The US Navy completed another captive carry flight of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER) on an F/A-18 Super Hornet as it prepares for the first live fire trial later this year.
The latest trial took place in April at Patuxent River and marked the first time the AARGM-ER weapon demonstrated it could communicate with the F/A-18 E/F aircraft. The Separation Test Vehicle (STV) used its hardware and software to facilitate the controlled free flight.
During the test, the F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a series of aerial maneuvers in order to evaluate compatibility of the AARGM-ER with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The test points completed during this flight test event substantiated F/A-18 carriage compatibility.
The first captive carry flight of the ARGM-ER on a Super Hornet took place in the summer of 2020.
“Data collected from this testing will support expansion of flight testing with AARGM-ER to the full performance envelope of F/A-18 Super Hornet”, said Capt. Mitch Commerford, program manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike program office (PMA-242). “This flight represents a significant step in the AARGM-ER engineering and manufacturing development phase.”
Commerford said earlier that testing would continue over the next few years in preparation for initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023.
AARGM-ER leverages the AARGM program that is currently in full rate production. It has been upgraded with a new rocket motor and warhead to 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.