US Navy contract kicks off AARGM-ER Lot 1 LRIP

by Robin Hughes

The US Navy conducted the first live-fire test of an AARGM-ER from an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet over the sea test range at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California, on 19 July. (US Navy)

Low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) is set to commence with the award by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) of a USD41.2 million contract to Alliant Techsystems Operations (a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman) for the procurement of Lot 1 LRIP.

Announced on 14 September, the Lot 1 contract provides for the production and delivery of 16 AGM-88G AARGM-ER All Up Rounds, six AGM-88G AARGM-ER Captive Air Training Missiles, four Common Munitions BIT Reprogramming Equipment Plus interface devices, initial spares, and required supplies and support. Work on this is expected to be finalised in March 2024.

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Update: USAF advances SCIFiRE development

by Robin Hughes

The US Air Force (USAF) Future Hypersonics office in late August/early September exercised follow-on contract options with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon Technologies to mature a conventionally armed solid-rocket boosted, air-breathing, hypersonic air-launched cruise missile prototype to Preliminary Design Review stage for the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) project.

The awards – amounting to USD39.6 million, USD27.1 million, and USD27.9 million respectively – are modifications to Phase 1 contracts awarded in June this year, which saw the SCIFiRE programme achieve the System Requirements Review milestone. The cumulative value of the awards is USD47.2 million, USD33.5 million, and USD33.7million respectively, with work expected to be completed by 31 August 2022 (Boeing, Lockheed Martin) and 2 September 2022 (Raytheon, in partnership with Northrop Grumman). Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman signed a teaming agreement in June 2019 to develop, produce, and integrate Northrop Grumman's scramjet combustors to power Raytheon's air-breathing hypersonic weapons.

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DSEI 2021: Fabrique Nationale displays FN EVOLYS LMG for first time in UK

by Thomas Ford

Fabrique Nationale (FN) Herstal displayed its new FN EVOLYS light machine gun (LMG) at DSEI 2021 on 14 September, marking the first time the weapon was displayed in the UK.

Kristof Verjans, one of FN's demonstration team, showcased the self-correcting lateral feed system of the EVOLYS, which eliminates any risk of the weapon being improperly loaded by a user under stress, with the feed tray designed to work with the feed cover to push the rounds into the correct position and retaining them with spring loaded brackets.

Verjans also demonstrated the new hydraulic buffer system, which is integrated into the working parts of the weapon, departing from previous FN machine gun designs where the buffer was part of the rear of the receiver. The buffer, like the feed system, is also self-correcting and self-regulating, automatically maintaining a constant rate of fire regardless of the calibre the weapon is chambered in or how long the weapon has been firing.

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DSEI 2021: TDW's PARM 1 seeks comeback

by Riccardo Cociani

The mock-up of the PARM 1 with an IR sensor displayed at DSEI. (Janes/Riccardo Cociani)

TDW GmbH, a subsidiary of MBDA Germany, publicly displayed its Automated Anti-Tank Weapon (PARM) for the first time at the DSEI show in London on 14–17 September, marking a de facto relaunch for a system that was developed in the 1980s.

The company displayed a PARM 1 with a mock-up infrared (IR) sensor fitted to a new accessory rail to show an alternative way of triggering the off-route mine, which is normally initiated when a vehicle crushes a fibre-optic cable strung out across its path or manually using a command wire. The IR sensor would enable it to be programmed so that it allows a pre-set number to pass by before it fires.

Christoph Schwarz, TDW Business Development Marketing & Contract representative, told Janes only prototypes of the IR sensor have been developed so far. Concepts for radar, magnetic, and seismic sensors are also being worked on, he added. TDW developed similar concepts in the 1990s, such as replacing the fibre-optic cable with a combination of an acoustic and a passive/active IR sensors.

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Low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended ...

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