As recently announced by the Navy, a new test involving the AARGM-ER and a F/A-18 Super Hornet was performed with great results, at the end of last month, at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. During the demonstration, an F/A-18 Super Hornet conducted a captive carry flight (a type of test where the missile does not separate from the carrier aircraft) with an AARGM-ER, for the first time.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet performed a series of aerial maneuvers, which allowed participants to observe and evaluate if the guided missile was able to properly communicate with the aircraft. According to the official statement, the test was able to demonstrate an overall compatibility between the F/A-18 and the missile.
While the AARGM-ER weapon is still in its manufacturing phase, regular tests are an important way of collecting data, in order to improve the process. Like the previous version, this optimized missile has an expanded target set, counter-shutdown capability, and is able to provide improved detection and locating. But, for even better performance, it’s built with a new rocket motor and warhead that give it a longer range.
The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet is considered the Navy’s main strike and air superiority aircraft, also an upgraded version of the previous F-18C/D. Larger and heavier, this new Super Hornet was designed to provide a higher range and better endurance levels than the original model.
The AARGM-ER weapon is compatible with the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft and will also be integrated on the supersonic F-35 fighter jet.