US approves $650m AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles sale to Saudi Arabia
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US approves $650m AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles sale to Saudi Arabia

05 Nov 2021 (Last Updated November 5th, 2021 11:10)

Saudi Arabia has requested for 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 AMRAAMs and 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers.

US approves $650m AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles sale to Saudi Arabia
An AIM-120 AMRAAM missile on display at the US National Air and Space Museum. Credit: Balon Greyjoy / WikiCommons.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) to Saudi Arabia.

Approved by the US State Department, the total estimated cost of the FMS and associated equipment is $650m.

Saudi Arabia has requested 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 AMRAAM missiles and 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers (MRLs).

The sale package will also include containers, weapon support and support equipment, as well as spare and repair parts.

Furthermore, the FMS includes the provision of US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services.

DSCA said in a statement: “This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

According to DSCA, the capability will support Saudi Arabia’s efforts in deterring and defending against existing and future threats, as well as support the nation’s Eurofighter Typhoon, F-I5SA, F-15C/D and F-15S programmes.

It will also enhance interoperability between the two nations.

Raytheon has been selected as the prime contractor for the sale programme.

The new generation all-weather, missile, AIM-120 AMRAAM, is designed for use in a range of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements.

The missile is integrated on combat aircraft such as the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado and Harrier, among others.

In August last year, the US State Department approved a possible FMS of AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs to Japan.