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Norway approved for AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles for NASAMS, F-35A

A Royal Norwegian Air Force NASAMS ground-based air-defence missile system with a six-canister AMRAAM launcher. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US government has cleared the sale of the latest variant of the RTX AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to Norway.

Announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 11 June, the approval for the AIM-120C-8 covers 300 missiles and related equipment, spares, support, and training for an estimated USD1.94 billion.

“The proposed sale will improve Norway's capability to meet current and future threats by supplementing and replacing its AIM-120B AMRAAMs with the latest version of the AIM-120C. Norway already has AMRAAMs and F-35As in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these articles into its armed forces. The newly acquired missiles will be used for ground-based air defence in the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), but may be subject to dual use with the F-35A,” the DSCA said.

More widely known as the AIM-120D, the AIM-120C-8 has significantly improved no-escape envelope and high-angle off-boresight capabilities over earlier variants of the AMRAAM. As noted in Janes Weapons: Air-Launched, the AIM-120C-8/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-120C-8/AIM-120D is intended to have a dual-mode seeker capable of active and passive radio frequency (RF) homing, programme officials have denied this.

The AIM-120C-8/AIM-120D is reported to have a range of 160 km and flies at a speed of Mach 4.

For more information on the AMRAAM, please seeAIM-120 Advanced Medium‐Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) .

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