Japan to spend $224 million on advanced air missiles from US
The US has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Japan for AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) for an estimated cost of US$224 million.
Japan recently requested the batch of 120 AMRAAMs and three guidance sections, as well as training missiles, missile containers and related equipment. The deal has followed the purchase of 160 AIM-120C-7 missiles Japan ordered in 2019 under an estimated $317 million contract.
If approved by the US Congress, Raytheon (RTX Corporation) will take principal contractor responsibilities for the order as the manufacturer of the missile.
AMRAAM was jointly developed by the US Air Force and the US Navy as a follow-on to the AIM-7 Sparrow, but it has seen extensive export sales and also has ground-to-air applications. It has been procured by 40 countries outside the US and has been integrated into most F-15 models, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Eurofighter Typhoon, JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado and Harrier fighter jets.
The latest version of AMRAAM is operational on all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants as the only radar-guided, air-to-air missile cleared to fly on the fighter.
The AIM-120B is an upgraded, reprogrammable variant of the original missile, whereas the AIM-120C incorporates smaller control surfaces for internal carriage on F-22 and F-35 and a high-angle off-boresight (HOBS) launch capability. AIM-120D offers improved range, GPS-assisted guidance, updated data links and jam resistance, in addition to greater lethality.
AMRAAM is small, fast and light and is said to have improved capabilities against very-low and high-altitude high-speed targets in an electronic attack (EA) environment as compared to previously fielded radar-guided missiles.
As a fire-and-forget missile, it has replaced the AIM-7 Sparrow as the US military’s standard beyond-visual-range intercept missile. The missile has undergone various service life improvements.
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