The US Navy has awarded a $322.5m contract to Northrop Grumman for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme of the AGM-88G advanced anti-radiation guided missile-extended range (AARGM-ER).

The contract requires Northrop to design, integrate and test a new solid rocket motor for the AARGM-ER.

ARGM-ER programme builds on the AARGM that is currently in production and will see the integration of the AARGM-ER on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

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

Northrop Grumman defence electronic systems vice-president Cary Ralston said: “AARGM-ER extended range coupled with AARGM lethality will meet a critical defence suppression requirement while protecting our strike aviators.”

The company will perform the majority of contract work in Northridge, California. Completion of the work is expected before the end of 2023.

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“AARGM-ER extended range coupled with AARGM lethality will meet a critical defence suppression requirement while protecting our strike aviators.”

According to Northrop, AARGM is an advanced weapon system that offers the capability to engage and destroy enemy air defences and time-critical, mobile targets.

The supersonic, medium-range, air-launched AARGM missile is currently deployed with the US Navy, US Marine Corps, and Italian Air Force.

Northrop Grumman partnered with European missile manufacturer MBDA to provide the weapon system to the US and approved allied customers.

AARGM is designed to modernise the US Navy’s AGM-88 high-speed, anti-radiation missile system (HARM).

It is equipped with an advanced anti-radiation homing sensor and a millimetre wave (MMW) radar terminal seeker. Other key features include global positioning system/inertial navigation system (GPS/INS) guidance, net-centric connectivity, and weapon impact assessment transmit (WIA).

The missile system can offer extended-range engagement, and organic, in-cockpit emitter targeting capability and situational awareness.