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S. Korea Cleared to Buy US-Made Sidewinder, SM-6 Missiles for $700M

The US State Department has approved the potential foreign military sale of two missile systems to South Korea for $702.1 million.

The first request, approved on November 14, was for up to 38 Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles manufactured by Raytheon.

Dubbed “three missiles in one,” the SM-6 is designed to perform anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense, and anti-surface warfare missions with a recorded maximum operational range of 370 kilometers (230 miles).

It is expected to provide the South Korean military with improved capability to meet current and future threats.

Seoul also wants Mk21 Vertical Launch System canisters, handling equipment, spare parts, training, and technical support.

Sidewinder Missile Sale

A day after the SM-6 missile sale was approved, the state department also cleared South Korea for its requested AIM-9X Block II and Block II+ Sidewinder missiles and related equipment for $52.1 million.

Also designed by Raytheon, the weapon is designed for air-to-air, surface attack, and surface launch missions.

It can engage targets in the near beyond-visual-range, with a range of more than 10 miles (16 kilometers).

Its most advanced variant, the Block II, is capable of using datalink, thrust vectoring maneuverability, and advanced imaging infrared seeker to accurately hit targets.

A total of 92 Sidewinder tactical missiles will be delivered as part of the sale.

The South Korean government has also requested 10 AIM-9X Sidewinder Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), five AIM-9X Block II+ Sidewinder Tactical Guidance Units, and three AIM-9X Sidewinder CATM Guidance Units.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region,” the announcement stated.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said it had already notified Congress of the potential sales.

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