored. In the same year, the prototype missile received the official designation XAAM-N-7.
General Electric began low-rate production in 1955, and in May 1956, the AAM-N-7 Sidewinder I entered U.S. Navy service. Only 240 Sidewinder I missiles were built, and full-rate production missiles were known as AAM-N-7 Sidewinder IA. Post-1963 the designations where changed to AIM-9A (Sidewinder I) and AIM-9B (Sidewinder IA).
The AIM-9A/B used a 4.5 kg (10 lb) blast-fragmentation warhead. This was triggered by an IR proximity or contact fuse, and had an effective kill radius of about 9 m (30 ft). The uncooled PbS seeker of these early missiles had a 4° angle of view and a tracking rate of 11°/s, and the missile itself could turn at 12G. Propulsion was provided by a Thiokol MK 17 solid-fuel rocket motor (17.8 kN (4000 lb) thrust for 2.2 s), which could propel the missile to a speed of Mach 1.7 above launch speed. Because of the limitations of the seeker, the AIM-9A/B could only be used for tail-on engagements of non-manoeuvring(!) targets at ranges between 900 m (3000 ft) and 4.8 km (2.6 nm). The missile was also very susceptible to other heat sources (sun, ground reflections).
Because of the usual inter-service rivalry, the USAF did not adopt the Sidewinder, until a "fly-off" against the USAF's GAR-2/AIM-4B Falcon in June 1955 showed the superiority of the Sidewinder. The USAF subsequently procured the AIM-9B under the designation GAR-8. More than 80000 AIM-9B missiles were produced until 1962.
On 24 September 1958, the Sidewinder achieved the world's first successful use of air-to-air guided missiles, when Taiwanese F-86Fs shot down Communist Chinese MiG-15s using AIM-9Bs supplied by the U.S. Navy.
(some information from Wikipedia)
This is another of Eduard’s growing ‘Brassin’ range. The kit comes in a clear plastic packet with the photo etch held in a flat section to the top and the resin in a pocket at the bottom with foam backing to give some protection. The parts count comes to thirty six resin and sixteen photo etched, of these parts some are optional and others are spare in case of damage / accidents and is a nice touch.
The resin parts account for four missile bodies with very thinly moulded aft fins attached, twenty forward fins which include four spare, of these eleven had come away from their moulding blocks in transit but none showed signs of damage. Next we have eight clear resin intra-red seeker lens covers again there are four spares, one of which had come away from its moulding block but again no damage done, these lens covers are very small so will need careful handling, last of the resin parts are the optional seeker head covers of which you get four, these are hollow and just slip over the head of the missile. No air holes could be seen on any part, but if you look at the missile bodies you will notice that all four have a slight bend in them like a banana, now this may just be my sample but I have given one the hot water treatment to see if they straighten out and the outcome looks good.
The photo etch consists of six burner covers this includes two spares, a nice touch are two templates for the alignment of the forward fins and lastly we get eight pre-painted ‘Remove before flight’ tags in red with four featuring the writing in white on one side only and the other four with the writing in black on both sides
These consist of one double sided sheet of around A5 in size, on one side are a parts diagram and warning information together with other product information whilst the other side is the instructions proper. There is basically only one step but this could be broken down into three steps.
Now this is the only area where I could find fault as no information is supplied on painting and no markings supplied unlike the later versions this early version did not have quite so many different colour schemes or markings. If you are using this kit as an upgrade over kit supplied Sidewinders then the kit supplied markings can be used, but I think Eduard could have supplied even the basic stencils as I believe most people would be using these on kits that come with no weapons included in their base kit.