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US Navy completes first captive carry flight test of Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter


On June 2, 2020, the United States Naval Air Systems Command has announced that U.S. Navy completed the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1, 2020, at the Patuxent River test range.
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US Navy completes first captive carry flight test of Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile on FA 18 Super Hornet fighter 925 001 The Navy conducts the first captive carry flight test of an Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missile on an F/A-18 Super Hornet June 1 at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River test range in Maryland. (U.S. Navy photo)


During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate integration and structural characteristics of the AARGM-ER. Test points were completed across a range of flight conditions to demonstrate carriage compatibility of AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Testing will continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023, he said.

The extended-range variant, which leverages the AARGM program that’s currently in full rate production, has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead. It will provide advanced capability to detect and engage enemy air defense systems.

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G, and will also be compatible for integration on the F-35A/B/C.

The Navy's FY 2016 budget included funding for an extended range AARGM-ER that uses the existing guidance system and warhead of the AGM-88E with a solid integrated rocket-ramjet for double the range. Development funding will last to 2020. The AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems.

In September 2016, Orbital ATK unveiled its extended-range AARGM-ER, which incorporates a redesigned control section and 11.5 in (290 mm)-diameter rocket motor for twice the range and internal carriage on the Lockheed Martin F-35A and F-35C Lightning II. Internal carriage on the F-35B isn't possible due to internal space limitations. The U.S. Navy awarded Orbital ATK a contract for AARGM-ER development in January 2018. The USAF has formally joined the AARGM-ER program and is involved in internal F-35A/F-35C integration work.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet is a naval twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. It has 11 weapon stations which include two additional wing store stations and will support a full range of armaments including AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, guided air-to-ground weapons such as Harpoon, SLAM/SLAM-ER, GBU-10, GBU-51, HARM and Maverick; and free-fall air-to-ground bombs, Mk-76, BDU-48, Mk-82LD, Mk-82HD and Mk-84. The aircraft can also carry the GPS- / inertially guided JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition), JSOW (joint stand-off weapon), and JASSM (joint air-to-surface stand-off missile).