|Place of origin United States|
Used by U.S. and others
|In service 1985–present|
Designer Texas Instruments
|Type Air-to-surface anti-radiation missile|
Wars Gulf War, Kosovo War, Iraq War, 2011 military intervention in Libya
The AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) is a tactical, air-to-surface missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It was originally developed by Texas Instruments as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation when it purchased the defense production business of Texas Instruments.
The AGM-88 can detect, attack and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input. The proportional guidance system that hones in on enemy radar emissions has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose. A smokeless, solid-propellant, booster-sustainer rocket motor propels the missile at speeds over Mach 2. HARM, a U.S. Navy-led program, was initially integrated onto the A-6E, A-7 and F/A-18 and later onto the EA-6B. RDT&E for use on the F-14 was begun, but not completed. The USAF introduced HARM on the F-4G Wild Weasel and later on specialized F-16s equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS).
The HARM missile was approved for full production in March 1983, obtained initial operating capability (IOC) on the A-7E Corsair II in late 1983 and then deployed in late 1985 with VA-46 aboard the aircraft carrier USS America. In 1986 the first successful firing of the HARM from an EA-6B was performed by VAQ-131. It was soon used in combat—in March 1986 against a Libyan SA-5 site in the Gulf of Sidra, and then Operation Eldorado Canyon in April. HARM was used extensively by the United States Navy and the United States Air Force for Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War of 1991.
During the Gulf War, the HARM was involved in a friendly fire incident when the pilot of an F-4G Wild Weasel escorting a B-52 bomber mistook the latter's tail gun radar for an Iraqi AAA site. (This was after the tail gunner of the B-52 had targeted the F-4G, mistaking it for an Iraqi MiG.) The F-4 pilot launched the missile and then saw that the target was the B-52, which was hit. It survived with shrapnel damage to the tail and no casualties. The B-52 was subsequently renamed In HARM's Way.
"Magnum" is spoken over the radio to announce the launch of an AGM-88. During the Gulf War, if an aircraft was illuminated by enemy radar a bogus "Magnum" call on the radio was often enough to convince the operators to power down. This technique would also be employed in Serbia during air operations in 1999.
In 2013 President Obama offered the AGM-88 to Israel for the first time.
The newest upgrade, the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), features the latest software, enhanced capabilities intended to counter radar shutdown and passive radar using an additional active millimeter wave seeker. It was released in November 2010 and is a joint venture by the US Department of Defense and the Italian Ministry of Defense and is produced by Alliant Techsystems.
In November 2005, the Italian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense signed a Memorandum of Agreement on the joint development of the AGM-88E AARGM missile. Italy was providing $20 million of developmental funding as well as several millions worth of material, equipment and related services. The Italian Air Force was expected to procure up to 250 missiles for its Tornado ECR aircraft. Thus flight test program was set to integrate the AARGM onto Tornado ECR's weapon system.
The Navy demonstrated the AARGM's capability during Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) in spring 2012 with live firing of 12 missiles. Aircrew and maintenance training with live missiles was completed in June.
The Navy authorized Full-Rate Production (FRP) of the AARGM in August 2012, with 72 missiles for the Navy and nine for the Italian Air Force to be delivered in 2013. A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadron will be the first forward-deployed unit with the AGM-88E.
In September 2013, ATK delivered the 100th AARGM to the U.S. Navy. The AGM-88E program is on schedule and on budget, with Full Operational Capability (FOC) planned for September 2014. The AGM-88E was designed to improve the effectiveness of legacy HARM variants against fixed and relocatable radar and communications sites, particularly those that would shut down to throw off anti-radiation missiles, by attaching a new seeker to the existing Mach 2-capable rocket motor and warhead section, adding a passive anti-radiation homing receiver, satellite and inertial navigation system, a millimeter wave radar for terminal guidance, and the ability to beam up images of the target via a satellite link just seconds before impact.
It will be initially integrated onto the F/A-18C/D, F/A-18E/F, EA-18G, and Tornado ECR aircraft and later on the F-35.
The Navy's FY 2016 budget included funding for an extended range AARGM-ER that utilizes the existing guidance system and warhead of the AGM-88E with a solid integrated rocket-ramjet for double the range. Development funding will last to 2020.
On September 2016, Orbital ATK has lifted the veil on its extended-range variant of the AGM-88E or AARGM-ER, which incorporates a redesigned control section and 11.5 in.-dia. rocket motor for twice the range and internal carriage on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
In September 2015, the AGM-88E successfully hit a mobile ship target in a live-fire test, demonstrating the missile's ability to use anti-radiation homing and millimeter wave radar to detect, identify, locate, and engage moving targets.
Although the U.S. chose the Orbital ATK-produced AGM-88E, Raytheon created their own version of the AARGM called the AGM-88F HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM) that incorporates similar upgrade features, which could allow the company to offer their missile for export.