PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy plans to award a full-rate production contract to ATK for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command said the award for the medium-range, supersonic air-launched tactical missile will be given this year with delivery of the missiles expected in 2013.
The impending action follows the Navy's authorization for full-rate production of the weapon.
"This system will truly enhance our warfighting capability," said Cmdr. Chad Reed, Anti-Radiation Missile deputy program manager for the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office 242. "AARGM will help keep our warfighter safe and reduce the time we spend in conflict."
The AARGM underwent Navy Initial Operational Test and Evaluation this year. Live rounds and training missiles were then delivered to the fleet.
A U.S. Marine Corps F/A 18 squadron will be the first forward-deployed unit to operate with AARGM, NAVAIR said.
"AARGM is designed to increase our warfighting capabilities in neutralizing enemy air defenses and will provide aircrew with an additional tool for the Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defense mission," Reed said.
The FRP contract, expected to be awarded this year, will be for 72 missiles for U.S. Navy and nine missiles for the Italian air force.