Sidewinder - The missile that has rattled enemy pilots since 1958

Discussion in 'Americas' started by A.V., Dec 16, 2010.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Feb 16, 2009
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    Moscow, russia
    May 1956. Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, New Mexico. The preflight briefing took place in the office of the base’s commanding general, but the center of attention was a cocky young Navy pilot named Glenn Tierney. He was dead certain that he was about to win a shoot-off between two weapons competing to become the United States’ first self-guided air-to-air missile. The Air Force was betting on the radar-guided Falcon, built by a vast engineering group at Hughes Aircraft. Representing the Navy, Tierney was betting on the heat-seeking Sidewinder, developed by a small cadre at the Naval Ordnance Test Station in China Lake, California.
    Tierney, the commander of Guided Missile Unit 61, had already demonstrated the lethality of the Sidewinder, blowing up a surface-to-surface Matador missile a few hours earlier. Now, he told his skeptical audience, he planned to fly as a wingman while an Air Force pilot who had never before fired a Sidewinder destroyed a second Matador. When the general scoffed, Tierney told him, “I’ll cover all the bets in the room up to $100.”
    After $85 was collected, Tierney and an Air Force lieutenant took off in a pair of F-100 Super Sabres. At 30,000 feet and Mach 0.8, they lined up two miles behind a Matador already in the air. “You got signal?” he radioed to the other pilot.
    “I got good signal,” said the pilot, referring to the distinctive growl in his headset, which meant that the heat-seeker in the nose of his Sidewinder had locked onto the infrared radiation of the Matador’s exhaust.
    “Well, let her go,” said Tierney.

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