Pentagon teams with Italy to develop anti-radiation missile

MINNEAPOLIS, 16 Nov. 2005. The Italian Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to create a partnership for the joint development of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), according to Alliant Techsystems (ATK).

Nov 16th, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS, 16 Nov. 2005. The Italian Ministry of Defense has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to create a partnership for the joint development of the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), according to contractor Alliant Techsystems (ATK).

AARGM is the follow-on to the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). It will enhance the warfighter's capability to defeat enemy air defenses and strike other time sensitive targets through a cost-effective upgrade to existing HARM missiles.

"AARGM is assigned the task of defeating enemy air defenses, and when it enters service it will immediately become the most advanced anti-radiation air-to-ground weapon system in the arsenals of the U.S. Navy and participating allied nations," said Captain Mark Converse, USN Program Manager, PMA-242. "We are pleased to welcome Italy to the team and look forward to the many contributions Italian industry will make as we proceed with development."

The Italian Government will provide approximately $20 million of developmental funding. In addition, it will make several million dollars worth of non-financial contributions, including surrogate targets/simulators.

ATK's Italian industry partners will develop, manufacture and deliver real and surrogate air defense systems for use in a dedicated seeker captive flight test program. The cooperative development team will conduct this program at the flight test center at Pratica di Mare, Italy and Sardinia range facilities.

The Italian industry partners will also support the AARGM program by providing an appropriate aircraft to be used by the Italian Air Force for the captive flight tests of the AARGM seeker assembly, as well as supplying requisite CFT support services for the duration of the captive flight program in Italy. Additionally, Italian industry will be tasked to modify, assemble, integrate, and test prototype AARGM common control sections, and perform synthetic target signature studies and analysis.

The Italian Air Force plans to deploy the AARGM missiles on their Tornado Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft.

"When carrying ATK's AARGM under its wing, the Italian Tornado ECR will have unmatched capability to perform Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) missions," said Brian Lawrence, vice president for International Cooperative Programs at ATK.

The Italian Air Force is expected to ultimately procure approximately 250 AARGM systems. The U.S. Navy is expected to procure approximately 1,750 systems. Several other allied nations have also expressed interest in the weapon system.

ATK is a $3.1 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 14,500 people in 23 states. For more information, see www.atk.com.

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