Home Military Aviation US Navy completes first AARGM-ER missile captive carry flight on F/A-18 Super Hornet

US Navy completes first AARGM-ER missile captive carry flight on F/A-18 Super Hornet

by Dario Leone
US Navy completes first AARGM-ER missile captive carry flight on F/A-18 Super Hornet

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. 

On Jun.1, 2020 at the Patuxent River test range the US Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase,” said Capt. Mitch Commerford, who oversees the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242), in NAVAIR news release. “Data collected from this testing will inform the planned build-up and overall expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER.”

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

US Navy completes first AARGM-ER missile captive carry flight on F/A-18 Super Hornet
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The extended range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems. 

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C. 

The original AGM-88E AARGM is a medium-range air-to-ground missile employed for Suppression and/or Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD/DEAD). An ACAT IC Cooperative program with the Italian Air Force, the AARGM system is an upgrade and compliment to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).

AARGM baseline capabilities include an expanded target set, counter-shutdown capability, advanced signals processing for improved detection and locating, geographic specificity providing aircrew the opportunity to define missile-impact zones and impact-avoidance zones, and a weapon impact-assessment broadcast capability providing for battle damage assessment cueing.

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Photo credit: U.S. Navy

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