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.”
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.