Navy Plans for Extended-Range AARGM in Service by 2023
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Navy is working toward fielding an extended-range version of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) by 2023, the service’s program manager said.
Speaking to reporters April 9 at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition, Capt. Matthew Commerford said the Navy expects development of the AARGM-ER to begin with the award of an engineering and manufacturing development contract at the beginning of fiscal 2019.
“We’ve asked for a speedy solution,” Commerford said.
The AARGM — built by Orbital ATK — is a development of the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile and is used by Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G to attack air-defense radars and missile sites. The ARGM-ER will be a larger-diameter missile and differ significantly in appearance from the ARGM Block 1 missile.
The change in shape will require new separation testing from aircraft. It will use the guidance section, warhead and control section of the AARGM, but will feature a new rocket motor and control actuation system. It also will field a dual-mode seeker sensor.
The new shape of the AARGM-ER will enable it to be carried in the weapons bay of the F-35.
Commerford said the range of the AARGM-ER is classified but that it represents a “significant improvement in range.”
Gordon Turner, vice president for programs and business development for Orbital ATK Defense Electronic Systems, told reporters that the company is in source selection for the AARGM-ER’s rocket motor and control actuation system.
Commerford said the U.S. Air Force has not yet expressed interest in the AARGM-ER version.
The AARGM also is used on Italian Air Force Toronado ECR strike fighters. Italy, a partner in the AARGM program, is finishing up the integration of the Block 1 on its aircraft.
Commerford said that the program has received a letter request from the German government and that there are other nations interested in the AARGM.
The Navy expects to procure the AARGM through 2023. Development of a Block 1A version in the current budget. He said there is no timeline yet for Block 1A development.