Orbital ATK is the manufacturer of the AARGM missile (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile), developed within the scope of a programme jointly pursued by the US Navy and the Italian Air Force. AARGM missile guides itself towards a source of radio signals, it may also be guided towards the target with the use of the GPS/INS guidance system coupled with an active millimetre radar.
According to the manufacturer, AARGM is especially useful in SEAD scenarios conducted against IADS. The weapon has been fitted with a passive radar guidance system, localizing and identifying the elements of the enemy air defence systems. INS/GPS portion of the guidance unit makes it possible for the missile to “remember” the target location and to continue the strike even after the enemy radar is turned off, alternatively also allowing the user to attack non-emitting objects (different than radars), should the coordinates of the given target remain known to the operator.
The guidance system is complemented by an active millimetre radar that would search the target area, indicated by the source of emission, during the terminal phase of the missile’s flight. The sensor looks for IADS radars, SAM systems and extra equipment that is included within the integrated air defence solutions. Thanks to the above it would remain possible to destroy the radar or other elements of the IADS, even if the radar that was originally designated as the target was turned off and movement of that radar has begun.
AARGM-ER, an extended range derivative of the AARGM missile, is being developed now. The weapon is expected to be tailored for being carried within the F-35 fighter’s weapons bay. It is assumed that the aforesaid development work would be finalized before 2023-2024.
AARGM missile has been included in the inventory of the US Navy and the USMC now, it is also expected that it is going to be acquired by the Italian Air Force (with IOC planned to be reached next year, in case of the Italian Tornado jets). FMS order concerning the weapon has also been placed by Australia. Moreover, the missile is also on its way to be integrated with the Luftwaffe’s Tornado jets. Furthermore, it is tailored for being used by F-16 and F-15 platforms, and ongoing works assume that it would also be integrated with the Eurofighter.