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Orbital to produce 271 anti-radar missiles for US Navy and Australia

Orbital ATK was awarded a $171 million contract modification produce high-speed anti-radiation missiles for the U.S. Navy and government of Australia, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.

The $171,215,447 contract is a modification to a previously awarded contract from 2017. The modification exercises an option for conversion of 271 AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles into 253 Navy AGM-88E AARGM all-up-rounds; eight Captive Air Training Missiles; and 10 AGM-88E AARGM AURs for foreign military sales customers, as well as related supplies and services necessary for manufacture, spares and fleet deployment.

The AGM-88E is a medium-range air-to-ground missile developed for the U.S. and Italy. Its primary role is to target enemy defenses and shut down electronics transmissions from surface-to-air radar systems with minimal operator input.

Orbital ATK designed the AGM-88E as an upgrade to the AGM-88 High-Speed, Anti-Radiation Missile system (HARM) developed in 1985 by Texas Instruments. It features a millimeter wave radar terminal seeker and Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System guidance.

It is compatible with all variants of the F-18, Tornado, F-16 and EA-6B and can be carried externally on the F-35.

Work is expected to be completed in March 2020. The U.S. Navy will use procurement funds from fiscal years 2016-2018, and the government of Australia will contribute $6,878,262, or 4 percent of the contract. Italy will contribute $1.5 million, or 1 percent.

In 2015, the U.S. approved Australia’s request to purchase up to 14 AGM-88B and 16 AGM-88E missiles at a cost of $69 million. Last year the State Department approved a $137.6 million request for anti-radiation missiles, including 70 of the AGM-88B and up to 40 AGM-88E.

Australia requested the missiles for its electronic attack EA-18G Growler aircraft for current and future coalition efforts and as a deterrent to regional threats, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said at the time.

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