Northrop Grumman test its anti-aircraft smashing missile for 5th time

Northrop Grumman has successfully tested its special long-range anti-aircraft installation demolishing AARGM-ER missile.
Christopher McFadden
Northrop Grumman completes fifth successful test flight of its AAGRM-ER missile.

U.S. Navy  

Northrop Grumman has announced that it has completed the fifth test flight of its AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER) for the U.S. Navy. According to the company, the missile successfully detected, located, and engaged an advanced, land-based anti-aircraft system.

AARGM is an air-launched, supersonic tactical missile weapon. It is an improvement over the AGM-88 HARM system used by the U.S. Navy and can carry out missions for the Destruction of Enemy Air Defence. AARGM can quickly engage traditional and modern land- and sea-based air defense threats and non-radar, time-sensitive strike targets.

The U.S. Navy's next-generation AARGM Extended Range (AARGM-ER) program from Northrop Grumman builds on the already-in-production AARGM. AARGM-ER will offer the increased capability to detect and engage long-range adversary air defense systems by utilizing AARGM sensors and electronics and adding a new rocket motor and warhead. These missiles enable the U.S. Air Forces to seek and destroy anti-aircraft systems on land and at sea from a greater distance, keeping the aircraft safe from engagement by ground-to-air or sea-to-air missiles. This is important, as currently, only stealth-capable aircraft perform this kind of action. This new missile will again make older, non-stealth-capable aircraft viable for such operations.

Digital modeling is used in the AARGM-ER development, and new high-performance air vehicles with improved propulsion and optimized warheads are built with integrated enhanced AARGM sensors and electronics. The new missile will give the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps a crucial counter-air defense capability to take on sophisticated and far-reaching threats.

At the same time, pilots remain outside of lethal engagement ranges. The William J. Perry Award was recently given to the AARGM-ER government-industry collaboration in recognition of their outstanding contributions to precision strike systems that enhance national security and shape the country's combat edge.

This announcement is interesting in and of itself, but the test also incorporated some other essential aspects of the missile. For example, the test was the first firing of the missile overland against " operationally-representative modern air defense system targets." As announced by Northrop Grumman, this and other tests are in preparation for deliveries of the AARGM-ER to the U.S. Navy sometime in 2024. The missile is being integrated into the  Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G G.

U.S. Navy CAPT Alex Dutko, Navy program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242), said, "AARGM-ER once again demonstrated high-speed employment of lethal effects against an air defense system target. This is another successful step in our government-industry team’s effort to deliver this critical capability to our warfighters.”

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