The Most Advanced Air-to-Air Missile, Ranked

Choose the air-to-air missile you think is the most advanced!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 13, 2024 06:17
In the world of military technology, air-to-air missiles play a crucial role in defining aerial combat strategies and national security defenses. Their development shapes the tactical capabilities of air forces globally. Currently, there's a broad array of technologies and advancements embodied in these missiles, and understanding their capabilities can be vital. This website hosts a ranking system driven by your votes to list the most advanced air-to-air missiles as perceived by public knowledge and interest. Each vote helps to clarify which technologies stand at the forefront of aerospace military science, making this a continually updated and community-guided resource. Your participation directly impacts the visibility and perceived importance of these sophisticated technologies.

What Is the Most Advanced Air-to-air Missile?

  1. 1

    AIM-120 AMRAAM

    The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) is a modern American beyond-visual-range missile. It is widely used by the US Air Force and Navy and has been exported to many allied nations.
    • Range: 180 km (AIM-120D variant)
    • Speed: Mach 4
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing
  2. 2


    The PL-15 is a long-range air-to-air missile developed by China. It features an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and is noted for its long range and high speed.
    • Range: 200+ km
    • Speed: Mach 4+
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing
  3. 3


    The IRIS-T is a short to medium-range air-to-air missile developed by a consortium of Germany and other NATO countries. It is noted for its agility and accuracy in engaging airborne targets.
    • Range: 25 km
    • Speed: Mach 3
    • Guidance System: Infrared homing
  4. 4


    The Derby is an Israeli beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. It is designed for high-performance, long-range interception of airborne targets.
    • Range: 50 km
    • Speed: Mach 4
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing
  5. 5


    The MICA is a French multi-mission air-to-air missile capable of being launched from beyond visual range as well as within visual range. It can be equipped with either an infrared or radar seeker.
    • Range: 80 km
    • Speed: Mach 4
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing or infrared homing
  6. 6

    MBDA Meteor

    The MBDA Meteor is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) developed by Europe's MBDA. It is renowned for its ramjet propulsion system enabling sustained high speeds and long-range engagement.
    • Range: Over 100 km
    • Speed: Mach 4
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing
  7. 7

    AIM-260 JATM

    The AIM-260 Joint Advanced Tactical Missile (JATM) is a new air-to-air missile developed by the United States to replace the AIM-120 AMRAAM. It is designed to outperform adversaries with enhanced range and speed.
    • Range: Not publicly disclosed
    • Speed: Expected to be greater than Mach 4
    • Guidance System: Not publicly disclosed
  8. 8

    AIM-9X Sidewinder

    The AIM-9X Sidewinder is the latest iteration of the Sidewinder family, offering enhanced infrared homing capabilities. It is designed for short-range engagements and is highly maneuverable.
    • Range: 35.4 km
    • Speed: Mach 2.5
    • Guidance System: Infrared homing
  9. 9


    The R-37M is a long-range air-to-air missile developed by Russia. It is designed to engage high-value targets such as AWACS and tanker aircraft at extended ranges.
    • Range: 300+ km
    • Speed: Mach 6
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing and inertial guidance
  10. 10


    The Astra is an all-weather beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile developed by India. It is designed to engage and destroy highly maneuverable supersonic targets.
    • Range: 110 km
    • Speed: Mach 4.5
    • Guidance System: Active radar homing

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most advanced air-to-air missile. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or missile is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 82 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each missile once every 24 hours. The rank of each missile is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

Additional Information

More about the Most Advanced Air-to-air Missile

Rank #1 for the most advanced air-to-air missile: AIM-120 AMRAAM (Source)
Air-to-air missiles have evolved over the years. They started as simple, unguided rockets. Today, they are complex systems with advanced technology. These missiles play a crucial role in modern air combat.

Early missiles relied on the pilot's skill. They required direct hits to be effective. As technology advanced, guidance systems improved. This made the missiles more accurate and deadly. The development of radar and infrared technology changed the game. Missiles could now track and follow targets on their own.

Modern air-to-air missiles use a combination of radar and infrared sensors. This allows them to lock onto targets from a long distance. They can engage targets beyond visual range. This gives pilots a significant advantage in combat. The missiles can also adjust their flight path in real-time. This makes them harder to evade.

One key feature of these missiles is their speed. They can travel at several times the speed of sound. This reduces the time a target has to react. The missiles also have advanced propulsion systems. These systems allow them to maintain high speeds over long distances.

Another important aspect is the warhead. Modern missiles use high-explosive warheads with proximity fuses. This means they do not need to hit the target directly. They can detonate near the target and still cause damage. This increases the chances of a successful engagement.

Missile guidance systems have also become more sophisticated. They use a combination of inertial navigation and data links. This allows them to receive updates from the launch aircraft. The missile can adjust its course based on this information. This makes it more accurate and effective.

Stealth technology has also influenced missile design. Modern missiles are harder to detect. They have reduced radar cross-sections. This makes it difficult for enemy aircraft to spot them. The missiles can approach their targets without being seen.

Electronic countermeasures are another challenge. Modern missiles are designed to resist these measures. They can filter out false signals and stay locked on their target. This makes them more reliable in combat situations.

The development of these missiles involves extensive testing. Engineers test them in various conditions. This ensures they perform well in different scenarios. The missiles must work in all weather conditions. They must also be effective against a range of targets.

Training is also crucial. Pilots need to understand how to use these missiles. They must know how to lock onto targets and fire the missile. They also need to know how to evade enemy missiles. This requires constant practice and simulation.

In conclusion, modern air-to-air missiles are a result of decades of research and development. They combine speed, accuracy, and advanced technology. These missiles provide a significant advantage in air combat. They are a key component of modern air forces. The evolution of these missiles will continue as technology advances.

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