12:00 AM, August 7, 2008
Alliant Techsystems, the U.S. Navy, and the Italian Air Force successfully completed another challenging missile firing of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on August 3, 2008. The missile test firing was the first of two "Operational Assessment" firings supporting Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) decision later this calendar year. The AARGM was launched off-axis at medium altitude from an FA-18D Hornet. In the operationally-realistic scenario, AARGM successfully demonstrated capability against sophisticated counter-ARM (anti-radiation missile) measures, discriminating the air defense system target in a cluttered environment and guiding to lethal range. During the profile, AARGM used its precision navigation to stay clear of designated impact avoidance zones, a key feature employed to prevent engagement of sensitive, neutral, or friendly regions. The firing demonstrated the weapon system's maturity and provided critical data in support of the upcoming Milestone C LRIP decision. "Today's result demonstrates the versatility and lethality of AARGM in the presence of threat tactics that defeat legacy Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) weapons," said Dave Wise, General Manager and Vice President for ATK Advanced Weapons. "AARGM delivers an affordable, lethal Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD) capability for U.S., Italian, and potentially other Allied Forces through the upgrade of legacy AGM-88 weapons". ATK participated in the test in partnership with the U.S. Navy's Integrated Test Team, led by the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office (PMA-242). The team also includes members from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division -- China Lake, the Naval Air Systems Command -- Patuxent River, Maryland and the Italian Air Force. The test continues the tradition of success established with the Quick Bolt Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration. With this recent firing, AARGM has achieved ten successful live fires and numerous captive carry flights against a wide array of targets. AARGM is a supersonic, air-launched tactical missile that will be integrated on the FA-18 C/D, FA-18 E/F, EA-18G and Tornado IDS/ECR aircraft. The missile is also designed for compatibility with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, EA-6B Prowler and U.S. and Allied F-16 Falcon aircraft. Its advanced multi-sensor system, including a Millimeter Wave (MMW) terminal seeker, advanced digital Anti-Radiation Homing (ARH) receiver and a GPS/INS, is capable of rapidly engaging traditional and advanced enemy air defense targets as well as non-radar time-sensitive strike targets. The AARGM MMW seeker can operate in concert with the ARH to counter RF shutdown tactics, or in a stand-alone mode to guide to non-emitting time sensitive targets. AARGM is a network-enabled weapon that will directly receive tactical intelligence information via an embedded receiver and transmits real-time Weapon Impact Assessment (WIA) reports prior to impact. AARGM, the successor to the U.S. Navy AGM-88 HARM system, is a U.S. and Italian international cooperative major acquisition program with the U.S. Navy as the executive agent. ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 17,000 employees in 21 states and $4.5 billion in revenue.