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US approves AIM-9X Block II missiles for Romania

The Romanian Air Force is to equip its F-16s with the AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missile. (Romanian Air Force)

The United States has approved the sale of 300 RTX AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles to Romania, announcing a potential USD340.8 million sale on 14 May.

The US Department of State approval covers the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of the missiles for the Romanian Air Force (RoAF) fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Block 15 Mid-Life Update (MLU) combat aircraft, as well as training missiles, related equipment, training, and support.

“The proposed sale will improve Romania's capability to meet current and future threats by providing air-to-air missiles for its F-16 fleet in support of NATO's defence mission,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.

The RoAF is in the early stages of standing up 49 F-16 aircraft, the first 17 of which it has been receiving from Portugal from 2013, with another 32 to follow from Norway. Upgraded to the M6.X standard, all of Romania's jets will employ the AIM-9X Block II, as well as the RTX AIM-120D/C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), the Boeing GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), and the Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). They will also feature updates to the AN/ALR-56 radar warning receiver (RWR), GPS software, AN/AAQ-14 LANTIRN targeting pod, and Link-16 tactical datalink.

Romania is also considering the F-16V (designated F-16C/D Block 70/72 in its newbuild configuration) upgrade package and has formalised its intention to purchase the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

For more information on the AIM-9X Sidewinder, please seeAIM-9X Sidewinder .

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