Are there different lock tones for different types of missiles, e.g. air-to-ground (AGM) or anti-ship (AShM)? If so, what information do the tones give the pilot? Are they a way for the pilot to know which type of missile is selected?

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    $\begingroup$ Your question about weaponry appears off-topic on this site about aviation. $\endgroup$ – mins Oct 3 '16 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ The question is not about weaponry, but about in-cockpit weapons avionics. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Oct 3 '16 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @CGCampbell In cockpit weapon avionics are still off topic because they have to do with the weapons, not with flying the plane (IMHO). $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Oct 5 '16 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ Military Aviation is part of Aviation, and this is absolutely about military aviation. Voting to reopen. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Oct 5 '16 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JayCarr IMHO, I disagree here. Cockpit weapons avionics, and especially the audio component used that is the question here, is wholly and completely about flying the plane and killing the Bad Guys while not crashing yourself. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Oct 5 '16 at 21:03

Lock tones are normally used for (surface/air)-to-air infrared homing missiles. Air-to-surface missiles don't "growl".

The tone is used to indicate missile readiness and quality of lock, not the type. Phantom pilots in Vietnam used to cycle between all available Sidewinders to check which seeker had the best tone then put the worst one to be last in the firing order (source: "Sierra Hotel : flying Air Force fighters in the decade after Vietnam" book, page 12)

At first there was a volt-meter in the cockpit to do that, but during development testing they figured out looking inside the cockpit in a dogfight to check if the missile is ready to fire wasn't a good idea, hence the tone frequency was introduced (source: Fox Two).


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