The flight test was conducted with separation test vehicle (STV) at Patuxent River Air Station in Maryland, US.

It comes as part of the US Navy’s preparations for the first live fire trial later this year.

According to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the latest trial marked the first time the AARGM-ER weapon demonstrated it could communicate with the F/A-18 E/F aircraft.

NAVAIR noted that the controlled free flight was made possible as the STV used its hardware and software.

Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242) programme manager captain Mitch Commerford said: “Data collected from this testing will support expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER to the full performance envelope of F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“This flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER engineering and manufacturing development phase.”

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During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a set of aerial manoeuvres to examine AARGM-ER’s compatibility with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

AARGM-ER is leveraging the AARGM programme, which is in full-rate production currently, along with the new rocket motor and warhead to provide advanced capability to detect and engage long-range adversary air defence systems.

The programme 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 compatible for integration on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).

In June last year, Northrop Grumman concluded its critical design review (CDR) for the AARGM-ER programme components.

Northrop received US Army contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme of the AGM-88G AARGM-ER in March 2019.