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The US State Department has recently approved potential Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the Netherlands of two types of air-launched missiles, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced.

On 2 February 2024 the State Department approved a Dutch request for up to 386 AGM-114R2 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles worth USD 150 million (EUR 139 million), while on 5 February a request from the Netherlands to buy 120 AGM-158B/B-2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range (JASSM-ER) worth USD 908 million was approved.

Both FMS cases have been passed to the US Congress for final approval.

The Netherlands is already an operator of the Hellfire missile, which arms the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, but the Dutch armed forces do not yet have the JASSM, which is a stand-off air-launched cruise missile that is likely to be carried by the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighters.

The Hellfire request includes technical assistance as well as various elements of integration, logistics and programme support.

The JASSM-ER request also includes 15 inert JASSMs with test instrumentation kits; two JASSM separation test vehicles; one AGM-158 instrumented test vehicle; two JASSM jettison test vehicles; a number of JASSM dummy air training missiles; spares and other associated equipment; plus various aspects of technical, engineering, programme and logistics support.

The DSCA said the JASS-ER sale “will improve the Netherlands’ capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its airborne, long-range, precision-strike combat capability”. The agency said the Hellfire sale will “strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats [and] contribute to its military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies”.

The principal contractor for both missiles is Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control out of its facilities in Orlando, Florida.

An AH-64D Apache attack helicopter belonging to the Netherlands Defence Helicopter Command prepares to land during Exercise ‘Falcon Autumn 22’ at Vredepeel in the Netherlands on 4 November 2022. The Dutch Apaches’ inventory of Hellfire missiles is being bolstered. (Photo: US Army)