The AARGM-ER is launched from a US Navy F/A-18 during a successful live fire test at Point Mugu Sea Test Range, California.
The AARGM-ER is launched from a US Navy F/A-18 during a successful live fire test at Point Mugu Sea Test Range, California.

Alliant Techsystems Awarded $45 Million US Navy Contract to Procure AARGM-ER Anti-Radiation Missile

Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Defense Systems Inc.), Northridge, California, is awarded a $45,662,690 firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification exercises options to procure low rate initial production Lot Two of the Air to Ground Missile (AGM)-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER). Specifically, this modification provides for the production and delivery of 16 AGM-88G AARGM-ER all up rounds, six AGM-88G AARGM-ER Captive Air Training Missiles, four Common Munitions Built-in-Test Reprogramming Equipment+ Interface Devices, initial spares, and required manufacturing supplies and support. Work is expected to be completed in December 2024. 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. The HARM missile was approved for full production in March 1983, obtained initial operating capability (IOC) on the A-7E Corsair II in late 1983 and then deployed in late 1985 with VA-46 aboard the aircraft carrier USS America. “Magnum” is spoken over the radio to announce the launch of an AGM-88. During the Gulf War, if an aircraft was illuminated by enemy radar a bogus “Magnum” call on the radio was often enough to convince the operators to power down. This technique would also be employed in Yugoslavia during air operations in 1999.

Northrop Grumman Corporation AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER)
Alliant Techsystems Operations/Northrop Grumman Corporation AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER)

Northrop Grumman Corporation announced the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER), developed under contract with the U.S. Navy, has successfully achieved a Milestone C decision, authorizing the company as the program’s prime contractor the entry into low rate initial production (LRIP). The additional capabilities of AARGM-ER, coupled with its high-performance air vehicle, will provide our fleet with the most advanced weapon system to defeat evolving surface-to-air threats. This decision enables the start of the production to support future deployment of the AARGM-ER to the fleet and achievement of initial operating capability. AARGM-ER is a major upgrade to the existing AARGM missile, currently in production and fielded with the U.S. Navy today. AARGM-ER is being integrated on the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft as well as the Air Force F-35A, Marine Corps F-35B, and Navy F-35C aircraft.

The U.S. Navy’s FY 2016 budget included funding for an extended range AARGM-ER that uses the existing guidance system and warhead of the AGM-88E with a solid integrated rocket-ramjet for double the range. In September 2016, Orbital ATK unveiled its extended-range AARGM-ER, which incorporates a redesigned control section and 11.5 in diameter (290 mm) rocket motor for twice the range and internal carriage on the Lockheed Martin F-35A and F-35C Lightning II; internal carriage on the F-35B isn’t possible due to internal space limitations. The new missile utilizes the AARGM’s warhead and guidance systems in a new airframe that replaces the mid-body wings with aerodynamic strakes along the sides with control surfaces relocated to low-drag tail surfaces and a more powerful propulsion system for greater speed and range. The AARGM-ER received Milestone-C approval in August 2021, and the first low-rate initial production contract was awarded the next month; initial operational capability is planned for 2023.

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