moo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4861 posts, RR: 4 Posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8971 times:
The AIM-120 can be carried and fired in a fair few ways, ranging from rails, from a aircraft body station such as on the F-18, from attachment points on the F-15, direct from a pylon on the Sea Harrier (when carried under the body), or from internal bays on the F-22 and F-35.
The majority of these methods do not require rails - but do the other methods incur a performance penalty in not using rails?
spudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 314 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8890 times:
I'd assume its down to the pylons being universal carriers requiring the rails as interface for the AIM-120. Most of the other methods such as conformal and internal are dedicated to the AIM-120 (or Sparrow before it)
BigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7981 times:
Rails are generally attached to pylons. A pylon can often carry two (or more) rails. Rails are essentially the adapters off of which you can fire AAM's. I don't know enough about the Sea Harrier to speak on it but I would guess that attached to each attachment point (pylon or body) was some sort of rail or ejector devices (AMRAAM can be launched either way).