Canada has become the second export customer cleared to buy the latest variant Raytheon AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), with approval being announced on 1 November.
The Canadian government has been cleared by the US State Department to procure up to 32 AIM-120D-variant missiles, as well as training missiles and other equipment/services valued at a combined USD140 million. The missiles are being bought to equip the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) fleet of Boeing F/A-18 (CF-18/CF-188 in national service) Hornet fighters.
“This proposed sale of defence articles and services is required to enable RCAF fighters to optimally fulfil both North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) and NATO missions and also meets the US Northern Command’s goals of combined air operations interoperability and standardisation between Canadian and US forces,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification said.
In being allowed to buy the latest and most capable variant of the AMRAAM, Canada joins Australia which was granted clearance in April 2016.
As noted in Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons , the AIM-120D is intended to deliver improved performance beyond the AIM-120C-7 through the use of an internal GPS, an enhanced datalink, and new software. The missile is fitted with an active radar seeker, similar to that used on the AIM-120C-7, and while sources have suggested that the AIM-120D is intended to have a dual-mode seeker, capable of active and passive RF homing, programme officials have denied this.
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