The U.S. Navy has extended the original contract with Orbital ATK for their production of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers by adding 556 more units expected to be delivered by 2023. According to the latest acquisition report by Pentagon, the extended contract is for an increase in planned production quantities for the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) multi-mode seekers from the original 2003 objective of 1879 units to the now proposed 2435 units in addition to the 40 test units with the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet among the aircrafts testing the AGM-88E.
This new directive will skyrocket program costs from $484.8 million to a little over $2 billion dollars. This missile modification directive was jointly developed by both the USA and by Italy to improve upon the effectiveness and efficiency of the legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants that were often deployed and employed against fixed and relocatable enemy radar and communication sites.
The legacy Raytheon AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) variants were especially useful and effective against those that would automatically shut down to throw off detection from incoming anti-radiation missiles. The new Orbital ATK AARGM is not only compatible with all F/A-18 models and the EA-18G Growler, but is also compatible with the F-16, EA-6B, Panavia Tornado and will be carried externally on the F-35. It will also be attached to the existing Mach-2 capable rocket motor and warhead section. This will allow it to add a passive anti-radiation homing receiver coupled with the satellite/inertial navigation system and a millimeter wave radar for the terminal guidance. This will allow the new seeker to beam up images of a target via satellite link in just seconds before impact.
The Orbital ATK AARGM went into full-rate production in 2012 and with the new proposed extension to by the U.S. Navy contract to Orbital ATK production is set to continue well into the fiscal year of 2023. Raytheon also produces an alternative modification kit known as the HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM) that it supplies to the U.S. Air Force in conjunction with U.S. Navy.