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 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 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.
«This first flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase», said Captain 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 extended range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.
AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C Lightning II.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $322.5 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) program.
The AARGM-ER program is leveraging the AARGM that is currently in production. The AARGM-ER will be integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and configured for internal carriage on the F-35 Lightning II.
«AARGM-ER extended range coupled with AARGM lethality will meet a critical defense suppression requirement while protecting our strike aviators», said Cary Ralston, vice president, defense electronic systems, Northrop Grumman.
AARGM is an air-launched missile with the capability to rapidly engage air-defense threats. AARGM is currently deployed with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. AARGM is also integrated on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado Electronic Combat aircraft.