Low-rate initial production awards for the US Navy's (USN's) AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) are anticipated in the next quarter following Milestone C approval on 23 August.
Milestone C is a Milestone Decision Authority-led review in the US defence acquisition process, which determines if a programme has met the exit criteria at the end of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase enabling it to proceed to the Production and Deployment phase. The USN awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation USD322.5 million for the EMD phase of the AARGM-ER programme in March 2019. The AARGM-ER Critical Design Review was finalised in February 2020, with the Initial Product Baseline design for the missile completed in April the same year. With Milestone C now approved, the USN plans “to award the first two low-rate initial production lots over the next several months”, US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced on 25 August.
“The combined government/industry team has worked tirelessly over the last few years to reach this milestone,” said Captain Alex Dutko, Direct and Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242) programme manager at NAVAIR. “We look forward to getting this new weapon with its increased capability and lethality out to the fleet as soon as possible.”
Led by the USN, the AARGM-ER programme is a range evolution of the in-service/in full-rate production AGM-88E Block 1 AARGM, which leverages existing AGM-88E subsystems and components, including the sensors and electronics, but introduces an increased diameter airframe, a new rocket motor, a new control actuation system, and a new warhead design.