Northrop Grumman to use open-systems architecture in guidance processor card missile upgrade to AARGM-ER

May 12, 2021
The circuit card is part of a form, fit, and function open-systems architecture upgrade to the control section of the AARGM-ER radar-killing missile.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Missile experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will design a new guidance processor circuit card assembly for the U.S. military AGM-88G radar-killing missile, according to a sole-source order announced last month.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Woodland Hills, Calif., to design, develop, and complete prototype testing of a new guidance processor circuit card for the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER).

The new circuit card is part of a form, fit, and function replacement in the control section of the AARGM-ER. For this project Northrop Grumman experts will use the open-systems architecture approach. The value of the order has yet to be negotiated.

The missile upgrade project also includes the integration and delta qualification of the NAVSTRIKE-M Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and reprogramablity functionality on completion of an advanced configuration of the AGM-88E anti-radar missile.

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The new circuit board design for the AARGM-ER will address parts obsolescence, system security enhancements, reprogramablity, and support future growth capabilities using an open-systems architecture. Improvements will be cut into the AGM-88G production during low-rate initial production (LRIP) III.

The Navy is awarding this order to Northrop-Grumman sole-source because the company, as the AARGM-ER prime contractor, is considered to be the only responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy military requirements.

The AGM-88G AARGM-ER is a new and advanced radar-killing missile designed to enable the Navy F/A-18G Growler and F-35C jet fighter-bombers, as well as the U.S. Air Force F-35A jet fighter-bomber, to suppress enemy air defenses preceding bomber attacks.

The AARGM-ER is an advanced and extended-range version of the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). It is a new variant of the AGM-88E missile that equips Navy carrier-based fighter-bombers and electronic warfare jets. HARM was a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missile, which was in service from 1965 to 1992.

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AARGM is a supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile compatible with U.S. and allied strike aircraft. The AARGM-ER missile features several upgrades to the AGM-88E that focus on extending the weapon's operational range and survivability.

The AARGM-ER replaces the missile's rocket motor and tail to increase its range, while keeping the sensors and electronics of the AARGM-88E, which are being upgraded in a separate project. The AARGM-ER missile is scheduled to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) and start being fielded to Navy squadrons in 2023.

AARGM-ER uses the existing guidance system and warhead of the AGM-88E with a solid integrated rocket-ramjet for double the range. The new missile uses the AARGM's warhead and guidance systems, and uses a more powerful propulsion system that reportedly increases range over the AGM-88E by 20 to 50 percent, which would give the AGM-88G a range of about 96 to 120 nautical miles.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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