December 3, 2023

Northrop Grumman has completed its fifth consecutive successful test of the U.S. Navy’s AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Extended Missile (AARGM-ER) and the first against a target simulating the Advanced Combat Defense System test.

Missiles appear to be fairly simple weapons. They are a tube with a rocket motor on one end and a warhead on the other. However, that description covers many surprisingly complex systems designed for very specialized tasks.

An example is anti-radiation missiles like the AGM-88G. These are designed to detect and lock onto enemy air defense radar antennae and destroy them, blinding the system and opening a hole for friendly aircraft to penetrate unopposed.

Originally developed by Texas Instruments (TI) in 1988, the supersonic AGM-88G has served from the Gulf War to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been released in several models, the latest of which is the AARGM-ER.

As the name suggests, this version has double the range of its predecessor thanks to a more powerful rocket/ramjet propulsion system. Retaining the previous guidance system and warhead, a new fuselage with aerodynamic strakes instead of mid-wings, and digital modeling and integration of advanced AARGM sensors and electronics to identify and track targets.

Additionally, the AARGM-ER can be carried by F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; EA-18G Growlers; F-35A F35B and F35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters; and P-8 Poseidons. In the latest test, the missile detected, identified, located and engaged an advanced ground-based launcher target.

Deliveries of AARGM-ER are expected to begin later this year before entering service in 2024.

“AARGM-ER provides the Navy with the ability to stay ahead of adversary threats,” said Gordon Turner, vice president of advanced weapons at Northrop Grumman. “This successful live fire continues to demonstrate the missile’s range, readiness and effectiveness.”

source: Northrop Grumman