The Polish Ministry of Defence has planned a procurement of the AARGM anti-radiation missiles. The Ministry recently told Defence24.pl that a Letter of Request for Price and Availability, has been sent to the US Government, with regards to both the AARGM missile, as well as to its Extended Range (AARGM-ER) variant.
The decision assuming that Poland would acquire the AGM-88E AARGM missile would mean that the Polish F-16 jets would be yet another platform in Europe capable of utilizing this weapon. The Italian Air Force has been the sole user of this missile in Europe so far, as Aeronautica Militare has been one of the AARGM project participants, alongside the US Navy. Germany, on the other hand, has expressed its interest in potential acquisition of the missile in question.
Meanwhile, the US Navy asked the Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems company (formerly known as Orbital ATK) to develop a new AARGM-ER variant of the missile. It is planned that its range will be doubled, comparing to today’s AARGM. Furthermore, the missile is to fit inside the weapon bays of the fifth-generation aircraft. All of the above means that the AARGM programme is being continuously developed.
Development of the AARGM missiles is directly related to the combat experience gathered with regards to acting against enemy radars and air defence systems. AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) has been used within that role. Missiles as such are guided towards the source of electromagnetic (radar) emission. However, conflicts in Iraq and Kosovo have shown that the enemy may effectively protect his radars by disabling the sensor for the duration of the strike. In circumstances as such the rocket was losing the lock-on and often tracked a different signal source. The issue was to be resolved by making use of the heavily upgraded HARM design fitted with a new guidance system.
AARGM for Poland
The decision made by Poland to acquire the AARGM missile and the AARGM-ER modernized version, should such course of action be accepted by the US Government, would provide the Polish Air Force with a range of new capabilities. Not only can missiles as such be used to suppress and destroy the enemy air defence system, as they could also be employed to destroy other critical targets at a distance of around 110 kilometres (basic variant of the missile). The AARGM missile itself also acts as a passive sensor, until it is launched.
At the moment Italy is introducing the AARGM missile into their inventory. Rome participated in financing and implementation of the programme, jointly with the US Navy. In April 2018 AARGM was launched from an Italian Tornado ECR jet for the first time. The Germans are also planning to introduce this missile on Tornadoes. The German aircraft currently utilize the HARM missile, similarly to the USAF jets. AARGM would then become a NATO standard in two of the most important European allied countries responsible for SEAD operations. Meanwhile, Poland plans to acquire this type of armament as well. (end of excerpt)
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