The US State Department approved the sale of up to 200 radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120D medium-range air-to-air missiles for an estimated cost of $650 million to the United Kingdom.
The possible sale would arm the Royal Air Force with the longest range version of the AIM-120. The D-variant’s range is thought to be more than 90 nautical miles (167km), which is roughly the detection range of an active electronically scanned array radar.
The AIM-120D includes a data link so that the targeting system on board the launch aircraft can direct the missile towards an enemy target that is taking evasive manoeuvres. The AIM-120 family of missiles have been used in 4,200 test shots and 10 air-to-air combat victories, according to manufacturer Raytheon Missile Systems Company of Tucson, Arizona.
Besides the US, only a few other countries possess the missiles, including Australia and Canada.
The State Department also approved on 10 July the sale of 28 AIM-120 C-7 medium-range air-to-air missiles for an estimated cost of $90 million to Denmark. Those missiles, which are an earlier version of the air-to-air missile with shorter range, would be used to arm the country’s Lockheed Martin F-16 and future F-35 Lightning II fighter fleets.
The sale notice of the AIM-120D to the UK did not state what aircraft would carry those missiles, though earlier variants of the weapon have been carried aboard the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon and could be eventually put on its F-35 aircraft.
Also included in the sale of the AIM-120D missiles to the UK are missile containers; weapon system support equipment; support and test equipment; repair and return support; warranties; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation; maintenance and personnel training; and training equipment, according to the notice.