The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of AIM-120C-7 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) and associated equipment to the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Under the estimated $452m FMS, South Korea has requested the supply of 260 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, along with containers, missile support and test equipment, provisioning, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, as well as other related elements of programme support.
Besides providing a contingency stock of AMRAAM AIM-120C-7 missiles for installation on KF-16 and F-15K aircraft, the sale will provide the country with a credible defence capability required to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with the US forces.
The potential sale is also expected to augment the capabilities needed to support the planned operational control (OPCON) transfer from US Forces Korea/Combined Forces Command (USFK/CFC) to the ROK's Korea Command (KORCOM) in 2015.
In addition, the sale directly contributes to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the US by meeting the legitimate security and defence needs of South Korea, which continues to serve as an important force for peace, political stability, and economic progress in north-east Asia.
Raytheon Missile Systems will serve as the prime contractor for the FMS programme.
Featuring the same form-and-fit factors as the previous generation semi-active guided Sparrow missile, the AIM-120 AMRAAM is a modern, fire-and-forget beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) capable of conducting all-weather day-and-night operations.
Under development since 1998, AIM-120C-7 is an upgraded variant of the AIM-120C AMRAAM, featuring extended range and enhancements in homing capability.
Having completed successful test flight in 2003, the missile is currently being manufactured for both domestic and foreign military customers.
Image: A USAF technician loading an AIM-120 AMRAAM missile onto an F-16C aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Dancraggs.