Lockheed Martin will integrate the AARGM-ER missile into the F-35 aircraft.

Lockheed Martin has been selected to integrate AGM-88G high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARM) on F-35 aircraft.

According to an announcement from the United States Department of Defense, the beneficiaries of the initiative will be the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and foreign military sales customers. It covers the A, B and C variants of the multirole fighter aircraft.

In addition to integrating the missiles, Lockheed will establish F-35 Lot 17 reprogramming laboratories for the governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Denmark and the Netherlands will also receive the Lot 17 mission data file updates.

Most of the work for the contract will be performed in Texas, with an expected completion date of March 2026.

“Lot 17” is the designation for the last tranche of F-35 aircraft produced. The US Department of Defense closed an agreement for its production in December 2022.

This “batch” includes 126 aircraft that will be the first iteration to include the TR-3 technical update (Technical Refresh-3), the modernized hardware necessary to boost the Block 4 capabilities. The TR-3 includes a new central processor integrated with increased computing power, a widescreen display in the cabin and an improved memory unit.

Lockheed Martin will integrate the AARGM-ER missile into the F-35 aircraft.

Previously, AGM-88G AARGM-ER missiles were integrated into the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare and air defense suppression aircraft, with flight tests conducted in 2021 and 2022. On the 25th of September 2023, Northrop Grumman announced that it had been selected by the USAF to supply the new anti-radiation missile for the F-35A under the code name SiAW (Stand-in Attack Weapon), based on the AGM-88G AARGM-ER project.

The AARGM-ER is designed for suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) operations, capable of attacking anti-aircraft and missile systems, ballistic and cruise missile launchers, GPS jamming systems and anti-satellite systems in heavily defended areas and environments of denial (A2/AD). The missile incorporates a new 290 mm diameter fuselage and a subsonic ramjet engine that doubles its range from 110 to approximately 220-250 km and increases its maximum speed.

The AGM-88G AARGM-ER missiles are manufactured with a new propulsion set and an improved warhead based on newly produced guidance systems comprising a passive radar signal receiver, satellite navigation, counting system and wave radar millimeters. Unlike the AGM-88E AARGM, in which the propulsion and warhead come from the previous generation’s stored AGM-88 HARM missiles (high-speed anti-radiation missiles).

In January 2018, the US Navy contracted Northrop Grumman to develop the AARGM-ER. On March 18, 2019, the USAF announced collaboration with the US Navy to adapt the AARGM-ER to the F-35A, allocating $163 million for fiscal year 2020. At the same time, the US Navy commissioned additional development by $323 million, with funding allocated through 2020.

In July 2019, the Department of Defense awarded Lockheed Martin a $34.7 million contract to modify the F-35’s internal weapons bays to carry the AARGM-ER. The work, including reinforcement of the fuselage structures, was completed in July 2022. Design and integration work is overseen by the Department of Defense’s PMA-242 (Time Sensitive and Direct Attack) office.

F. Valduga