The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 32 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Japan for an estimated cost of $63 million.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 16, 2018.
Also included in the possible sale are containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
The DSCA said in a statement that this proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Japan is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and is a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region. The statement added that it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability.
The proposed sale of these missiles will provide Japan a critical air defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Arizona.
AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM (pronounced “am-ram”), is a modern beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) capable of all-weather day-and-night operations.
Designed with 7-inch diameter instead of 8-inch diameter form-and-fit factors, 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 AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles.
When an AMRAAM missile is being launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code Fox Three.
The AIM-120C-7 development began in 1998 and included improvements in homing and greater range. It was successfully tested in 2003 and is currently being produced for both domestic and foreign customers.