The guidance and control section consists of the
following three major assemblies:
An infrared seeker assembly, which is used for
detecting the target.
An electronic assembly, which is used for
converting detected target information to
tracking and guidance command signals.
A gas servo assembly (which consists of a gas
generator, manifold, pistons, rocker arms,
electrical solenoids, and thermal battery),
where the electrical guidance commands are
converted to mechanical movement of the
Four BSU-32/B control fins are mounted on the
guidance and control section to provide aerodynamic
lift and course alterations to the missile during free
flight. They are movable surfaces that are electrically
controlled and pneumatically operated by the gas servo
assembly. The missile's umbilical cable is also attached
to the guidance and control section. A shorting cap/dust
cover must be installed on the umbilical connector at all
times when the missile is not electrically connected to
the LAU-7 launcher. The umbilical cable provides the
necessary path for the exchange of electronic signals
between the missile and aircraft before missile launch.
It also provides a connection to the launcher-mounted
cooling gas supply, which prevents the electronic
components of the guidance and control section from
becoming overheated during operation before missile
launch. The umbilical cable is sheared off at missile
The target detector (TD) is a narrow-beam,
active-optical, proximity fuze system. The purpose of
the TD is to detect the presence of an air target within
the burst range of the missile warhead and generate an
electrical firing signal to the S&A device.
The S&A device attaches to the target detector and
is located between the TD section and the warhead
section. The S&A device contains an interrupted firing
train that is aligned by an acceleration-arming device. It
contains the necessary high explosives, switches, and
circuits to initiate detonation of the warhead.
The WDU-17/B warhead (used in the AIM-9L
configuration) is an annular blast fragmentation
warhead that consists of a case assembly, two booster
plates, an initiator, high explosive, and fragmentation
rods. The explosive output from the S&A device is
transferred through the initiator to the booster plates.
explosive-loaded channels of the booster plates to the
booster pellets at each end of the warhead. Detonation
of the booster pellets sets off the high explosive,
causing warhead detonation.
The WDU-9A/B warhead (used in the ATM-9L-1
configuration) is mechanically interchangeable with
the WDU-17/B tactical warhead. The WDU-9A/B
contains a smoke-flash mix with CH-6 booster to
provide visual observation of the missile/target hit.
The Mk 36 Mod 7 rocket motor uses a single-grain
propellant. A nonpropulsive head closure located on the
forward end of the motor tube, blows out if the motor is
accidentally ignited without the warhead installed,
making the motor nonpropulsive (a fire hazard vice a
missile hazard). The Mk 36 Mod 8 rocket motor is
basically identical to the Mod 7 motor except that the
Mod 8 motor is equipped with a safe-arm ignition
assembly. The purpose of this assembly is to prevent
accidental or inadvertent rocket motor ignition. The
safe-arm ignition assembly must be manually rotated to
the armed position before flight. This is accomplished
by the use of a hex-head T-handle.
Four Mk 1 Mod 0 or Mod 1 wings are attached to
the aft end of the motor tube. They provide
aerodynamic lift and stability during flight. Each wing
has a rolleron assembly that provides pitch, yaw, and
roll stabilization during free flight. When the missile is
fired, the rolleron is uncaged by acceleration and is free
to move through its longitudinal axis during flight. The
rolleron wheel is designed so that the passing airstream
causes it to spin at a very high speed, thus acting as a
gyroscope, which helps to stabilize the missile and
reduce roll during flight.
For further information about the AIM-9L/M and
ATM-9L-1 Sidewinder guided missile, you should
refer to the Sidewinder Guided Missile AIM-9L and
Training Missile, NAVAIR 01-AIM9-2 and Airborne
Weapons Assembly Manual NAVAIR 11-140-6.