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US signals AMRAAM sale to Saudi Arabia

5th November 2021 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle pictured on patrol on 30 October 2021. (Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Jerreht Harris)

Potential FMS of AIM-120 AMRAAM would enhance the Saudi arsenal to meet the threat of cross-border missile attacks from Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

The US Department of State has approved a potential FMS to Saudi Arabia of up to 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for an estimated cost of up to $650 million.

The DoD Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the formal notification to Congress on 4 November.

Raytheon was named as the prime contractor on the deal, which still requires approval by Congress. If it gives the green light, Saudi Arabia will also receive 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers; containers; weapon support and support equipment; plus engineering, logistics and training services.

The Department of State claimed the proposed sale will improve Saudi capabilities to meet ‘current and future threats’, in line with the policy of the Biden Administration, by replenishing its arsenal of medium-range missiles for fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, F-15C/D, F-15S and F-I5SA.

A spokesperson for the Department of State said: ‘We've seen an increase in [Iran-backed] cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia over the past year. Saudi AIM-120C missiles, deployed from Saudi aircraft, have been instrumental in intercepting the persistent UAS attacks that have put US forces at risk and threatened the more than 70,000 US citizens in the Kingdom.’

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