Italy to buy Sidewinder missiles in $90M deal

Washington: The US State Department this week approved the sale of Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to Italy, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.

The requested $90 million package includes the AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II+ missiles; containers; weapon support and support equipment; spare and repair parts; logistics support services and other related elements.

The contract, announced Friday, specifies that RTX will be the principal contractor. The sale still requires the approval of the U.S. Congress, which was notified of the State Department’s approval of the deal.

According to the DSCA, the proposed sale will improve Italy’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing training missiles and guidance units for Italy’s F-35 fleet in support of NATO’s defense mission.

The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, which entered service in November 2003, includes advanced infrared-tracking, short-range, air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

The Block II variant, which completed its first test firing in November 2008, has a redesigned fuse and a digital ignition safety device to enhance ground handling and in-flight safety.