NAVAIR’s advanced weapon for destruction of enemy air defenses, AGM-88E, was recently approved to go into production.
The Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapons Program (PMA 242) on Sept. 30 received Navy approval for its AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) to enter Low Rate Initial Production. The milestone C decision was achieved within the original program schedule approved at Milestone B in 2003 and initiates production of a highly lethal “destruction of enemy air defenses” (DEAD) capability for Naval Aviation forces.
The first AARGM missile, produced by Alliant Techsystems (ATK), will be fielded in late 2010.
“This missile provides a game-changing capability that allows first strike forces to transform from a suppression role to a role of direct destruction of enemy air defenses,” said Cmdr. Pat Smith, deputy program manager for AARGM. “We are not just temporarily silencing the enemy, we are removing them from the fight.”
AARGM is a stand-off air-to-ground weapon. An ACAT IC program, it is an upgrade to the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). The AARGM program developed and demonstrated a new guidance section, and modified the existing control section for the HARM airframe to enhance overland and maritime strike capability for targeting enemy air defenses while minimizing collateral damage.
AARGM allows weapon employment at sufficient standoff ranges with “launch-and-leave” autonomous operation. AARGM provides the capability to receive Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) data, that will provide second source threat information and improve situational awareness. The missile also aids in battle damage assessment by transmission of a Weapons Impact Assessment (WIA) report which includes missile status and location data just prior to impact.
“This significant advancement in capability is a result of a team effort between the U.S. Navy, ATK and the Italian Air Force,” said program manager Capt. Larry Egbert. “AARGM is a cooperative development program with the Italian Air Force, which will integrate its capabilities on the Tornado aircraft. Together, we are leaning forward to get this critical weapon in the hands of our warfighters.”