In 1969 the USAF was developing the F-15 Eagle fighter. Planned as the ultimate air superiority aircraft, the F-15 was intended to be as perfect as possible in every respect. Rather than rely on the existing AIM-9 Sidewinder, it was decided to develop an entirely new short-range air-to-air missile to equip the aircraft. The AIM-82 was to be an all-aspect missile, capable of locking onto the target from any angle—Sidewinders of this period could only achieve a target lock if fired from almost directly behind the target where the heat of the engines provided a large infrared signature to the missile's seeker head. Infrared guidance would give the missile a fire-and-forget capability, allowing the firing aircraft to break contact as soon as it was launched.
In 1970 a development contract was awarded to General Dynamics, Hughes Aircraft and Philco-Ford. Proposals were submitted later that year, but in that September the AIM-82 was canceled. The main reason was the existence of the United States Navy AIM-95 Agile program, which was developing a new short-range air-to-air missile for the F-14 Tomcat. Inter-service rivalry aside, there seemed little point in developing two missiles to perform essentially identical roles, so development on the AIM-95 was authorized. Eventually, the AIM-95 was also canceled and the AIM-9 was updated to remain in service—and indeed remains in service to this day.
The AIM-82 was canceled at a stage where the basic design had not been selected; as a result, no specifications exist for the proposed missile.
- Parsch, Andreas (3 October 2002). "AIM-82". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Designation-Systems. Retrieved 2017-11-30.