July 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has approved the possible $122 million sale of 91 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles and up to eight Captive Air Training Missiles to Germany.
The purchase is through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency acting as Germany's agent, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Friday when it notified Congress of the possible sale.
The systems are designated as AGM-88E.
The contract includes up to six telemetry/flight termination systems, flight data recorders, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, miscellaneous support equipment, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
DSCA said the proposed sale "will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally, which is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe. It is vital to the U.S. national interests that Germany develops and maintains a strong and ready self-defense capability."
The proposed sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region, DSCA said.
The AGM-88E AARGM is an upgrade to the older generation AGM-88B High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, which Germany first purchased in 1988. The new units will be manufactured using new components and older sections from Germany's existing stock of AGM-88Bs.
The principal U.S. contractor will be Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, formerly known as Orbital ATK. Northrop purchased the company in 2018. In 2015, Orbital ATK Inc. was formed from the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and parts of Alliant Techsystems.
AARGM is a supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile. It is compatible with all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B and F-35.
Aside from the U.S. Navy and Marines, the Italian Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force have purchased the systems.
The AARGM provides the United States and allies "the latest and most advanced weapons system to engage and destroy enemy air defenses and time-critical mobile targets," according to Northrop Grumman.