The US State Department’s recent green light for the sale of AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB-II) to Italy shows a step forward in the nation’s military modernisation efforts.

These acquisitions, valued at $69.3m (€64.4m) and $150m, signify Italy’s commitment to enhancing its defence capabilities while fostering closer ties with its NATO allies.

The AIM-120C-8 missiles, produced by RTX Corporation, Arlington, VA, will equip the Italian Air Force with air-to-air munitions, enhancing its ability to counter contemporary and future aerial threats.

The sale, consisting of 12 additional missiles added to an existing FMS case, brings the total count to 24 AMRAAMs, providing Italy with an arsenal to ensure regional aerial strength. Furthermore, including support equipment, integration, test support, logistics, and programme support elements will facilitate integration and operational readiness of the acquired missiles within Italy’s armed forces.

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Simultaneously, Italy’s naval and air forces are set to receive a boost in precision strike capabilities by acquiring Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB-II). The sale, valued at $150m, includes 173 All-Up-Rounds (AURs) and 14 Captive Carry Reliability Tests (CCRTs).

These advanced munitions, designed to be deployed from F-35 aircraft, will augment Italy’s offensive capabilities, providing accuracy in neutralising targets while minimising collateral damage. Complemented by weapon load crew trainers and practical explosive ordnance disposal trainers, Italy’s armed forces will be well-equipped to utilise and maintain the SDB-II effectively, further enhancing operational proficiency.

With 26.8%, Russia accounts for the largest share of the MMDS market in the European region. The remaining share is anticipated to be held by the other top spenders, namely Germany, Poland, France and Italy, over the forecast period, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Missiles & Missile Defense Systems Market 2023-2033” report. 

From a strategic standpoint, these acquisitions reinforce Italy’s role as a stalwart ally within the NATO framework, contributing to regional stability and security. The modernisation of its military arsenal not only aligns with Italy’s national security objectives but strengthens interoperability with US and NATO forces, fostering collective defence capabilities in the face of evolving geopolitical challenges.