ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The third lot of ATK's Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles enters low-rate production for the U.S. Navy and Italian air force under a $54.4 million award.
AARGM is in the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase and has undergone more than 300 hours of missile flight testing with the Navy in the last 12 months, including more than 200 hours and multiple live fires in the IOT&E phase.
Upon IOT&E phase completion in early 2012, the missile will achieve Initial Operational Capability with the FA-18C/D Hornet aircraft.
ATK said the AARGM is also being integrated into the Navy's EA-18G Growler electronic warfare and FA-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft, as well as the Italian air force Tornado ECR electronic combat and reconnaissance aircraft. As a contributing sensor with advanced lethal defense suppression capability, AARGM is expected to greatly enhance the electronic warfare capabilities for the Growler and the Tornado ECR aircraft.
"The AARGM team continues to make significant progress in demonstrating missile reliability, affordability and overall performance," said Bill Kasting, vice president and general manager of ATK Defense Electronics Systems. "We are focused on ensuring continued success in operational testing and production to deliver AARGM's game-changing capabilities to our warfighters."
ATK started low-rate production for AARGM in 2008 and was awarded a second LRIP contract in 2010. This third LRIP contract award brings the total number of production missiles for the U.S. Navy and Italian air force to 115.
AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile carried on the FA-18, EA-18G and Tornado ECR aircraft. The missile has designed compatibility with the F-35, EA-6B, and U.S. and allied F-16s.
AARGM's advanced multi-sensor system includes a Millimeter Wave terminal seeker, advanced Anti-Radiation Homing receiver and Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System capable of rapidly engaging traditional and advanced enemy air defense threats as well as non-radar time-sensitive strike targets.
The AARGM system, an upgrade to the Navy AGM-88 HARM system, is a U.S. and Italian international cooperative major acquisition program with the Navy as the executive agent.