Northrop Grumman has secured a contract from the US Navy for Lot Nine Full-Rate Production (FRP) of the AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM).

Under the $165m contract, the company will produce all-up round missiles and captive air training missiles for the US Navy and foreign military sales.

Northrop Grumman advanced weapons vice-president Gordon Turner said: “AARGM provides the US Navy and allies unmatched protection to detect and defeat surface-to-air-threats regardless of threat tactics and capabilities.”

AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system. Upgraded from AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) systems, it will include an advanced capability to destruct enemy air defence missions.

It is said to be the most advanced system for pilots protecting them against modern surface-to-air threats.

The missile can swiftly engage land and sea-based air-defence threats and deploy highly striking, time-sensitive targets.

With the US Navy as the executive agent, AARGM is developed as part of the navy and Italian Air Force international cooperative major defence acquisition programme.

Currently deployed, the anti-radiation guided missile is supporting the operational requirements of the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

The missile is integrated into the weapons systems on the FA-18C/D Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler aircraft and the Tornado Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft, which is used by the Italian Air Force.

In addition, the AARGM can be configured for internal carriage on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).

In July last year, Northrop Grumman subsidiary Alliant Techsystems Operations won a contract from the US Navy to produce the Lot 8 Full-Rate Production of the missile.