A way too long essay about AIM-9Ps

Lots of boring words

First a quick AIM-9P variant tutorial to make things easier:

  • P: old fuze and rocket motor (MK 17)

  • P-1: new fuze, old rocket motor

  • P-2: old fuze, new rocket motor (SR-116)

  • P-3: new fuze and rocket motor (in game version according to WT wiki)

  • P-4: new fuze and rocket motor, all aspect seeker

  • P-5: new fuze and rocket motor, all aspect seeker with IRCCM

I’m making this forum post until I get my hands on the documents I need to make a proper bug report (I’ll get them in at most a month) just to share a few interesting things I found out about the AIM-9P-3 (the version of the AIM-9P in game). I’m not 100% sure about this because one of my current sources of information is a PDF made by Araboga Robotmuseum about the Swedish RB24J (Swedish designation of AIM-9P-3) and since Sweden has a history of modifying their air-to-air missiles (as with the AIM-4 and AIM-26) I think it is possible the RB24J is some Swedish concoction and not just an AIM-9P-3, additionally since only this one (secondary) source provides some of the crucial information I can’t be certain about the information’s accuracy.

The thing that sent me down the rabbit hole that led to me writing this was that I noticed in an article I was reading (The Sidewinder story, it’s an interesting read, I recommend it) that it gave a different rocket motor and mass (important, I was already aware that P-2 and later models had a new smokeless rocket) for the AIM-9P-4/5 (SR-116) than for the J (MK 17) (for the record in war thunder E, J and P all have the same rocket motor). This aroused my suspicion because if a rocket motor change increased the mass it’s probably a more powerful one but I wasn’t sure because the P-4&5 have a different seeker so that also could explain the weight difference. After some searching I found a list with all AIM-9P variants with their fuze, rocket motor and mass, this confirmed my suspicion because the mass only changed between different AIM-9Ps if the rocket motor changed (even in case of the all aspect variants which have a different seeker).
So now I was certain that the SR-116 is more than just a smokeless MK 17 but I was still missing performance figures and it was still possible that SR-116 offers no performance improvement over the old MK 17. This is when it occurred to me to check Arboga’s website because I remembered finding interesting things about the falcons there last year and I was not disappointed, on the website I found a PDF with good amount of information about the 9P-3 (RB24J), it’s in Swedish but with the help of google translate, deepL and a Swedish guy I know I got what I needed.

The interesting part

So then what is wrong with the AIM-9P in war thunder?

  1. It is too light, it should be 81 Kg not 76.93 Kg it is in war thunder

  2. It should have 17000 N thrust for 3.5 seconds, this is slightly less thrust than the 9P has in war thunder (18100 N) but it lasts 1.3 seconds longer.

I made a simple estimate of the ΔV of the 9P-3 (for this I assumed at burnout the 9P-3 is the same weight as the 9J at burnout as I have no information about the 9P-3’s weight at burnout, this will give an estimate of the upper limit of it’s ΔV) which should be 864 m/s, for comparison the 9L’s is 819 m/s and the python 3’s is 876 m/s, this means it would be on of the fastest and longest range short range IR missiles in game. (FYI the current in game 9P, E and J have a ΔV of 594 m/s.)

(ΔV is how fast the missile would be going at the rocket motor’s burnout if there was no air resistance)

So in conclusion it seems likely that the in game AIM-9P behaves like the IRL vanilla AIM-9P or 9P-1 (those have the same rocket motor as the J) and not like the IRL AIM-9P-3 it is supposed to be (unless the information I found is completely wrong)

Considering my sources are not the best (for now) I welcome anyone who has more information and is willing to share, I will update this post and make a bug report once I get my hands on some fine primary sources.

I got the stats for missiles’ in game performance from this google sheet, and I would like to thank it’s authors for creating it, Koppany99 (sorry I don’t know his forum name) and @gszabi99_HUN.

(I can’t link everything I want because apparently I’m a “new” user so I only get two links 🙃)


you can post the links in the replies and i think the main answer will get them as footnotes. good job btw.

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Thanks, I would prefer the links be in the post but I guess this will have to do.

WT wiki page of the AIM-9P

Arboga Robotmuseum

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And one more

The PDF about the RB24J/AIM-9P-3.

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i love reading about these things from non wiki websites it brings a whole different perspective to the subject in question

Then you could check out designation systems, cool website.

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this feels illegal tho ngl lol

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It’s not, that website only uses declassified information as far as I know.

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It’s not the AIM-9P’s but it does show that the SR116 makes the missile heavier. It also shows other technical orders for the description of the SR116 (the same document apparently but it’s not there? Lol) and AIM-9E & J/N/P’s but couldn’t find any of them.


Don’t know what the original source is but it shows the sidewinder variants in more detail.

More details about sidewinders P. 255

AIM-9P4-5 more than likely use SR116-AJ-2

I think one way to tell if a missile has MK17 or SR116 motor is by the arming key.

AIM-9P4 with arming key

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i find myself interested in this… may you have more info?

I don’t much about that one except it uses the AIM-9L seeker head instead of the regular 9P or 9P4-5 head.

and what aircraft were these used on?
Phantoms i presume?

I’m not sure on this one either. Only picture I’ve found was it mounted on a Spanish F-18. I think it was only used by Spain and Germany.

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Germany never used the AIM-9JULI, they developed it for export to Spain.

ah ok

Mcdonnell F-4 Phantom-Spirit In The Skies

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Nice, thanks!


“Increased Maneuver Capability”

It seems P-3 and up have improved maneuverability than earlier models. I guess it is due to the new motor(SR116).

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I’m hoping gaijin makes the J, N, and Ps more distinct in the future.

Hmm, interesting, we will know for sure soon enough.