PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Department of the Navy is investing in a weapon that will transform the effectiveness of military firepower on the battlefield.
The service recently authorized Full-Rate Production (FRP) of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), a medium range, supersonic air-launched tactical missile.
“This system will truly enhance our warfighting capability,” said Cmdr. Chad Reed, Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) deputy program manager for the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242) here. “AARGM will help keep our warfighter safe and reduce the time we spend in conflict.”
The Navy demonstrated AARGM’s capability during Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) in spring 2012. PMA-242 team members, in conjunction with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 9 and VX-31 at China Lake, flew a total of 633 flight hours on F/A-18C/D/E/F/G platforms and conducted 12 live fires.
After a successful IOT&E, the program delivered live rounds and training missiles to the fleet and completed aircrew and maintenance training in the field in June. A U.S. Marine Corps F/A 18 squadron will be the first forward-deployed unit to operate with AARGM.
The new weapon addresses current capability gaps in areas where the Navy deploys and operates its existing Air-to-Ground Missile (AGM), the High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). Specifically, AARGM defeats multiple countermeasures that have been developed by U.S. adversaries since HARM was deployed in the 1980’s. It will be carried on the FA-18C/D, FA-18E/F, EA-18G and Italian Air Force Tornado Electronic Countermeasures/Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft.
“AARGM is designed to increase our warfighting capabilities in neutralizing enemy air defenses and will provide aircrew with an additional tool for the Supression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense mission,” Reed added.
The Navy plans to award a FRP contract to ATK for the production of 72 missiles for U.S. Navy and nine missiles for the Italian Air Force later this year. Delivery is anticipated in late 2013.