AIM-54A Phoenix long range air to air missile mounted on F-14A Tomcat in 1984.
Source: US Navy (Don S. Montgomery) - © Public domain
AIM-54C Phoenix mounted on a F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of the USS Constellation in 2003.
Source: US Navy (PM2C Richard Moore) - © Public domain
AIM-54A: original production model, introduced in 1974.
AIM-54C: variant with improved capabilities, entering service in 1986.
The use of digital electronics in the AIM-54C allows it to engage some of the larger high altitude and sea skimming Soviet anti-ship missiles. These were perceived as a major threat against US carrier battle groups during the Cold War.
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