Transcript (by Youtube)

5s Air-to-air guided missiles are an essential part of the modern aviation arsenal,
10s and there’s one type of them that’s especially worth discussing in detail.
14s Today, we’ll talk about the best infrared-guided air-to-air missiles.
21s Opening the list is the American AIM-9L,
24s the first all-aspect missile in the Sidewinder family.
28s The missile’s seeker head featured an indium antimonide detector
32s that would detect the longer wavelengths associated with any warm aircraft parts
37s and not just jet engines and their exhaust plumes,
40s which granted it its all-aspect capability.
43s This missile is perfect for close-range aerial combat,
46s even against highly maneuverable targets.
49s Additionally, its maximum overload is 30G, making tight turns a breeze.
57s The Israeli Python 3 and the Chinese PL-8 can withstand slightly higher overloads,
63s up to 40Gs.
65s Moreover, they are significantly faster than the Sidewinder,
68s with both missiles having a max speed of Mach 3.5.
71s Most often, the enemy won’t even have time to react to the launch.
76s The bad news is that if the target does notice the launch,
79s these missiles can be easily diverted by flares.
85s However, the Soviet R-27ET cannot be fooled by just a couple of IR decoys.
92s Thanks to its narrow field of view, from certain angles,
95s it can maintain lock on the target without being distracted by flares.
99s Of course, it’s still most effective in a rear-aspect engagement,
103s as the thermal signature of the engine is simply more visible from that angle.
107s Nevertheless, even in a head-on launch, the missile is still quite difficult to evade.
112s It’s worth noting that this is the only medium-range missile on our list:
116s it’s capable of hitting targets up to five kilometers away.
119s However, it features a larger solid fuel rocket motor,
122s which significantly affects the size and weight of the R-27ET,
127s limiting the number of these missiles that you can carry in combat.
134s The AIM-9M, an improved version of the Sidewinder, does not have this problem.
139s It’s significantly lighter, and many aircraft can carry up to six of them.
144s The missile also features improved infrared counter-countermeasures
148s and a new low-smoke motor that reduces the visual signature of the weapon,
152s making it extremely difficult to spot in combat.
156s This forces enemies to be on the constant lookout for a potential launch.
160s The only downside is that its max speed remains the same as its predecessor:
164s just Mach 2.5.
171s The Japanese AAM-3, developed by Mitsubishi to replace missiles of the AIM-9 family,
177s boasts excellent performance.
179s Thanks to various improvements, including a new shape,
183s it’s a highly maneuverable missile with a 40G overload.
189s The Soviet R-73 is the best short-range missile available to Soviet aircraft
194s and one of the best in general.
196s While it doesn’t excel in speed,
198s it’s highly praised for its thrust vectoring capability,
201s making the R-73 an ideal choice against highly maneuverable targets.
206s It’s also worth mentioning that almost all aircraft compatible with the R-73
211s are also equipped with helmet-mounted displays.
217s Finally, the French Matra Magic 2 does not excel at anything,
222s but performs consistently well all across the board.
225s It has robust counter-countermeasure features,
228s excellent maneuverability with a max overload of 35Gs,
232s and a speed of up to Mach 3, which means that no opponent can escape unscathed.
237s However, timing of the launch is crucial,
240s as despite its counter-countermeasure capabilities,
243s the missile can still be thrown off by well-timed flares.
250s Every single one of the missiles that we’ve just mentioned
252s has its own strengths and flaws, but all of them are undoubtedly effective.
257s Which one is your favorite?
258s Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments down below!