Lockheed Martin (Rockwell) AGM-114 Hellfire
From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
[[Image:Agm114_1.jpg|thumb|right|250px|AGM-114 mounted on AH-64D
The Hellfire (Helicopter launched fire-and-forget) is a US air-to-ground missile system designed to defeat tanks and other individual targets while minimizing the exposure of the launch vehicle to enemy fire. The Hellfire family of missiles consists of four generations; basic (AGM-114A/B/C) and anti-ship; interim (AGM-114F); Hellfire 2 (AGM-114K); Longbow (AGM-114L). All Hellfire missiles are similar in shape in that they have a cylindrical body with a dome shaped nose section that has four small clipped delta stabilising fins in a cruciform configuration. On the rear third of the missile around the motor section are four in-line, wide-chord, short-span fixed wings with control fins at their trailing-edges. The missiles are of modular construction being made up of five major sections; seeker, warhead, guidance, propulsion and control. Depending on missile type, the seeker can be semi-active laser or active MMW radar and depending on mission requirement the warhead can be single or tandem HEAT, or blast/fragmentation. For an air-to-air application, the single anti-armour unit would be used with a proximity fuze rather than impact. The guidance units for the AGM-114 A/B/C/F and RBS-17 anti-ship missile are identical, containing actuation gas storage, thermal battery, autopilot electronics and guidance section with pitch and yaw/roll gyros, whereas the AGM-114K and AGM-114L missiles have a totally redesigned unit (see below). All current Hellfire missiles use the same minimum smoke, internal burning, solid propellant motor which accelerates the missile to greater than M1.0. The control unit containing the actuators for the control fins forms the boat tail around the motor's exhaust. Training variants of the AGM-114 are the Training Guided Missile M36E-1 for captive-carry training (CATM-114) and the Dummy Guided Missile M34 for ground handling training (DATM-114).
Initial laser guided version for the US Army, to arm its brand new AH-64A Apache helicopters. Operational testing by the US Army was completed in 1980 and in 1981, Hellfire was declared ready for production. Test firings of YAGM-114A prototype missiles began in late 1978, and operational testing by the U.S. Army was completed in 1981. The first operational rounds were delivered in late 1984 and the Hellfire missile system entered service in 1985 on the AH-64A Apache. The Rbs.17 is a AGM-114A derative ordered by the Swedish Coast Artillery Forces as a short-range, anti-ship missile to be used against landing craft and smaller warships. Equipped with blast-fragmentation warhead.
Initial version for the US Navy and US Marine Corps, with low-smoke motor and a Safing/Arming Device (SAD) for shipboard operations. At the same time other seeker options were looked at; dual-mode RF/IR system, Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) and MilliMetre-Wave radar (MMW). It is believed that a RF/IR system was developed and tested, but there have been no recorded deliveries of such a seeker and the current status of the programme is unclear. The IIR and MMW seekers were funded as part of a US Army fire-and-forget Hellfire programme, but this programme was shelved and only the active radar appears to have progressed beyond the early stages of development.
US Army version of the AGM-114B, without the SAD.
Proposed upgrade of AGM-114C with digital autopilot. Not built.
US Navy and US Marine Corps version of the AGM-114D with SAD. Not built.
AGM-114F Interim Hellfire
Sometimes referred to as Interim Hellfire, the AGM-114K has dual warhead to defeat reactive armour, guidance section with improved clutter rejection and a slightly reduced range. Entered production in 1991.
Proposed version of AGM-114F with SAD. Not built.
Proposed upgrade of AGM-114F with digital autopilot. Not built.
Proposed version of AGM-114F with lighter components, shorter airframe, and increased range. Not built.
AGM-114K Hellfire II
AGM-114K incorporates improvements over the AGM-114F including solving the laser obscurant/backscatter problem. Other improvements incorporated are; improved target re-acquisition capability, a digital autopilot to increase launch speeds from 300 knots to M1.1 and produce a steeper terminal dive onto armoured targets, a more powerful precursor warhead, reprogrammability to adapt to changing threats and mission requirements, improved electro-optical countermeasures and regaining the original Hellfire missile length and weight. After successful firing tests, the initial production contract for AGM-114K was awarded in 1993 and deliveries started in December 1994. Submodels are the AGM-114K2 and AGM-114K3 Hellfire II Laser Guided Missiles.
AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire
In 1992, the US Army selected a millimetric-wave seeker version of the Hellfire 2 missile for its AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter programme and this has the designator AGM-114L. For short-range or moving targets, the AGM-114L's MMW seeker is locked on the target before launch using data from either the AN/APG-78 or the AH-64D's TADS. For long-range shots at static targets, the missile is launched in the direction of the target and controlled by its inertial system until the MMW seeker locks on for terminal guidance. The Brimstone missile uses AGM-114K missile airframe, warhead and motor assemblies. The US Army plans to purchase 12,905 AGM-114L missiles. Unarmed training variants of the AGM-114K are the ATM-114K for firing training and the non-firing CATM-114K.
Derivative of the AGM-114K with a new blast-fragmentation warhead and a modified SAD. The AGM-114M will be basically an AGM-114K missile with the forward warhead removed, a blast fragmentation main warhead installed in place of the shaped charged warhead, and a modified ESAF. The functions of the various sections guidance, propulsion, and control will be virtually the same. The BFW is designed to defeat a general class of targets represented by ships, deck mounted weapon systems, light armoured vehicles and light bunkers by a combination of fragmentation and blast effects. It is intended for use by US Navy's MH-60R helicopters against semi-hardened and soft targets.
AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge Thermobaric Hellfire
The improved, Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) thermobaric warhead for the AGM-114 Hellfire missile dramatically increased effectiveness against enclosed targets. The chemical mix selected for the AGM-114N Thermobaric Hellfire warhead fill is substantially more effective in attacks against enclosed structures than the current Hellfire blast and fragment variants. The thermobaric Hellfire missile can take out the first floor of a building without damaging the floors above, and is capable of reaching around corners, striking enemy forces that hide in caves or bunkers and hardened multi-room complexes. Coalition military planners use a sophisticated computer model to determine the precise direction, the angle of attack, and the type of weapon needed to destroy desired targets, while sparing nearby civilian facilities. Ordered by the US Marine Corps for its Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) operations.
The AGM-114P (P for Predator) Hellfire version is based on the AGM-114K and is optimized for the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator UAV. Among the modifications are increased weapon engagement zone (WEZ), enabling the seeker to acquire targets off-boresight up to 90 degrees to each side. These missiles can be released from higher altitude (10,000 to 25,000 ft), eliminating the need to descend to lower altitude prior to weapon release. The AGM-114P was cleared for service in early 2005.
The AGM-114Q model is a training round, with everything except a warhead.
The AGM-114R has a multi-purpose warhead, suitable to engage a broad target set previously requiring multiple Hellfire warhead variants—from armor and air defense systems to patrol boats and enemy combatants in buildings, open areas, SUVs or caves. The AGM-114R3 is an export model.
Practice version of AGM-114K with a spotting charge instead of a warhead.
AGM-114R with insensitive munition rocket motor and electromagnetic control actuators.
- AH-64 Apache
- AH-1Z Cobra
- OH-58D Kiowa
- General Atomics MQ-1 Predator
- General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper