The US Navy has successfully conducted the first captive carry flight test of a Northrop Grumman AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18E Super Hornet flight test aircraft.
The June 1 test saw an instrumented missile body tested through a series of aerial manoeuvres, flight conditions and speed regimes aboard the Super Hornet. The missile is designed to kill adversary radar-guided anti-aircraft systems by homing in on the system’s radar.
“This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase,” US Navy Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242) lead, Capt Mitch Commerford said in a NAVAIR release. “Data collected from this testing will inform the planned build-up and overall expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER.”
The AARGM-ER is an advanced development of the AGM-88 HARM which entered service in 1985, and adds a new aerodynamic lifting body and rocket motor to the latest AGM-88E AARGM’s enhanced sensors and software. It will be integrated with the US Navy’s Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, USAF F-16CJ/CGs, and is planned for all variants of the F-35 as well after successful test fits in the F-35A/C weapons bays.
Australia operates the AGM-88B HARM and AGM-88E AARGM on its EA-18Gs, and is a logical future customer for the AARGM-ER variant on the Growler and F-35A when the missile becomes operational from 2024.