U.S. Navy Completes First Captive Carry Flight of AARGM-ER Missile on F/A-18

The U.S. Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft on June 1 at the Patuxent River test range.

During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate the integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

AARGM-ER Missile on Super Hornet
The Navy conducts the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River test range in Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo)

“This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase,” said Capt. Mitch Commerford, who oversees the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). “Data collected from this testing will inform the planned build-up and overall expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER.”

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

The AGM-88G AARGM-ER is an extended-range variant of the AGM-88E AARGM. The AARGM, currently in Full Rate Production (FRP), is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system that upgrades legacy AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) systems with advanced capability to perform Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions.

The developmental contract for the AARGM-ER upgrade was awarded to Orbital ATK in January 2018. Orbital ATK was then acquired by Northrop Grumman.

AGM-88G AARGM-ER
Rendering of an AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER). Northrop Grumman Photo.

The AARGM-ER incorporates additional upgrades to improve operational capability including extended range and survivability. The AARGM-ER integrates existing AGM-88E AARGM sensors and electronics with an upgraded rocket motor, tail control system and warhead.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Growler aircraft, and will also be compatible for integration (internal carriage) on the new F-35A/B/C Lightning II fifth-generation fighter aircraft.



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