Raytheon Missiles Systems Advanced Medium Range Air-to-air Missile (AMRAAM)
Raytheon Missiles Systems Advanced Medium Range Air-to-air Missile (AMRAAM)

US Approves $39 Million AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Missile Sale to Netherlands

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of the Netherlands of sixteen (16) AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $39 million. The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Northern Europe.

The Government of the Netherlands has requested to buy sixteen (16) AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). Also included are containers, weapon systems support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $39 million. The Netherlands, which already maintains AMRAAM missiles, will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Tucson, AZ.

AIM-120 AMRAAM Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile

The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with a 7-inch (180mm) diameter form-and-fit factor, and employing active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance, it has the advantage of being a fire-and-forget weapon when compared to the previous generation Sparrow missiles. When an AMRAAM missile is launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three. The AMRAAM is the world’s most popular beyond-visual-range missile, and more than 14,000 have been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers.

The AIM-120D (AIM-120C-8) is a development of the AIM-120C with a two-way data link, more accurate navigation using a GPS-enhanced IMU, an expanded no-escape envelope, and improved HOBS (high off-boresight) capability. The AIM-120D max speed is Mach 4 and AIM-120D is a joint USAF/USN project, and is currently in the testing phase. The USN was scheduled to field it from 2014, and AIM-120D will be carried by all Pacific carrier groups by 2020, although the 2013 sequestration cuts could push back this later date to 2022. The Royal Australian Air Force requested 450 AIM-120D missiles, which would make it the first foreign operator of the missile. The procurement, approved by the US Government in April 2016, will cost $1.1 billion and will be integrated for use on the F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.