Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems marked a milestone for one of its key defense programs with the completion of its 20,000th Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM entered service in 1991 and was originally made by Hughes Aircraft, which was acquired by Raytheon in 1997. It is used by the U.S. and 36 allied nations and has been credited for destroying at least nine enemy planes in combat over Iraq and Kosovo during the 1990s.

The cost of AMRAAMs varies from about $400,000 for AIM-120C versions, the main export variant, to more than $1 million apiece for the longer-range and more capable AIM-120D.

A new study found that Raytheon Missile Systems contributes $2.1 billion annually to Arizona’s economy. Researchers at the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business came up with that figure by studying Raytheon’s payroll, taxes and supplier partnerships, the company said.

The world’s largest missile maker, Raytheon is also Arizona’s largest private government contractor.

Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president, noted that Raytheon does business with more than 500 Arizona suppliers, more than half of which are located in the Phoenix metro area.

Full details of the economic impact study, such as the indirect impacts, were not immediately available.

Raytheon’s annual Arizona payroll is about $1 billion, the company said.

In November, the company announced plans to expand its Southern Arizona operations by adding infrastructure and 2,000 new jobs over the next five years.

“With its high tech jobs and competitive wages, Raytheon is absolutely critical to Southern Arizona’s economy, and the company’s economic benefits extend across the entire state,” said Dennis Hoffman, center director of the Seidman Research Institute.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner

Senior reporter covering business and technology for the Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com