The US Navy intends to award Northrop Grumman a low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract for the delivery of the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER).
According to information posted on the new federal contracts site beta.sam, the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) will award Northrop Grumman funds for the manufacturing, fabrication, test, and integration of AARGM-ER missiles, captive air training missiles and special test equipment.
The announcement did not reveal the value of the contract or the quantity of missiles that will be ordered. The service also did not say when the contract would be awarded, but the solicitation has an expiry date set for April 15, with the funds potentially being awarded by May this year.
“Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements,” the NAVAIR solicitation read. “As the sole designer, developer and manufacturer of the AARGM missile, Northrop Grumman is the only source that currently possesses sufficient requisite knowledge, engineering expertise, aircraft integration information, and technical data required to perform these efforts.”
The LRIP contract would follow a $322.5 million engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract awarded to the company in early 2019.
The AARGM-ER program is an evolution of the AARGM air-launched missile that is currently in production. The missile will be integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and configured for internal carriage on the F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter.
AARGM-ER integrates existing AGM-88E AARGM sensors and electronics with an upgraded rocket motor and tail control system. AARGM is currently deployed with the US Navy and US Marine Corps on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
In January this year, the US Air Force issued a request for information for a “stand-in attack weapon” (SiAW) project that would leverage the AARGM-ER. The SiAW effort would include the “development and integration of a warhead and fuze capable of prosecuting an expanded target set, an active radar homing guidance system and a universal armament interface message set for the SiAW missile and F-35A aircraft,” the RFI said.