The US State Department has approved a $385 million foreign military sale of 48 Raytheon medium-range, precision strike standoff systems to the Royal Air Force of Oman.
Apart from the joint standoff weapons (JSOW), the agreement also covers the delivery of dummy air and captive air training missiles, free flight vehicles, environmental determination test vehicles, and containers.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.
Enhancing Defense Capabilities
The Omani government is procuring the air-to-ground missiles to improve its defense capabilities amid various regional security threats on the country’s borders.
In August 2021, suspected Iranian-backed forces launched a fatal drone attack that targeted an Israeli-linked oil tanker off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. The drone strike killed two crew members – a British and Romanian national – aboard the ship.
“Recent attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman have increased Oman’s need for weapons that enable it to defend its territorial waters and ensure freedom of navigation. Oman will have no difficulty absorbing these articles into its armed forces,” the DSCA said.
Joint Standoff Weapon
Raytheon’s family of low-cost, air-to-ground missiles is equipped with a “GPS-inertial navigation system and thermal imaging infrared seeker” that enhances the capabilities of fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
The 4.1-meter (13.4 feet) weapon features a standoff range of 12 to 63 nautical miles (22 to 117 kilometers/14 to 73 miles), allowing it to engage and destroy targets while maintaining a safe distance from enemy defenses.
Its newest variant, the JSOW C-1, is armed with a two-way strike common weapon datalink that enables fleet flexibility to “engage moving maritime targets while retaining effectiveness against stationary land targets.”