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Library > Fact Sheets > "Sparrow" Air-to-Air Missile


Posted 10/1/2007 Printable Fact Sheet
Raytheon Sparrow
Raytheon AIM-7 "Sparrow" Air-to-Air Missile
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Raytheon AIM-7 "Sparrow" Air-to-Air Missile

Propulsion:   Hercules MK-58 solid-propellant rocket motor
Wingspan:   3 ft 4 in
Length:   12 ft /0 in
Weight:   500 lbs
Speed:   Classified
Range:   About 30 nautical miles
Armament:   Annular blast fragmentation warhead
Cost:   Approximately $125,000

The AIM-7 Sparrow is a radar-guided, supersonic, air-to-air missile with a high-explosive warhead. It is an all-weather, medium-range, all-altitude weapon that can attack enemy aircraft and missiles from any direction. The missile is widely used by U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military forces. The Sparrow has been carried by several Air Force fighter aircraft over the years, including the F-4 Phantom II and the F-15 Eagle.

The Sparrow program originated as Project Hotshot in 1946 and the first operational variant entered service in 1953. However, later experience in Vietnam proved the missile to be virtually worthless against maneuvering targets. Subsequent versions corrected early problems and today's variants are quite accurate and lethal in air-to-air engagements.

The Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB was first assigned maintenance and supply duties for the AIM-7 in 1980. OO-ALC continues to support the weapon system today.

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