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South Korea will buy 115 AIM-9X Block II Tactical SIDEWINDER Missiles and related equipment from the U.S for an estimated cost of US$158.1m. The deal, which will have Raytheon Corporation as the prime contractor, also includes 50 AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) in addition to 20 each of AIM-9X Block II Tactical Missile Guidance Units and AIM 9X Block II CATM Guidance Units. The proposed sale will assist South Korea in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.

The weapon is configured for easy installation on a wide range of modern aircraft, including the F-15 STRIKE EAGLE, F-16 FIGHTING FALCON, F/A-18 SUPER HORNET, E/A-18G GROWLER, F-22 RAPTOR and F-35 LIGHTNING II. It is also used on the U.S. Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Programme on the multi-mission launcher. The AIM-9X Block II missile adds a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device to improve handling and in-flight safety. The missile also has updated electronics, including a lock-on-after-launch capability and a new weapon datalink to support beyond visual range engagements.

J C Menon