Electronic Weapons: October 28, 2000


: Seeking a more lethal version of the HARM anti-radar missile, the US Navy is working on the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile or AARGM. This missile has both active and passive seekers. When first launched, the missile uses its passive mode to track the enemy radar. The missile flies a curved course, allowing it to triangulate the position of the radar so that it can get a fix on its location should it stop radiating. Once the missile approaches this area, it activates an active millimeter-wave radar designed to find large metal objects, such as radar dishes, power generators, control vans, or missiles on launchers. In the first stage of development, the weapon will target the radar dish as this is the easiest to find, identify, and destroy. It is also the easiest part of an air defense site for the enemy to replace, so later developments of AARGM be programmed to find and attack the more important elements. Other possible improvements to HARM, some of which would be applied to AARGM, include:

@ Quickbolt is a second-generation AARGM, which would receive targeting information just before launch and would transmit data on how solid a target fix it has just before impact. That would give the launching unit a better idea of whether the missile has taken out the air defense unit. Quickbolt should reach the field by 2006.

@ The Navy wants to install a more powerful warhead on HARM, and also use it on AARGM and Quickbolt. Since missile size is limited, extra oomph would come from using a reactive materials warhead.

@ Another improvement that could be added to HARM, AARGM, and/or Quickbolt is an improved rocket motor capable of driving the missile at Mach-3+ and engaging a target from a longer range. Experiments with new rocket motors won't be funded until 2002 and are expected to take four years.--Stephen V Cole


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