Germany Acquires AARGM Missiles

July 5, 2019, 13:03
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Image Credit: Northrop Grumman

The US government approved sales of almost 100 AARGM effectors to Germany. Maximum pricetag has been defined as USD 122 million. The missiles will be manufactured with the use of the components of the legacy HARM missiles that remain in the Luftwaffe’s stock.

US State Department approved potential sales of 91 AGM-88E AARGM (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile) missiles and eight training AGM-88E AARGM CATM (Captive Air Training Missile) effectors.

The sale, with a pricetag of up to USD 122.86 million, is to take place via the FMS and with support of NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), which has been requested by the Germans. The Congress still needs to issue an approval concerning this procurement. The relevant documents have already been filed in by DSCA (Defense Security Cooperation Agency). The total amount associated with the transaction may be lower and it would depend on the FMS negotiation. 

If the procurement takes place, the German military would receive six telemetry systems, flight recorders, specialist, technical, logistics and software support packages, as well as all of the required auxiliary systems. The Americans emphasize the fact that the German military will have no problem whatsoever in adopting and operationally employing the new equipment. Luftwaffe already operates the US-made  AGM-88B HARM (High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile) effectors, the first lot of which was introduced into the Luftwaffe’s inventory as early as in 1988.

AARGM missiles are a derivative of the AGM-88B. Furthermore, they are to be manufactured with the use of the German HARMs that remain in stock. AARGM missiles have been acquired by Italy in a similar manner. The Italians also introduced the new effectors with the use of the legacy HARMs. The Italians received the first AARGM missiles back in 2013, becoming the first participant of the project. 

As a result of that programme a new seeker has been developed and coupled with a dual GPS/INS navigation system which makes it possible to engage threats even after the emitter is turned off. The missile has also been fitted with a millimeter radar that is use in the terminal phase of engagement (especially when the missile is used against moving targets). The effector is also capable of transmitting the target picture via the satellite link, shortly before the target is destroyed. The whole system has been so far integrated on the F/A-18C/D, F/A-18E/F, EA-18G, Tornado ECR and F-35 MRCA. The solutions developed jointly by Italy and the US have already been put into use by the Australians, and Germany comes next.

NGIS (Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems) facility based in Ridgecrest, California, is to act as the main contractor. The facility in question had been previously known as Orbital ATK. The DSCA’s release states that no offset deal is expected in case of this transaction. Nonetheless, Northrop Grumman is considering to work together with the German Diehl Defence company, within the scope of this order. A memorandum on cooperation with regards to the aforesaid matter has been signed back in 2015. NETMA working on the Tornado programme is going to integrate AARGMs on the German Tornado aircraft in parallel to the FMS procurement of the missile. The relevant agreement within that scope would be signed with Northrop Grumman, in line with DCS (Direct Commercial Sale) procedure.

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