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Sparrow Missile

Services: Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force

Description: A highly maneuverable air-to-air missile with surface-to-air capability.

Features: The Navy's RIM-7M Sea Sparrow and the Air Force's AIM-7 Sparrow are radar-guided, air-to-air missiles with high explosive warheads. They have a cylindrical body with four wings at mid-body and four tail fins. The Navy uses the Sea Sparrow version aboard ships as a surface-to-air anti-missile defense. The versatile Sparrow has all-weather, all-altitude operational capability and can attack high-performance aircraft and missiles from any direction. It is widely deployed by U.S. and NATO forces. The Sea Sparrow is found aboard many U.S. and NATO surface warships.

Background: Originally developed by Sperry and the U.S. Navy, Sparrow's later versions were developed and produced by Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics. Subsequent versions were dubbed the "dog-fight modification" because its increased maneuverability at short range made it better suited for close-in visual engagements.

Points of Contact:

Public Affairs Office
Naval Air Systems Command (AIR 07D2)
Washington, DC 20361-0701

Marine Corps:
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
Public Affairs Division
Washington, DC 20380-1775
(703) 614-1492

Air Force:
Air Combat Command
Public Affairs Office
90 Oak Street
Langley AFB, VA 23665-2191
(804) 764-5007

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Air-to-air and surface-to-air radar-guided missile
Contractors: Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics
Power Plant: Hercules MK-58 solid-propellant rocket motor
Thrust: Classified
Speed: More than 2,660 mph (4,256 kph)
Range: More than 30 nautical miles (approximately 55 km)
Length: 12 feet (3.64 meters)
Diameter: 8 inches (20.3 cm)
Wingspan: 3 feet 4 inches (one meter)
Warhead: Annular blast fragmentation warhead, 90 pounds (40.5 kg)
Launch Weight: Approximately 500 pounds (225 kg)
Guidance System: Raytheon semi-active on continuous wave or pulsed Doppler radar energy
Date Deployed: 1976
Unit Cost: $165,400
Inventory: Classified
Aircraft Platforms:
Navy: F-14 and F/A-18;
Air Force: F-4, F-15, and F-16;
Marine Corps: F-4 and F/A-18

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