The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of thirty-two (32) AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) with support for an estimated cost of $63 million. The Government of Japan has requested to buy thirty-two (32) AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM and one (1) AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM guidance section spare. Also included are containers, support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The prime contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. The proposed sale of missiles will provide Japan a critical air defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there. It is vital to U.S. national interest to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability. Japan already has AMRAAM in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing the additional missiles into its armed forces.
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM ( NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three), 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. The AMRAAM is the world’s most popular beyond-visual-range missile; more than 14,000 have been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers.
The AIM-120D (P3I Phase 4, formerly known as 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.