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AIM-54 Phoenix Missile

The AIM-54 Phoenix Long-range air-to-air missile, carried in clusters of up to six missiles on the F-14 Tomcat. The Phoenix missile is the Navy's only long-range air-to-air missile. It is an airborne weapons control system with multiple-target handling capabilities, used to kill multiple air targets with conventional warheads. The weapon system consists of an AIM-54 guided missile, interface system, and a launch aircraft with an AN/AWG-9 weapon control system. The AIM-54 is a radar-guided, air-to-air, long-range missile consisting of a guidance, armament, propulsion, and control section, interconnecting cables, wings and fins. The total weapon system has the capability to launch as many as six AIM-54 missiles simultaneously from the F-14 aircraft against an equal number of targets in all weather and heavy jamming environments.

The AIM-54 Phoenix Missile was developed in the 1970s as the principle long-range, air-to-air, defense armament of the F-14 Aircraft. The AIM-54 Phoenix Missile is a fielded weapon currently in Phase III, the Production, Fielding/Deployment, and Operational Support Phase of the Weapon System Acquisition Process.

The three versions of the AIM-54 Phoenix Missile currently being used are the AIM-54A, AIM-54C, and the AIM-54 ECCM/Sealed. The AIM-54 is a radar-guided, air-to-air, long-range missile consisting of a guidance, armament, propulsion, and control section, interconnecting cables, wings and fins. The AIM-54A was the original version to become operational. The improved Phoenix, the AIM-54C, can better counter projected threats from tactical aircraft and cruise missiles. The AIM-54C (sealed) missile is the most recent version and contains improved electronic counter-countermeasure capabilities and does not require coolant conditioning during captive flight. The AIM-54C and AIM-54C (sealed) contains built-in self test and additional missile on-aircraft test capability. The AIM-54C missile has also been designed for greater reliability, longer serviceable in-service time, and a 15 percent reduction in parts.

Initial Operating Capability was attained in 1974 for the AIM-54A, 1986 for the AIM-54C, and 1988 for the AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed. The AIM-54C and AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed are replacing the AIM-54A. As AIM-54A inventories are depleted they will not be replenished. The AIM-54A Technical Evaluation (TECHEVAL) was completed in November 1973. Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) was completed in November 1974. The AIM-54C TECHEVAL began in May 1982 and was completed in November 1982. The OPEVAL began in March 1983 and was completed in August 1983. AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile TECHEVAL was completed in June 1985, and OPEVAL was completed in July 1988.

The AIM-54 Phoenix Missile, used exclusively on the F-14A/B/D Aircraft, is a radar guided, air-to-air missile consisting of a guidance section, armament section, propulsion section, control section, interconnecting surface cables, wings, and fins. The missile is designed for ejection launch using the LAU-93 or LAU-132 launchers. Semi-active and active homing radar and hydraulically operated fins direct and stabilize the missile on course to the target. Propulsion is provided by a solid propellant rocket motor, and lethality by a high explosive warhead. Performance modifications to the AIM-54A were incorporated during and after production. The Reject Image Device (RID), High Altitude Performance (HAP), and Extended Active Gate (EAG) were incorporated during production. The MK 11 MOD 3 Electronics Assembly (EA) modification was installed by retrofit after production. The AIM-54C and AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile have a Built In Self Test (BIST) feature. BIST may be selected in conjunction with Missile On Aircraft Test (MOAT). The AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile provides two major improvements over the AIM-54C. ECCM provides enhanced electronic protection and sealing the missile eliminates the requirement for aircraft supplied liquid thermal conditioning fluid during captive flight.

  • Guidance Section The AIM-54A RID modification offers improved capabilities against low altitude targets over water. The EAG modification improves capabilities against certain Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) threats. The AIM-54C Guidance Section has a new Solid-State Receiver-Transmitter Unit (SSRTU), Digital Electronics Unit (DEU), and Inertial Sensor Assembly (ISA) as well as a modified guidance section wiring harness. Design improvements reduce inherent oscillator drift, provide range discrimination, and improve reliability. In the AIM-54 ECCM/Sealed Missile the DEU front receiver has been modified and an improved version of the program memory has been added to enhance ECCM capabilities. Heaters have been added, operating temperatures of selected subassemblies have been extended, and circuit temperature compensation has been added for sealed operation. The SSRTU has been modified to improve ECCM performance, selected subassemblies have been improved to increase operating temperature ranges, circuit temperature compensation has been added for sealed operation, and the ISA has been modified to include a heater for sealed operation.

  • Armament Section The AIM-54A's MK 11 MOD 3 EA modification upgrades the Targeting Detecting Device (TDD) to improve warhead lethality against short targets. The AIM-54C has a new TDD, the DSU-28, utilizing the MK 82 MOD 0 warhead. The MK 82 MOD 0 warhead is used with the DSU-28 on AIM-54C All-Up-Round (AUR), serial number 83001 through 83054. A new warhead, WDU-29/B was incorporated in the FY83 production of the AIM-54C AUR starting with serial number 83055. The new warhead offers a 20-25 percent increase in effectiveness. The AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile uses the same armament section as the AIM-54C.

  • Propulsion Section. The AIM-54A, AIM-54C, and AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile use the MK 47 MOD 1 rocket motor assembly.

  • Control Section The AIM-54A's HAP modification improves capabilities against very high and fast targets. The AIM-54C Electronic Servo Control Amplifier (ESCA) replaces the autopilot unit in the AIM-54A control section. In the AIM-54 ECCM/Sealed Missile the Electrical Conversion Unit (ECU) has been completely redesigned for sealed operations. The new design requires no heater for temperature regulation.

    The AIM-54 Phoenix Missile maintenance concept is based on an overall objective to assure All-Up-Rounds are available to fulfill commitments of operational activities and provide the means to restore unserviceable missiles to serviceable condition with minimal downtime. Maintenance requirements are allocated to the organizational, intermediate, and depot levels of maintenance.
  • Specifications

    Primary Function Long-range air-launched air intercept missile
    Contractor Hughes Aircraft Co. and Raytheon Co.
    Unit Cost $477,131
    Power Plant Solid propellant rocket motor built by Hercules
    Length 13 feet (3.9 meters)
    Weight 1000 pounds - AIM-54A
    1040 pounds - AIM-54C [various, 1020-1040 pounds]
    1023 pounds - AIM-54C ECCM/Sealed Missile
    Diameter 15 inches (38.1 cm)
    Wing Span 3 feet (.9 meters)
    Range In excess of 100 nautical miles (115 statute miles, 184 km)
    Speed In excess of 3,000 mph (4,800 kmph)
    Guidance System Semi-active and active radar homing
    Warheads Proximity fuse, high explosive
    Warhead Weight 135 pounds (60.75 kg)
    Date Deployed 1974


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