The US State Department has approved the potential foreign military sale (FMS) of rolling airframe missile (RAM) Block 2 tactical missiles to Japan.

Under the estimated $55.311m sale, Japan has requested for up to 51 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) Block 2 Tactical Missiles, RIM-116C, and related equipment.

Japan has also sought for RAM Guided Missile Round Pack Tri-Pack shipping and storage containers, as well as operator manuals and technical documentation.

The proposed sale also includes US Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support services.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress about the possible sale.

The DSCA said in a statement: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the US by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.

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“It is vital to US national interest to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defence capability.”

Raytheon Missile Systems, based in Tucson, Arizona, has been selected as the prime contractor for the sale programme.

RAM is designed as a ship self-defence system against anti-ship cruise missiles and asymmetric threats.

The RAM Block 2 is a kinematic and radio frequency (RF) receiver upgrade of the RAM Block 1A missile.

It is expected to increase the Japanese Navy’s ‘area defence capabilities over critical East Asian and Western Pacific air and sea-lines of communication’.

In June last year, the RAM Block 2A short-range, surface-to-air missile underwent a series of guided flight tests with the US Navy ahead of its planned delivery.