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?
It is too light, it should be 81 Kg not 76.93 Kg it is in war thunder
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 can’t link everything I want because apparently I’m a “new” user so I only get two links 🙃)