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US State Department approves sale to Japan of additional RIM-116C missiles

The US State Department has approved a potential USD61.5 million Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Japan of up to 44 RIM-116C Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAMs) along with related equipment and services.

In a 4 August notification the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said that Tokyo had requested to buy the tactical missiles as well as RAM Block 2 guidance control groups; RAM guided missile round pack tri-pack shipping and storage containers; operator manuals and technical documentation; as well as engineering, technical, and logistical support.

The agency said that the proposed deal, which still needs US Congress approval, will provide “significantly enhanced area defence capabilities over critical East Asian and Western Pacific air and sea lines of communication”.

The principal contractor would be Raytheon Missiles and Defense in Tucson, Arizona, said the DSCA, adding that there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

The weapons are expected to arm Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) warships, but no details were provided about which vessels are set to field them. That said, the DSCA also announced on 4 August US State Department approval of a potential USD134 million FMS to Japan of support services and related equipment for the JMSDF's Aegis-equipped destroyers.

The agency noted that Tokyo requested to buy follow-on technical support of the vessels to include sustainment support and services; Aegis computer software updates; system integration and testing; operational, technical, and in-country and on-site engineering support; as well as system overhauls and upgrades, among other things.

This proposed sale was described by the DSCA as being “critical” to ensure that the JMSDF's Aegis-equipped destroyer fleet and the Japanese Computer Program Test Sites (JCPTS) “remain ready to provide capabilities in the defence of Japan”.

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