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.
The LRIP decision follows the Milestone C approval of the AARGM-ER development 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 navy 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.