Northrop Grumman has secured a contract from the US Navy to initiate low rate initial production (LRIP) of a new extended range anti-radiation guided missile.

The new missile, AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER), is an upgraded version of the currently fielded AARGM.

The extended range version also incorporates certain hardware and software modifications to improve survivability and effectiveness against future threats.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

The Air Force F-35A, Marine Corps F-35B and Navy F-35C aircraft will also be equipped with this new missile.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor of AARGM-ER and it worked with a team of US Navy and industry partners to develop a production missile design.

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Navy Program Manager for Direct Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242) captain Alex Dutko said: “LRIP marks a significant step forward for AARGM-ER and the confidence the US Navy has in the programme and its capabilities.

“AARGM-ER will provide the US Navy and our allies with unmatched protection.”

Northrop Grumman advanced weapons vice-president Gordon Turner said: “The evolution of the AARGM family with AARGM-ER is a major step in our ability to provide the US and our allies with a superior capability to detect and defeat adversary air defence threats.

“This milestone underscores the exceptional effort and professionalism demonstrated by the government and industry team.”

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman secured an order to deliver 18 additional GQM-163A ‘Coyote’ supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicles to US Navy.