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US State Department Approves Sale of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Missiles to Romania

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US State Department Approves Sale of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Missiles to Romania

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AIM-9X Block II advanced short-range air-air missile
AIM-9X Block II advanced short-range air-air missile

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Romania of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $340.8 million. The Government of Romania has requested to buy up to three hundred (300) AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles; forty (40) AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missile Guidance Units; forty (40) AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); and twenty (20) AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II CATM Guidance Units. Also included are missile containers; personnel training and training equipment; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally that is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe. The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing air-to-air missiles for its F-16 fleet in support of NATO’s defense mission. Romania will have no difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractor will be RTX Corporation, located in Tucson, AZ. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies near China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center during a successful AIM-9X Block II Short-range air-to-air missile test.
Falcon flies near China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center during a successful AIM-9X Block II short-range air-to-air missile test. (Photo by U.S. Air Force)

The AIM-9 Sidewinder (“AIM” for “Air Intercept Missile”) is a short-range air-to-air missile. Entering service with the United States Navy in 1956 and the Air Force in 1964, the AIM-9 is one of the oldest, cheapest, and most successful air-to-air missiles. Its latest variants remain 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, of which perhaps one percent have been used in combat. It has been built under license by Sweden and other nations. The AIM-9 has an estimated 270 aircraft kills.

The AIM-9X Sidewinder is the latest of the Sidewinder family of short-range air-to-air missiles. Unlike previous AIM-9 models, the AIM-9X can even be used against targets on the ground. The AIM-9X Block II is the most advanced short-range air-air missile in the U.S. inventory, capable of using its datalink, thrust vectoring maneuverability, and advanced imaging infrared seeker to hit targets behind the launching fighter. The missile provides fighter aircrew with the first shot, first kill opportunities that are essential for survival during air combat maneuvering in the visual arena. The AIM-9X delivers these opportunities with unmatched offensive and defensive capabilities against threats as well as supports air superiority in the Beyond Visual Range air-to-air battle.

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