The US Navy (USN) issued a sole-source contract notification for the commencement of low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the Northrop Grumman AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) on 31 March.
A model of the AARGM-ER missile being used for a fit check in an F-35 weapons bay. (Northrop Grumman)
The notification, posted by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on the beta.sam.gov website, says that it is to award the LRIP 1 contract for the AARGM-ER air-to-surface missile to Alliant TechSystems Operations LLC, also referred to as Northrop Grumman Defense Systems (NGDS).
“NAVAIR intends to award a sole source Fixed-Price-Incentive Fee (FPIF) contract […] for the procurement of all tasks required to manufacture, fabricate, assemble, inspect, test, integrate and deliver the AGM-88G AARGM-ER All-Up Rounds (AUR), AGM-88G Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), spares, support equipment, and Special Test Equipment (STE); and to provide programme management, systems engineering, system safety, configuration management, quality assurance, and integrated logistics support,” the command said.
The notification did not disclose numbers, timelines, or an estimated contract value.
The baseline AGM-88E AARGM significantly improves on the Raytheon AGM-88B/C High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) that preceded it, with an enhanced field-of-view that affords the missile sharper target-detection capabilities. The addition of a millimetre-wave (MMW) radar enables radar imagery to be tracked and recorded, while GPS/INS navigation allows for missile tracking to continue in the event of the enemy radar being shut down. The second-generation AARGM-ER improves on this still further with increased range, altitude, speed, survivability, and effectiveness against future threats.