Aerial WarfareMilitary Ordnance

US Approves $158 Million Sale of AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder Missiles to South Korea


US Approves $158 Million Sale of AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder Missiles to South Korea

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The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $158.1 million. The proposed sale will assist the Republic of Korea in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability. The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a treaty ally that continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in North East Asia.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has requested to buy one hundred fifteen (115) AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder missiles; fifty (50) AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); twenty (20) AIM-9X Block II Tactical Missile Guidance Units; and twenty (20) AIM 9X Block II CATM Guidance Units. Also included are containers, weapon system support, software, surface transportation, missile technical assistance, and other technical assistance; and other related elements of program support. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Corporation, Tucson, AZ.

 Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder Missiles
Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Tactical Sidewinder Missiles

The AIM-9X Block II missile completed its first test firing in November 2008. Also known as AIM-9X-2, the missile is an upgraded variant with a lock-on-after-launch feature. AIM-9X Block II has a redesigned fuse and a unidirectional forward-quarter data-link. The datalink enables it to engage upon targets even beyond visual range. The full-rate production of the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile began following the US Navy’s approval in September 2015. The Block II adds Lock-on After Launch capability with a datalink, so the missile can be launched first and then directed to its target afterwards by an aircraft with the proper equipment for 360 degree engagements, such as the F-35 and F-22.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder (for Air Intercept Missile) is a short-range air-to-air missile which entered service with the US Navy in 1956 and subsequently was adopted by the US Air Force in 1964. Since then the Sidewinder has proved to be an enduring international success, and its latest variants are still standard equipment in most western-aligned air forces. The Sidewinder is the most widely used air-to-air missile in the West, with more than 110,000 missiles produced for the U.S. and 27 other nations. The AIM-9 is one of the oldest, least expensive, and most successful air-to-air missiles, with an estimated 270 aircraft kills in its history of use. When firing a Sidewinder, NATO pilots use the brevity code FOX-2.

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