US Navy contracts Orbital for AARGM-ER missile design work

A model of the AARGM-ER inside the F-35's internal weapons bay. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has awarded Orbital ATK a $9.5 million contract to start design work on the new and improved Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile used by the US Navy and Marine Corps to defeat enemy air defense installations.

The new missile will also fit inside the internal weapons bay of the F-35.

The design contract will see Orbital mature the configuration of the AARGM-ER in preparation for the engineering and manufacturing development phase.

According to a defense department announcement, Orbital will be in charge of designing, developing and qualifying an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) anti-radiation homing (ARH) and millimeter wave (MMW) executive processor circuit card assembly as a form, fit, and functional replacement of the existing AARGM ARH and MMW.

The AGM-88E AARGM, currently in full rate production, is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system that upgrades legacy AGM-88 high speed anti-radiation missile systems with advanced capability to perform destruction of enemy air defense (DEAD) missions.

The AARGM-ER incorporates additional upgrades to improve operational capability including extended range and survivability. The AARGM-ER integrates existing AGM-88E AARGM sensors and electronics with an upgraded rocket motor and tail control system. The AARGM-ER will be compatible with the F/A-18E/F, EA-18G and F-35 with internal weapon’s bay-carriage.

“This contract is a major step in Orbital ATK’s ongoing commitment to advancing AARGM’s counter-air defense capability for the US Navy,” said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Defense Electronic Systems division of the Defense Systems Group. “We are committed to increasing the effectiveness of the warfighter to suppress and destroy enemy air defense threats while remaining safe.”

The AGM-88E AARGM is currently deployed and supporting operational requirements for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. The missile is employed on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Work for the AARGM-ER contract will be performed at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Northridge and Ridgecrest, California.

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