Germany’s Parliamentary Budget Committee has approved the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) request to purchase Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) under Foreign Military Sales agreement with the US on 17 May 2024.

Currently, the US State Department has yet to process the decision, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency has yet to notify Congress of the possible sale to a European ally and Nato member.

While the number of missiles remains undisclosed, the MoD calculate the total value of the order to be approximately €178m ($193.4m). The agreement on the procurement of additional guided missiles of this type is scheduled for September 2024.

The German Air Force will deploy these missiles, manufactured by the US defence prime Raytheon, an RTX subsidiary, onboard its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft. According to GlobalData intelligence, the Air Force currently have 141 Typhoon aircraft in service.

The number and type of missiles that a Eurofighter deploys depends on the combat missions they are tasked to perform.

  • Air-superiority – six beyond visual range/AMRAAMs on semi-recessed fuselage stations and two ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles on the outer pylons.
  • Air interdiction – four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two cruise missiles and two anti-radar missiles (ARM).
  • Suppression of enemy air defences – four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, six anti-radar missiles.
  • Multirole – three AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, two ARM and two GBU-24 Paveway III/IV.
  • Close air support – four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, 18 Brimstone anti-armour missiles.
  • Maritime attack – four AMRAAM, two ASRAAM, six anti-ship missiles.
German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet from TLG-71 Richthofen in flight in the he Netherlands, 19 April 2018. Credit: Shutterstock/VanderWolf Images.

AMRAAM features

AMRAAM is in service with the US Air Force and Navy, as well as US-allied nations. It has been delivered to more than 36 countries and has completed more than 1.8m captive-carry hours and 2,900 live firings.

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The missile’s layout is divided into guidance, armament, propulsion, and control sections. The missile has beyond-visual-range and home-on-jamming capabilities.

It has a length of 3.6 metres, diameter of 17.7cm, and wingspan of 52.5cm. The launch weight of the missile is 150.7kg. It can carry an 18.1kg high-explosive blast fragmentation warhead to a maximum range of between 20nm to 30nm.

Europe leads the global missile market

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had significant implications for Europe’s missile and missile defense industries. It has led to increased regional security concerns, highlighted the importance of collective defence within Nato, spurred the development of indigenous missile capabilities.

The conflict has also emphasised the importance of interoperability and cooperation among European nations. It has highlighted the need for seamless coordination and joint efforts in defending against ballistic missile threats.

Europe’s foremost missile manufacturer, MBDA Group, which is anticipated to account for the highest revenue of $55.3bn (€50.8bn)over 2023–3 according to GlobalData.

RTX is another major supplier due to its account for earnings worth $30.82bn owing to the procurement of the MIM-104 Patriot missile defence system by Poland, Switzerland, Romania, and Spain, along with the RIM-162 ESSM and several variants of AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles by the UK, Belgium, and Portugal, among others.