HUGHES HAS BEEN given clearance, by the US Government, for the release of the surface-to-air variant, of its AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) to Kuwait.

The Gulf state is interested in purchasing a medium-range surface-to-air system, with the Hughes/NFT AdSAMS system, based on the AMRAAM, a leading contender. The release of the AIM-120 into the region, however, is sensitive because of potential Israeli objections.

Besides Kuwait, Egypt is also expected to approach the US Government over the potential acquisition of the ground-launched AMRAAM.

Robert O'Rourke, Hughes executive vice-president for the

Middle East, says that it has been in negotiations with the Government for over 12 months on the issue of releasability of the missile for Kuwait.

Although the AIM-120 fielded in the AdSAMS system is the same as the air-launched missile, O'Rourke says that a "software block" is introduced which disables its ability to be used in the air-launched mode.

Source: Flight International