The US Navy has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to continue production of AGM-88E2 advanced anti-radiation guided missiles (AARGMs).

The $153m contract is for full-rate production (FRP) lots 10 and 11 of the missiles.

The missiles will be delivered to the US Navy and German Air Force under the possible foreign military sales (FMS) programme.

Northrop Grumman advanced weapons vice-president Gordon Turner said: “As threats continue to evolve, AARGM remains an affordable solution to continue protecting the US Navy and our allies with their critical missions every day.

“The ability to detect and defeat the rapid proliferation of today’s surface-to-air-threats, while remaining out of harm’s way, is paramount to mission success.”

The AARGM missile provides a ‘supersonic, air-launched tactical missile’ system that converts AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs) systems with capability to destroy enemy air defence systems.

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The weapon system can quickly engage both land and sea-based air-defence threats.

Northrop has so far produced over 1,500 AARGMs for the international cooperative acquisition programme with the US Navy and the Italian Air Force.

Northrop Grumman is also developing the AARGM – extended range (AARGM-ER) in partnership with the US Navy.

AARGM-ER is equipped with a new rocket motor and warhead. It is designed to provide advanced capability to identify and engage long-range adversary air defence systems.

In August this year, AARGM-ER secured Milestone C approval. This milestone allows the AARGM-ER programme to enter the first stage of production.