Australia requests AIM-120D AMRAAM missiles for RAAF fast jets

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 27, 2016

An Australian acquisition of a package of Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM missiles for the RAAF’s Hornet, Growler and F-35 combat aircraft has been approved by the US State Department, the US’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has revealed.

A DSCA announcement dated April 25 states the Government of Australia has requested the purchase of up to 450 AIM-120D missiles, plus up to 34 AIM-120D instrumented air vehicles (AAVIs), up to six instrumented test vehicles and up to 10 spare AIM-120 guidance sections at an estimated cost of US$1.22 billion (A$1.32 billion).

“This proposed sale is in support of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F/A-18, E/A-18G, and F-35 aircraft,” the DSCA announcement reads. “This proposed sale will provide the RAAF additional air-to-air intercept capability and increase interoperability with the US Air Force.”

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Australia would be the first export customer for the D model of the AIM-120, which features in the order of 50 per cent greater range than earlier AMRAAMs, an improved high-angle off-boresight capability, GPS-aided navigation and a two-way data link.

The RAAF’s classic Hornets carry both the AIM-120C-5 and C-7 model AMRAAMs, while the Super Hornets carry the AIM-120C-7, previously the most advanced variant of the AMRAAM series cleared for export.

Senior Airman Daniel Myers and Staff Sgts. Daphne Jaehn and John Davenport load an AIM-120D Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile on an F-22A Raptor in preparation for noise and vibration testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Airmen are assigned to the base's 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and are with the F-22 Combined Test Force weapons flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Robertson)
An AIM-120D is loaded on an F-22 in preparation for noise and vibration testing during the missile’s development program. The AIM-120D achieved IOC in 2015. (USAF)

8 Comments

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    Is that a Raptor being loaded with AIM-120?

  • Gary

    says:

    The image says it all!

  • Corey Dark

    says:

    Tomcat Terry. Yes it is. Also the US Government has requested the the USAF/DOD look into restarting the F-22 line which would be a good thing for the US and possible Australia. If they do restart the F-22 Raptor line Australia might be able to buy a small fleet of 24 along with possible restarting the FB-22 which is confided the stealth version of the GD F-111 Aardvark which the RAAF could also buy. How ever if they do restart the F-22 production line they should make some minor changes to the aircraft by installing the new GE ADVENT engine which would be shared with the F-35 along with reducing weight and increasing computing power. Also the F-22 has an oxygen problem which I don’t think has been fixed yet so they should find what is the cause and fix it.

  • Brucimus

    says:

    Read the tail fin

  • mick181

    says:

    Corey the problem for Australia in the extremly unlikely event of a F-22 production restart would be that the numbers of F-35s would be cut, forcing up the price. The more F-35s built the cheaper they will be as everyone is paying the same per Aircraft. F-22s at the time of the production line were twice the current cost of a JSF & not available for export. Contrary to popular opinion Australia has never had a requirment for the Raptor and has never requested it.

  • mick181

    says:

    Huh!!! A stealth version of the GD F-111 which Australia could buy?

  • Adam

    says:

    A lot of hopes and dreams there Corey..

  • Jason

    says:

    Some context, ONE congressman who happens to be the chair of the US House Armed Services subcommittee has asked the USAF to report back on the cost of restarting the F-22 line, NOT “the US Government”. Guess where the congressman is from…?!?!?

    While the thought of a modernised F-22 with an F-35 sensor and comms suite, modern open architecture systems and more supportable coatings etc is mouth-watering, imagine the eye-watering cost of re-designing the jet and re-starting a cold production line to build just ~200 more airframes!

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