AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM)
AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM)

Alliant Techsystems to Supply Lot 10 AARGM Missiles for US Navy and Germany Air Force

Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Defense Systems Sector, Northridge, California, is awarded a $94,880,370 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract procures full rate production of Lot 10 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM), to include conversion of 87 U.S. government-provided AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs); and 40 Germany Air Force-provided AGM-88B HARMs into 127 AGM-88E AARGM All-Up-Rounds, and related supplies and services necessary for their manufacture, spares, and fleet deployment in support of F/A-18C/D, F/A-18E/F, and EA-18G aircraft for the U.S. Navy and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-5. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

The AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It was originally developed by Texas Instruments as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation when it purchased the defense production business of Texas Instruments. A newer upgrade, the AGM-88E Advanced Antiradiation Guided Missile (AARGM), features the latest software, enhanced capabilities intended to counter enemy radar shutdown, and passive radar using an additional active millimeter-wave seeker. It was released in November 2010, and it is a joint venture by the US Department of Defense and the Italian Ministry of Defense, produced by Alliant Techsystems. (Alliant Techsystems was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2018).

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 conducts a captive carry flight test of an AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo by: Greg L. Davis)

The U.S. Navy authorized Full-Rate Production (FRP) of the AARGM in August 2012, with 72 missiles for the Navy and nine for the Italian Air Force to be delivered in 2013. A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron will be the first forward-deployed unit with the AGM-88E. In September 2013, ATK delivered the 100th AARGM to the U.S. Navy. The AGM-88E program is on schedule and on budget, with Full Operational Capability (FOC) planned for September 2014. The AGM-88E was designed to improve the effectiveness of legacy HARM variants against fixed and relocatable radar and communications sites, particularly those that would shut down to throw off anti-radiation missiles, by attaching a new seeker to the existing Mach 2-capable rocket motor and warhead section, adding a passive anti-radiation homing receiver, satellite and inertial navigation system, a millimeter-wave radar for terminal guidance, and the ability to beam up images of the target via a satellite link just seconds before impact.

This model of the HARM will be integrated onto the F/A-18C/D, F/A-18E/F, EA-18G, and Tornado ECR aircraft, and later on the F-35 (externally). In September 2015, the AGM-88E successfully hit a mobile ship target in a live-fire test, demonstrating the missile’s ability to use antiradiation homing and millimeter-wave radar to detect, identify, locate, and engage moving targets. In December 2019, the German Air Force ordered the AARGM. On August 4, 2020, Northrop Grumman’s Alliant Techsystems Operations division, based in Northridge, California, was awarded a $12,190,753 IDIQ contract for AARGM depot sustainment support, guidance section and control section repair, and equipment box test and inspection. On August 31, 2020, the same Northrop Grumman division was allocated roughly $80.9 million to develop new technology for the AARGM. Neither contract was awarded in free, open competition.