Alliant Techsystems [ATK], the U.S. Navy, and the Italian Air Force this month successfully completed another missile firing of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the company said yesterday.
The missile test firing was the first of two “Operational Assessment” firings supporting Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) decision later this calendar year, according to ATK.
AARGM was launched off-axis at medium altitude from an F/A-18D Hornet aircraft. In the operationally-realistic scenario, AARGM successfully demonstrated capability against sophisticated counter-ARM (anti-radiation missile) measures, discriminating the air defense system target in a cluttered environment and guiding to lethal range, ATK said.
During the profile, AARGM used its precision navigation to stay clear of designated impact avoidance zones, a key feature employed to prevent engagement of sensitive, neutral, or friendly regions. The firing demonstrated the weapon system’s maturity and provided critical data in support of the upcoming Milestone C LRIP decision, the company added.
ATK participated in the test in partnership with the Navy’s Integrated Test Team, led by the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242). The team also includes members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division-China Lake, the Naval Air Systems Command, and the Italian Air Force, according to ATK.
With this recent firing, AARGM has achieved 10 successful live fires and numerous captive carry flights against a wide array of targets, ATK said.
AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile that will be integrated on the F/A-18 C/D, F/A-18 E/F, EA-18G and Tornado IDS/ECR aircraft. The missile is also designed for compatibility with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, EA-6B Prowler and U.S. and Allied F-16 Falcon aircraft. Its advanced multi-sensor system, including a Millimeter Wave (MMW) terminal seeker, advanced digital Anti-Radiation Homing (ARH) receiver and a GPS/INS, is capable of rapidly engaging traditional and advanced enemy air defense targets as well as non-radar time-sensitive strike targets. The AARGM MMW seeker can operate in concert with the ARH to counter RF shutdown tactics, or in a stand-alone mode to guide to non-emitting time sensitive targets. AARGM is a network-enabled weapon that will directly receive tactical intelligence information via an embedded receiver and transmits real-time Weapon Impact Assessment (WIA) reports before impact. AARGM, the successor to the U.S. Navy AGM-88 HARM system, is a U.S. and Italian cooperative major acquisition program with the U.S. Navy as the executive agent, ATK said.