J C Menon
The Netherlands will buy 16 Raytheon-made AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$39m. The US State Department has made a determination approving the possible Foreign Military Sale, which also includes a request to buy containers, weapon systems support, spare and repair parts in addition to other related elements of logistics and programme support. The proposed sale will improve the Netherlands’ capability to meet current and future threats by deterring regional adversaries, strengthen its homeland defence, and enable interoperability and standardisation between the armed forces of the Netherlands and the United States.
“The Netherlands, which already maintains AMRAAM missiles, will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces,” a State Department spokesman informs.
The AMRAAM missile system offers operational flexibility in air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface-launch role, it is the baseline weapon on the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) launcher.
“In the air-to-air role, the weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in the most challenging environments,” according to Raytheon Missiles and Defence.
Procured by 37 countries including the US, the AMRAAM missile has been integrated onto the F-15 STRIKE EAGLE, F-16 FIGHTING FALCON, F/A-18 SUPER HORNET, F-22 RAPTOR, Eurofighter TYPHOON, JAS-39 GRIPEN, TORNADO and HARRIER. The newest version is operational on all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants, a trait Raytheon claims is unique.