Thursday, March 14, 2013

AGM-88E AARGM and GBU-39 SDB to be integrated on Tornado aircraft

NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) and Panavia Aircraft GmbH have signed the MET 27 contract regarding the Tornado aircraft. The work will be carried out in Italy and completed by 2015.

The contract calls for the integration of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) and the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) on the Tornado RET 7 and RET 8 configuration.

The AGM-88E AARGM is the latest version of the AGM-88 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), which is used for Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD).

The medium-range, air-to-ground AARGM was jointly developed by the United States and Italy and has:
  • a length of 417 cm
  • a diameter of 25.4 cm
  • a wingspan of 112 cm
  • a weight of 361 kg
  • a maximum speed of Mach 2+
  • a maximum range of 105 km
The AARGM is guided by a multi-mode seeker, including GPS/INS, passive Anti-Radiation Homing and terminal Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar.

The addition of a Millimeter Wave radar to the original passive radar homing seeker increases the AARGM effectiveness when used against targets such as mobile or relocatable Integrated Air Defense Systems, including those that shutdown their radars.

The GBU-39 SDB is a 250 pound glide bomb guided by GPS. It has a length of 1.8 m and a width of 0.19 m and a maximum range of 105 km. Its small and compact size allows a greater number to be carried by aircraft or using internal carriage. 

The SDB has a diamondback foldout wing and is designed to penetrate hardened structures such as bunkers with little collateral damage. An improved version will have a multi-mode seeker to engage mobile targets.

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