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Lockheed Martin awarded contract to integrate AARGM-ER into F-35 programme


On the 23rd of November, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has been awarded a $9,326,062 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Long Range Systems Division seeking to integrate the Navy Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) into the F-35A fighter jet.

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Lockheed Martin awarded contract to integrate AARGM ER into F 35 programme

AARGM-ER concept demonstrator in a F-35A internal weapon bay (Picture source: Northrop Grumman)


The AARGM-ER is a Navy weapon that will provide the F-35A Lightning II advanced suppression of enemy air defenses/destruction of enemy air defenses capability. This contract includes one contract line item number and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.

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. It was originally developed by Texas Instruments as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation when it purchased the defense production business of Texas Instruments.

AGM-88G AARGM-ER

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 has taken place until 2020. 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 AARGM-ER would serve as the basis for the USAF's land-attack Stand in Attack Weapon (SiAW).