Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary Alliant Techsystems Operations has received a $167m contract from the US Navy to produce the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM).

The contract for the Lot 8 Full-Rate Production of the missile includes options for increased quantities for the Department of the Navy, and missiles for the Italian Air Force and foreign military sales.

Alliant Techsystems will convert the AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missiles into 260 AGM-88E AARGM all-up-rounds and three captive air training missiles.

The work also includes supplies and services needed for production, as well as spares and fleet deployment of the missiles.

Northrop Grumman defense electronic systems vice-president and general manager Cary Ralston said: “AARGM is able to rapidly engage air-defence threats. We are proud to provide our warfighters with this advanced and affordable capability.”

The AARGM is a joint acquisition programme between the US Navy and the Italian Air Force.

The missile is in service with the US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the Italian Air Force.

It is compatible with the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the Italian Air Force’s Tornado Electronic Combat aircraft.

The company will perform the contract work in Northridge and Ridgecrest, with completion expected in March 2022.

The AGM-88E weapon system can be deployed to engage and destroy enemy air defences and time-critical, mobile targets.

The supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile is an upgraded variant of the AGM-88 High-Speed, Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) system.

It is equipped with an advanced, digital, anti-radiation homing sensor, a millimeter-wave (MMW) radar terminal seeker, and precise Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) guidance.

Other key features include net-centric connectivity and Weapon Impact Assessment transmit (WIA).

The US recently approved the sale of AGM-88E AARGM and captive air training missiles (CATM) to Germany.