US Navy launched an AGM-88G AARGM-ER for the first time

US Navy launched an AGM-88G AARGM-ER for the first time

By Dario Leone
Aug 7 2021
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All planned test objectives were met after the AGM-88G AARGM-ER was launched from an F/A-18 Super Hornet.

On Jul. 19, 2021, the US Navy’s AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) completed its first live fire event off the coast of Point Mugu Sea Test Range.

All planned test objectives were met after the AARGM-ER was launched from an F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“This first live fire event is a major step to providing our fleet with the most advanced weapon system to defeat evolving surface-to-air threats, said Capt. Alex Dutko, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapon (PMA-242) program manager, in a NAVAIR News Release. “Our Navy and Northrop Grumman team has done tremendous work executing this event and ensuring we met all test objectives.”

The live fire test validated the overall system integration, performance of the rocket motor and the start of modeling and simulation validation. This was the first in a series of development test events that will ensure AARGM-ER can meet required objectives.

“While this event serves as a validation of this hard work, it more importantly gets us one-step closer to making our fleet more lethal,” said Felipe Jauregui, Anti-Radiation Missile Technical Project Office at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, California. “Our engineering and test teams have worked tirelessly with their counterparts across the enterprise and government teams.”

“This firing was a significant milestone for the program as we get ready to enter Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP),” added Keli Olea, PMA-242 AARGM-ER Co-Lead. The program is expected to enter LRIP this summer, which will support future deployment of the AARGM-ER to the fleet and initial operating capability.

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

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.

The AGM-88G 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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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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