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Japan targets advanced air-to-air missile acquisition

Japan targets advanced air-to-air missile acquisition

Japan’s proposed purchase of a tranche of Raytheon-built, medium-range missiles has been approved by the US State Department.

Japan’s proposed purchase of a tranche of Raytheon-built, medium-range missiles has been approved by the US State Department.

The Japanese government has secured approval for its request to purchase 150 AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); and three AIM-120 AMRAAM Guidance Sections from the United States via a foreign military sale.

The deal, valued at approximately $293 million (AU$421.5 million), includes the provision of:

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  • AIM-120 missile containers and control sections;
  • weapon support and support equipment;
  • classified software delivery and support;
  • spare and repair parts; and
  • technical support and training.

“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 Defense Security Cooperation Agency noted 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.”

The Raytheon-built missiles are billed as sophisticated, air dominance weapons, leveraging a combination of inertial guidance, midcourse updates, and an onboard active radar to identify a target and complete the intercept.

The weapons system is deployed by a total of 40 countries and has been integrated into the F-15A/B/C/D/E Eagle/Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Eurofighter Typhoon, JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado and Harrier.

The air-to-air missile is also used by the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

The latest version of the missile has been modified for deployment from F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The approval of Japan’s proposed acquisition follows the US State Department’s approval of a US$235 million ($340 million) purchase request from the Commonwealth government for 80 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles - Extended Range (JASSM ER) weapons systems and related equipment.

The missiles — to be delivered by prime contractor Lockheed Martin — are expected to provide the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with advanced, long-range strike systems capability.

The JASSM weapons systems can be deployed from Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.

[Related: Australia secures approval for air-to-surface missile order ]

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