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J C Menon

Japan will buy another lot of 32 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), with support, for an estimated cost of US$63m, with Raytheon Missile Systems acting as the prime contractor. The State Department has made a determination approving the possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

“The proposed sale of missiles will provide Japan a critical air defence capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there,” says a State Department official.

Japan already has the AMRAAM in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing the additional missiles into its armed forces. According to Raytheon, the AMRAAM is one of the most sophisticated, combat-proven, air dominance weapons. With more than 30 years of design, upgrades, testing and production, the AMRAAM missile continues to meet warfighter requirements in all weather and beyond visual range. Its capabilities have been fully demonstrated in over 4,800 test shots and more than 10 air-to-air combat victories.

It uses a combination of inertial guidance, midcourse updates and an on-board active radar to find the intended target and complete the intercept. Because of continual development and ongoing modernisation, it remains the gold standard for the air dominance arena.


Procured by 40 countries including the U.S., the AMRAAM has been integrated onto the F-15A/B/C/D/E EAGLE/STRIKE EAGLE, F-16 FIGHTING FALCON, F/A-18E/F SUPER HORNET, F-22 RAPTOR, EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON, JAS-39 GRIPEN, TORNADO and HARRIER. It is also the baseline weapon on the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS). The newest version of AMRAAM is operational on all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants, the only radar-guided, air-to-air missile cleared to fly on the F-35.

“The AMRAAM is truly a dual-role missile, offering operational flexibility in air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the air-to-air role, the weapon’s advanced active guidance section and mature seeker design allow it to quickly find targets in the most challenging environments. In the surface-launch role, it is the baseline weapon on NASAMS, allowing countries to use the same missile in either role with no modifications,” a company official informs.