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Air-Launched Weapons

Italian Air Force finalises AARGM OT&E campaign

11 April 2018
A Panavia Tornado ECR from the AMI’s 155th ETS (Electronic Warfare Tactical Suppression) Group on station at the US Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake as part of the operational evaluation and testing (OT&E) campaign for Italy’s AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) Block 1 supersonic air-to-surface missile system. Source: AMI (Italian Air Force)

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has finalised the operational evaluation and testing (OT&E) of its AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) Block 1 supersonic air-to-surface missile system with a live fire campaign at the US Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake Land Ranges in California during Exercise ‘Blazing Shield 2018’.

Commencing 2 April, a Panavia Tornado ECR (Electric Combat / Reconnaissance) aircraft from the AMI 155th ETS (Electronic Warfare Tactical Suppression) Group – attached to a contingent of nine AM platforms, including AMI Eurofighter Typhoons and a Spartan C-27J, assigned to NAWS as part of the exercise – conducted two successful live firings of the AARGM missile.

The ECR platform – a Tornado variant devoted to Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions – was piloted by a NAWS test crew, while a team from the Italian Air Force Test Wing (Reparto Sperimentale Volo: RSV) managed all phases related to the use of the missile from the China Lake Range Control Center, the AMI said in a release.

The AGM-88E AARGM – a US Department of Defense Acquisition Category ACAT 1C (Component) programme between the US Navy (USN) and the AMI – is the development upgrade of the AGM-88B/C High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) missile.

Baseline capabilities include an expanded target set, counter-shutdown capability, advanced signals processing for improved detection and locating, geographic specificity providing aircrew the opportunity to define missile-impact zones and impact-avoidance zones, and a weapon impact-assessment broadcast capability providing for battle damage assessment cueing.

Specifically, AARGM Block 1 introduces multimode terminal guidance, Digital Terrain Elevation Database-aided GPS/INS navigation, net-centric connectivity, a modified control section, and a weapons impact assessment transmitter.

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