The US Navy has announced a successful first flight of the Northrop Grumman AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) recently over its California sea ranges.
The first flight comes after a series of captive flights where the aerodynamic properties of and the interface between the missile on its Super Hornet/Growler aircraft were comprehensively tested.
“This first live fire event is a major step to providing our fleet with the most advanced weapon system to defeat evolving surface-to-air threats, The US Navy’s Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapon (PMA-242) program manager, Capt Alex Dutko said in a NAVAIR release. “Our Navy and Northrop Grumman team has done tremendous work executing this event and ensuring we met all test objectives.”
Felipe Jauregui from the Anti-Radiation Missile Technical Project Office at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake added, “While this event serves as a validation of this hard work, it more importantly gets us one-step closer to making our fleet more lethal. Our engineering and test teams have worked tirelessly with their counterparts across the enterprise and government teams.”
The AARGM-ER is an advanced development of the AGM-88 HARM which entered service in 1985, and its AGM-84E AARGM development which entered service in 2012. It adds a new aerodynamic lifting body and rocket motor to the AGM-88E’s enhanced sensors and software, and is planned to enter low-rate initial production (LRIP) by the end of the 2021.
The AARGM-ER 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.