Morocco is to buy an unknown number of Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range infrared-guided air-to-air missiles for an undisclosed amount.
The northwest African state and the US government have executed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to purchase Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II missile, the company says in a statement. “The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) is the world’s 10th country to employ the AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided, air-to-air missile and will be the fourth country with the AIM-9X Block II.”
Raytheon says the AIM-9X Block II adds a redesigned fuze that offers a lock-on-after-launch and datalink capability to the AIM-9X Block I. The AIM-9X Block II missile is in the operational testing phase; Raytheon is currently producing AIM-9X Block II captive air training missiles.
“The AIM-9X Block II brings enhanced capability to the RMAF that will enhance security in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Captain John Martins, the US Navy’s air-to-air missile program manager. “This sale is a win for both the US and Moroccan warfighters because it enhances coalition air combat operations and also reduces the unit cost of the AIM-9X Block II missile through economies of scale.”
Under the agreement, the US government will provide the RMAF an undisclosed quantity of tactical and training AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder missiles for Morocco’s F-16 fighter aircraft. The Moroccan Air Force took delivery last year of the first of 24 Block 52 F-16 Fighting Falcons from Lockheed Martin, fitted with Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 Enhanced Engine Package engines and Raytheon ACES electronic warfare suites.
“This is the latest chapter of Raytheon’s more than half a century commitment to the Middle East and North Africa,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air Warfare Systems product line. “More than 400 Raytheon employees and suppliers have built and delivered more than 4000 AIM-9X Block I missiles for the US and our allies worldwide.”
The Royal Moroccan Air Force joins the air forces of Australia, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States as AIM-9X users. The weapon is currently integrated on the F/A-18 Hornet, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, Raytheon says.