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US approves AIM-120C AMRAAM missile sale to Japan

AMRAAM AIM-120C for Japan aircraft flown
Raytheon file photo of an AMRAAM Missile

The US State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale of AIM-120C-7/8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) to Japan.

The missiles, which can be fitted on Japan’s F-15J, F-2, and the F-35 fighters, have an estimated cost of $293 million, including other related items.

In total, Japan requested to buy 150 AMRAAMs and three AIM-120 AMRAAM guidance sections, as well as missile containers and control sections, and weapon support and support equipment.

AMRAAM is a supersonic missile with an active radar in service with 40 countries. It is based on the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and has a range of over 20 miles. It incorporates active radar with an inertial reference unit and micro-computer system, which makes the missile less dependent upon the fire-control system of the aircraft.

“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 US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.

“The proposed sale will improve Japan’s capability to meet current and future threats by defending the Japanese homeland and US personnel stationed there. Japan already has AMRAAMs in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.”

In 2017, Japan obtained approval for the purchase of 56 AIM 120C-7 missiles, followed by 2018 and 2019 approvals for the acquisition of 32 and 160 AMRAAMs, as well as a 2020 approval for 32 missiles.

The US State Department approvals do not indicate that the sales are definitive, and the contract values and quantities are subject to change. Should a purchase be agreed, the principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems.