The AGM-88G AARGM-ER is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system. Credit: US Navy.
The development of the AGM-88G AARGM-ER was first announced in 2016. Credit: US Navy.
The US Navy executed the first AARGM-ER developmental free flight test from a F/A-18 in July 2021. Credit: US Navy.
The AGM-88G AARGM-ER is an upgraded version of the AGM-88E2 AARGM. Credit: US Navy.

The AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile system developed by Northrop Grumman, a defence technology company based in the US.

The AARGM-ER represents a significant advancement from the AGM-88E2 AARGM, effectively addressing capability gaps resulting from threats that emerged after 2020.

The US Navy aims to achieve the initial operational capability of the missile system by the third quarter of 2024.

AGM-88G AARGM-ER design and features

The air-to-ground missile is 13.8ft long, has a diameter of 10in, a wingspan of 44in, and a weight of 361kg. The missile has a speed exceeding Mach 2.

AARGM-ER uses the existing AARGM components, including sensors, radome, and avionics package and extends the range of the baseline system.

It incorporates a new high-performance air vehicle, upgraded propulsion system, and advanced warhead.

The missile system utilises the AARGM multimode guidance section and a modified GM-88E2 common control section. It also features a larger rocket motor utilising mature technologies and a tail-controlled control actuation system for reduced drag and survivability.

AARGM-ER also offers thermal protection, strakes, and airframe support, meeting extended range and survivability requirements.

AGM-88G AARGM-ER development details

AARGM-ER is classified as an acquisition category IB programme. Its development was first announced in 2016 as an upgrade to the AGM-88E AARGM and the programme officially started in 2017.

Development of the AARGM-ER commenced in March 2019 and reached the critical design review stage in February 2020.

The US Government’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation approved the AARGM-ER Milestone C Test and Evaluation Master Plan in May 2021.

In July 2021, the US Navy conducted a Knowledge Point-Four programme assessment of the missile system, endorsing progression into the production and deployment phase and paving the way for the low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract to be awarded to Northrop Grumman in September 2021.

Northrop Grumman secured a $45.6m contract for the second batch of AARGM-ER LRIP in December 2021.

A $235.69m contract was awarded to Alliant Techsystems Operations, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, in November 2023 for the production of 118 AARGM-ERs under lot three LRIP.

AARGM-ER testing details

In July 2021, the US Navy executed the first AARGM-ER developmental free flight test from a F/A-18, followed by successful mission planning and munition handling demonstrations.

The first live fire of the AARGM-ER from a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet was successfully executed in August 2021.

Northrop Grumman completed the second flight test of the missile system in February 2022, followed by a third test in July 2022, a fourth test in December 2022 and a fifth test in May 2023.

All tests were conducted using the US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet at the Point Mugu Sea Range, located off the coast of Southern California.

The missile is currently being integrated into the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, as well as the Air Force’s F-35A, Marine Corps’ F-35B, and Navy/Marine Corps’ F-35C.

AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range capabilities

The missile system features full destruction of enemy air defence capability, including autonomous detection, target identification, and surface-to-air missile systems destruction.

AARGM-ER employs strike aircraft for weapon delivery from the sanctuary. It features enhanced weapon survivability and is compatible with integration into the F-35 internal bay.

The missile system is compatible with the external carriage of F/A-18E/F, EA-18G, and F-35A/B/C, as well as the internal carriage of F-35A/C. It will also be compatible with future platforms such as the P-8, F-16, and Eurofighter.

AGM-88G AARGM-ER orders

Australia placed an order for 63 AGM-88G AARGM-ERs and related equipment at an estimated cost of $506m in February 2023.

The government of Finland placed an order for 150 AARGM-ERs and related equipment at an estimated cost of $500m in October 2023.

In April 2024, the US State Department announced the foreign military sale of AARGM-ER missiles to the governments of Poland and the Netherlands.

Poland has agreed to buy 360 AGM-88G AARGM-ER missiles for $1.27bn while the Netherlands will acquire 265 AARGM-ER missiles as part of a $700m deal.