Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet Multirole Fighter
Spanish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet Multirole Fighter

US Approves $248 Million Sale of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Spain

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Spain of one hundred (100) AIM-120C-7/8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and one (1) AMRAAM Guidance Section (spare) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $248.5 million. The Government of Spain has requested to buy one hundred (100) AIM-120C-7/8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and one (1) AMRAAM Guidance Section (spare). Also included are KGV-135A encryption devices; containers; weapon support and support equipment; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally which is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Spain in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.This proposed sale will improve Spain’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of AMRAAMs for its fighter aircraft fleets in support of national defense. The potential sale will further strengthen the interoperability between the United States and Spain. The prime contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Tucson, AZ.

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The AIM-120C-8 (also know as AIM-120D) 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 range of the AIM-120D is classified, but is thought to extend to about 100 miles (160 km).

The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM (pronounced AM-ram), 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; more than 14,000 have been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers.

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