MINNEAPOLIS: Alliant Techsystems, the U.S. Navy, and the Italian Air Force successfully fired an AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on April 13, 2009.
The firing marks the fifth consecutive successful AARGM live fire in the program’s System Development and Demonstration (SD&D) phase and continues AARGM’s progression toward Independent Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) commencing summer 2009. ATK began work on the AARGM program SD&D contract in June 2003 and the program remains on-schedule to enter service with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 2010.
The AARGM was fired from a U.S. Navy FA-18C Hornet in a scenario designed to test the missile’s ability to identify, locate, track and prioritize multiple emitter targets in-flight; and its ability to function against shut-down emitter tactics. During the missile flight profile, the AARGM identified and distinguished a pop-up priority emitter target from other secondary targets and altered its guidance.
Then the AARGM’s unique capability to overcome emitter shut-down tactics was tested by terminating the priority target’s emissions. In response to the emitter shut-down, AARGM utilized its GPS/INS navigation to continue guidance to the primary target location. In the terminal flight phase, the missile employed active Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar to locate and guide on the primary target.
During the final seconds of missile flight, the AARGM transmitted a Weapon Impact Assessment (WIA) message reporting weapon information to support Battle Damage Assessment (BDA). The missile then directly impacted the target.
“We are very proud of the versatility, reliability, and lethality the AARGM system has demonstrated throughout the test program. This is another example of ATK’s ability to deliver on its commitment to affordable precision for our U.S., Italian, and Coalition customers,” said Jack Cronin, President, ATK Mission Systems. “AARGM’s entry into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) this past year, coupled with ATK’s continued development success, ensures our customer’s vision of fielded supersonic Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) and multi-mode strike capability.”
ATK participated in the missile firing as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Integrated Product Team, led by the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242). The test was led by members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division – China Lake and included Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Three One (VX-31), the National Reconnaissance Office, the Naval Air Systems Command, and the Italian Air Force.
“Our international, government-industry team delivered another successful test result today. It is a tribute to the professionalism of the entire development and test team,” said Capt. Larry Egbert, the U.S. Navy’s program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike programs (PMA-242). “We are now one important step closer to entry into Operational Evaluation and delivery of game-changing DEAD capability to our warfighters.”
With this firing, AARGM has now achieved twelve consecutive successful live fires throughout development. The AARGM development team has demonstrated system maturity and reliability in over 200 Beech King Air flight tests and 58 Captive Carriage FA-18 sorties flown against a wide array of targets.
AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile that will be integrated on the FA-18 C/D, FA-18 E/F, EA-18 G and Tornado ECR aircraft. The missile is also being designed to be compatible with the F-35, EA-6B, and U.S. and Allied F-16. Its advanced multi-sensor system includes a Millimeter Wave (MMW) terminal seeker, advanced Anti-Radiation Homing (ARH) receiver and Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) 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 Integrated Broadcast System Receiver (IBS-R) and transmits real-time Weapons Impact Assessment (WIA) reports.
The AARGM system, an upgrade to the U.S. Navy AGM-88 HARM system, is a U.S. and Italian international cooperative major acquisition program with the U.S. Navy as the executive agent. When delivered to Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in November 2010, AARGM will be the only tactical extended-range, supersonic, multi-role strike weapon in U.S. and Italian inventory.
ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 19,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues in excess of $4.6 billion.