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Spain to increase buy of extended-range AMRAAMs for Eurofighters, Hornets, NASAMS

Spain is buying extended-range AMRAAM missiles to equip Eurofighter and Hornet (pictured) fighters, as well as its ground-based NASAMS air defence. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Spain is to expand its procurement of extended-range Raytheon AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) for its fleet of Eurofighter (C16 in national service) and Boeing EF-18 (C15) Hornet combat aircraft, as well as for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) ground-based air-defence system.

With 68 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles having been authorised by the Spanish Council of Ministers in October for an estimated EUR100 million (USD108 million), the US Congress in its official record published in early December said that 655 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles, as well as related equipment and services, will be provided for an estimated USD1.93 billion.

β€œThe proposed sale will improve Spain's capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of AMRAAMs for its fighter aircraft fleets and air defence in support of its national defence, and will further strengthen interoperability with the United States,” Congress said. β€œThe Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile-Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER) variant utilises an AIM-120C-7 or C-8 seeker and warhead joined with a new control section and rocket rotor (for surface launch mode applications). This provides extended range and altitude as well as higher speed and manoeuvrability.”

Now 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.

In Spanish service, the AIM-120C-8 will arm the Eurofighter, the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, and the ground-based NASAMS.

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