Australia requests AIM 9X-2 Sidewinder missiles sale from US
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of AIM 9X-2 Sidewinder missiles and associated equipment to Australia.
Under the estimated $534m sale, Australia has requested the supply of up to 350 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder tactical missiles, along with 35 AIM-9X special air training missiles (NATMs), 95 AIM-9X-2 captive air training missiles (CATMs), 22 AIM-9X-2 tactical guidance units, 19 CATM-9X-2 guidance units, and DATM-9X dummy training missiles.
Approved by the US State Department, the sale also covers containers, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of logistics and programme support.
Expected to be mounted onboard the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) RAAF's F/A-18 aircraft and eventually F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft, the missiles would enhance the air force's air-to-air capability to defend its extensive coastlines against future threats.
In addition to this, the equipment will boost RAAF's ability to operate with coalition forces in bilateral and multilateral exercises and potential air defence operations.
As Australia is an important ally to the US in the Western Pacific, the deal significantly contributes to ensuring peace and stability in the region.
Raytheon Missile Systems has been named as prime contractor for the FMS programme.
Also known as the AIM-9X Block II, AIM 9X-2 Sidewinder is an upgraded version of Raytheon's AIM-9X Block I Sidewinder infrared-guided, missile, featuring a lock-on-after-launch capability, redesigned fuse and a one-way forward-quarter datalink capability that enhances ground handling and in-flight safety.
The missile, which also features updated electronics that enable significant enhancements, is scheduled to enter service with the US Air Force and Navy this year.
Image: AIM 9X-2 Sidewinder is an upgraded version of AIM-9X Block I Sidewinder missile,seen here attached to inboard wing pylon of a USAF F-15C Eagle aircraft. Photo: courtesy of USAF TSgt. Michael Ammons.