April 30, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Pentagon notified the US Congress of a planned sale to the Turkish Air Force of 50 AGM-84K air-to-ground SLAM-ER missile systems, a deal worth around $162 million.
The SLAM-ER (Expanded Response) is a Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) capable of attacking land and sea targets automatically, at long-range (150+ miles).
The all-weather cruise missile which grew out of the United States Navy's Harpoon anti-ship missile, can also be controlled remotely from the air. It relies on military-grade GPS
and infrared imaging for navigation. It can strike both moving and stationary targets with frightening precision anywhere within 275 kilometres from its launch point.
The package would include related equipment and services for the SLAM-ER missiles, formally known as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles-Expanded Response.
will use the SLAM-ER as a standoff weapon on its F-16 aircraft, the statement said.
The prime contractor will be Boeing, which will build the munitions in its facility in St. Louis.
Turkey is planning to buy the weapons through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale program, involving government credits designed to help allied nations to buy U.S.-developed defense equipment.
Requests from the Pentagon to Congress to grant permission for the transfer of arms to the allied nations are automatically approved if the Pentagon does not issue an objection within 15 days. Such objections are rare.
The AGM-84K SLAM-ER is a developed version of the U.S. anti-ship AGM-84
Harpoon missile, specifically designed for high-precision attacks on land targets.
Officials estimate the total value of weapon systems, including equipment and services, at $162 million.
SLAM-ER is currently sold to the U.S. Navy and the Republic of Korea Air Force and is being considered by the Royal Australia Air Force.
Note: Boeing has announced that an F-15K fighter it built for the Republic of (South) Korea Air Force (RoKAF
) test fired a SLAM-ER on March 24th, marking the first ever launch of the weapon from an F-15 aircraft.