An investigation blamed moisture for the cracking in the radomes of some US-made AIM-120s, but French and Taiwan-made missiles do not seem to be affected
An investigation has concluded that cracking occurring in the radome on some of the US-made AIM-120C air-to-air missiles carried by Taiwan’s F-16s was caused by long-term exposure to humidity and stress, the Air Force General Headquarters said yesterday.
The air force made the comments after local media reported earlier the same day that the problem with the missile — the most advanced in the Taiwanese air force — had been observed for three consecutive years.
The air force currently has 120 AIM-120C-5 and 218 AIM-120C-7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) in its inventory. The “fire-and-forget” missiles are used on its 146 F-16 aircraft. The first order of AIM-120s was delivered to the air force in 2004.
Radomes, one of the eight main sections of a missile, are a pyroceramic cone at the nose that serve as a window for radar or heat-seeking electromagnetic devices inside the missile.
In a statement, the air force said it had followed US suggestions to improve rotation cycles and store the missiles in conditions that would reduce the impact of moisture on the radomes.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.