The Trump administration has given a green light to the potential sale of sophisticated air-to-air missiles for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), according to a news release by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

Tokyo seeks to purchase 56 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), for a total cost of $113 million.

“The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale of fifty-six (56) AIM 120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs),” the statement reads. “Also included are containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.”

“The proposed sale will provide Japan a critical air defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there,” according to DSCA. “Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions into the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).”

Congress still has to sign off on the deal.

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AMRAAM is an active radar-guided beyond-visual range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Armed with a 50 pounds (22.7 kilogram) high-explosive blast fragmentation warhead, the missile has an operational range of 34-46 miles (55-75 kilometers). The missile is capable of speeds up to Mach 4.

The missile can be carried by the JASDFs F-15J, F-2 fighter jets and the future fifth-generation stealth multirole Joint Strike Fighter F-35A — the aircraft’s conventional takeoff and landing variant.  Delivery of Japan’s first F-35As has begun in 2017 through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program.

As Chinese military strength and aggressiveness in the Asia-Pacific region grows, expect Japan to continue bolstering its military capabilities as well.

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