Belgium closes in on advanced US missiles for fighter jets
The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale of AIM-120C-8 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) to Belgium, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 9 November.
The principal contractor is set to be Raytheon Missile Systems.
If approved, the $380 million contract would allow Belgium to buy 120 missiles incrementally and ten AMRAAM C-8 guidance sections.
Related equipment, such as AIM-120 control sections and containers, AIM-120C captive air training missiles (CATM) and other spare parts, consumables, accessories and training equipment would also be included.
The DSCA noted in a statement that: ‘The proposed sale will improve Belgium’s capability to meet current and future threats by maintaining its F-16 and F-35 fleets in combat-ready status and providing a credible deterrent to regional threats.’
Belgium will have no difficulty absorbing these technologies into its armed forces, the DSCA added.
The AMRAAM is a fire-and-forget air-to-air missile and has replaced the AIM-7 Sparrow as the US military's standard beyond visual range intercept missile.
It is the main all-weather, all-environment radar-guided, air-to-air missile developed jointly by the USAF and USN and has undergone various service life improvements over the past couple of decades.
Belgium was the first European FMS customer for the F-35, and has a programme of record for 34 aircraft. Deliveries have yet to commence.
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