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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Phoenix was the United States' only long-range air-to-air missile. The weapons system based on Phoenix was the world's first to allow simultaneous guidance of missiles against multiple targets.
Both the missile and the aircraft was used by the United States Navy and are now retired, the AIM-54 Phoenix in 2004 and the F-14 in 2006. They were replaced by shorter-range AIM-120 AMRAAMs, employed on the F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
The weapon is currently used only by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force.
Since 1951, the Navy faced the initial threat from the Tupolev Tu-4K 'Bull' carrying anti-ship missiles. Eventually, during the height of the Cold War, the threat would have actually expanded into regimental-size raids of Tu-16 Badger and Tu-22M Backfire bombers equipped with low-flying, long-range, high-speed, nuclear-armed cruise missiles and considerable Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) of various types.
The Navy sought for a long-range, long-endurance, little-maneuvering interceptor aircraft to defend carrier battle groups against the threat. Example of such was the projected F6D Missileer. The weapon needed for interceptor aircraft, the Bendix AAM-N-10 Eagle, would be an air-to-air missile of the unprecedented range, comparing to contemporary AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. It would work together with Westinghouse AN/APQ-81 radar.