Electronic Weapons: September 7, 2002


The Navy had been planning to replace its HARM anti-radar missiles with a new design called AARGM (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile) but has hit a roadblock. The primary contractor for AARGM is Science and Applied Technology, but that company is about to lose its legal ability to do business with the government due to an indictment for securities violations. The Navy is now asking other contractors for their proposals to improve HARM. As the primary defense against this missile is to turn the targeted radar off, the Navy wants a system able to continue toward the target even in such a case. The Air Force is taking a different approach to destroying enemy air defense radars. They want to use airborne sensors to precisely locate the radar, then send a rocket-boosted two-thousand-pound bomb to destroy it. An anti-radiation missile has only a few pounds of explosives, and must land fairly close to the radar to destroy it with shrapnel. The heavy bomb would not have to be so accurate. The Navy theory is that more precision will cause less collateral damage and possibly fewer civilian casualties.--Stephen V Cole


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