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US State Department Approves Sale of AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Missiles to Swedish Air Force

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US State Department Approves Sale of AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM Missiles to Swedish Air Force

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Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39C Gripen Fighter
Swedish Air Force Saab JAS 39C Gripen Fighter

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Sweden of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $605 million. The Government of Sweden has requested to buy up to two hundred fifty (250) AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); and up to six (6) AMRAAM C-8 Guidance Sections. Also included are spare AIM-120 control sections and containers; AMRAAM Test Set (ATS) telemetry kits; encryption devices; munitions support; classified software delivery and support; spare parts and support equipment. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense, 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 partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. The proposed sale will improve Sweden’s capability to meet and deter current and future threats in the region by ensuring Sweden has modern, capable air-to-air munitions. This sale will further advance the already high level of Swedish Air Force interoperability with U.S. joint forces and other regional and NATO forces. Sweden will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

Saab JAS 39 Gripen armed with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
Saab JAS 39 Gripen armed with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. It uses active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance. It is a fire-and-forget weapon, unlike the previous generation Sparrow missiles which required full guidance from the firing aircraft. When an AMRAAM missile is launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code “Fox Three. As of 2008 more than 14,000 had been produced for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and 33 international customers. The AMRAAM has been used in several engagements, achieving 16 air-to-air kills in conflicts over Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, India, and Syria.

The AIM-120A is no longer in production and shares the enlarged wings and fins with the successor AIM-120B. The AIM-120C has smaller “clipped” aerosurfaces to enable internal carriage on the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor. The AIM-120C-8 (P3I Phase 4, 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 has a max speed of Mach 4 and is a joint U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy project currently in the testing phase. The U.S. Navy was scheduled to field it from 2014, and AIM-120C-8 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-120C-8 missiles, which would make it the first foreign operator of the missile.

Saab JAS 39 Gripen fired with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
Saab JAS 39 Gripen fired AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

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