One of the most powerful air to air missile
s ever deployed: made by Hughes Aircraft
for the F-14 Tomcat
, first deployed in 1974. The Phoenix missile has a range of over 100 nautical mile
s, and delivers a sixty-kilogram high explosive warhead
. An F-14 can carry up to six of them.
The Phoenix is radar guided. It was originally designed to target anti-ship cruise missiles such as those used by the Soviet Backfire and Badger bombers, but has found more common use as an anti-aircraft weapon. The newer AIM-54C model, first deployed in 1988, has targeting systems specifically designed for naval aviation targets.
The missile itself is thirteen feet long and fifteen inches in diameter, with a three-foot wingspan. It weighs one thousand pounds and costs about $475,000.
Thanks to dido for additions and corrections.