Sweden takes control of the skies! Aim-120C-8 AMRAAM missiles worth $605 million are acquired by Sweden, which is exciting news

Sweden’s Armed Forces have signed a landmark agreement with the United States, through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), for the purchase of Jaktrobot 99 (AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, AMRAAM) missiles and associated integration, evaluation, testing, and handling equipment. This significant purchase, valued at $605 million USD, underscores Sweden’s commitment to modernizing its military infrastructure and staying at the forefront of air defense technology. The Swedish Defense Materiel Administration acted on behalf of the Armed Forces, securing the procurement of AMRAAM missiles, known as Rb 99 in Sweden, which were originally integrated into the JA37 Viggen fighter jet. Over the years, AMRAAM missiles have undergone various upgrades and improvements, cementing their reputation as a cutting-edge air defense system. This acquisition is being conducted under the umbrella of Foreign Military Sales, with the Defense Materiel Administration purchasing the materiel from the U.S. government. The agreement, approved by the DSCA, covers the sale of AMRAAM missiles to Sweden, ensuring that the country’s defense forces receive the necessary assets to enhance their air defense capabilities.

“In the current security policy situation and with the ongoing increase in Sweden’s defense capabilities, the supply of additional ammunition to the combat aircraft is urgent. The fact that we are now acquiring more AMRAAMs directly from the US government speeds up that process, which we are grateful for,” says Lars Helmrich, head of the aviation and space equipment business area at Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Swedish: Försvarets materielverk, FMV).

The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) is an American beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. It uses active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance. The AMRAAM missiles acquired under this agreement represent the latest iteration of this radar hunting robot, boasting improved system performance. Additionally, these missiles are set to replace older models previously sold by Sweden to the United States for onward donation to Ukraine. This move not only signifies Sweden’s commitment to modernization but also contributes to regional stability by bolstering the ability of the Swedish Armed Forces to counter air threats, both present and future, within their immediate vicinity. One notable aspect of this purchase is the reinforcement of Sweden’s ability to cooperate with NATO and the United States. With the integration of this latest version of AMRAAM into the JAS39, Sweden’s already strong collaboration with NATO and the United States is set to grow even stronger. This move not only enhances Sweden’s own national defense but also contributes to the broader security framework within the region.

The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) uses active transmit-receive radar guidance instead of semi-active receive-only radar guidance. It is a fire-and-forget weapon, unlike the previous generation Sparrow missiles which required full guidance from the firing aircraft. When an AMRAAM missile is launched, NATO pilots use the brevity code “Fox Three”.

The AMRAAM has been used in several engagements, achieving 16 air-to-air kills in conflicts over Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, India, and Syria. The AIM-120A is no longer in production and shares the enlarged wings and fins with the successor AIM-120B. The AIM-120C has smaller “clipped” aerosurfaces to enable internal carriage on the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor. The AIM-120C-8 (P3I Phase 4, AIM-120D) is a development of the AIM-120C with a two-way data link, more accurate navigation using a GPS-enhanced IMU, an expanded no-escape envelope, and improved HOBS (high off-boresight) capability. The AIM-120D has a max speed of Mach 4 and is a joint U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy project currently in the testing phase. The Royal Australian Air Force requested 450 AIM-120C-8 missiles, which would make it the first foreign operator of the missile.

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