The Navy’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) last month received authorization to transition the program into low-rate initial production (LRIP), with initial awards expected in the next few months.

The Milestone C production decision follows the first live-fire test in July of the upgraded AARGM missile from an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and comes just over two years after the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman [NOC] the prime contract for engineering and manufacturing development of the missile, which includes a new rocket motor and warhead.

“We look forward to getting this new weapon with its increased capability and lethality out to the fleet as soon as possible,” Capt. Alex Dutko, program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242), said in a recent statement.

The AGM-88G is being integrated on the Boeing [BA]-built F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Growler aircraft and has begun preliminary integration work on the Lockheed Martin [LMT]-built F-35A fighter for the Air Force (Defense Daily, Aug. 3). The missile will also be integrated into the Marine Corps and Navy variants of the F-35.

The Navy said that it will continue to conduct captive and live fire tests of AARGM-ER through 2022 with initial operating capability planned for 2023.

The AARGM is used to suppress and defeat enemy air defense systems. The Navy in August awarded Northrop Grumman a $95 million Lot 10 full-rate production contract for the AARGM, which precedes the AARGM-ER.