AIM-97 Seekbat

The AIM-97 Seekbat or XAIM-97A Seek Bat was a long-range air-to-air missile developed by the United States. It was intended to counter the perceived capabilities of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 and proposed to arm both the F-15 Eagle and F-4 Phantom,[1] the missile ultimately never entered service.

AIM-97 Seekbat
TypeAir-to-air missile
Place of originUnited States
Production history
ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics
Specifications
Mass1,300 pounds (590 kg)
Length15 feet (4.6 m)
Diameter13.5 inches (340 mm)
WarheadBlast-fragmentation

EngineAerojet MK 27 dual-thrust solid-fuel rocket
Wingspan42.5 inches (1,080 mm)
Operational
range
56 miles (90 km)
Flight ceiling80,000 feet (24,000 m)
Speed>Mach 3
Guidance
system
Semi-active radar homing (SARH) with terminal infrared homing
Launch
platform
Aircraft

Overview

In the early to mid-1970s the United States was highly concerned by the perceived capabilities of the MiG-25, an aircraft which was known to be capable of speeds in excess of Mach 3 and which carried long-range air-to-air missiles.[2] It was widely claimed that the Foxbat was a new generation "super-fighter", capable of comfortably outclassing any US or allied aircraft. The US initiated the F-15 Eagle program largely in response to this threat. To equip the F-15 the Air Force initiated development of the AIM-82 short-range missile and the AIM-97 Seekbat. The former was a dogfighting missile intended as a replacement for the AIM-9 Sidewinder, the latter was to be a new high-altitude long-range missile designed specifically to shoot down the MiG-25 - hence the name Seekbat, the bat referring to the MiG-25's "Foxbat" NATO reporting name.[3]

The Seekbat was based on the AGM-78 Standard ARM. It had a larger propulsion unit and used semi-active radar homing with an infrared seeker for terminal guidance of the missile.[3] The operational ceiling was 80,000 ft (24,000 m).[2]

Test firings began in late 1972,[lower-alpha 1] but the Seekbat program did not make a great deal of progress and was cancelled in 1976.[2] By this time new knowledge of the MiG-25s capabilities and role led to the cancellation of the program because the missile's cost did not justify its procurement.

See also

References

Notes
  1. Hewish in his March 1974 article states that the missile had been "...undergoing flight-test for more than a year."[3]
Bibliography
  • Hewish, Mark (1974-03-14). "World Missile Yearbook". Flight International. IPC Transport Press Ltd. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  • Hewish, Mark (1975-05-08). "World Missile Survey". Flight International. IPC Transport Press Ltd. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  • Hewish, Mark (1976-05-29). "World Missiles". Flight International. IPC Transport Press Ltd. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2002). "General Dynamics AIM-97 Seekbat". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  • Thornborough, Anthony M.; Davies, Peter E. (1994). The Phantom Story. Arms & Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-121-2.
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