Raytheon (Texas Instruments) AGM-88 HARM

From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine

Jump to: navigation, search
HARM fitted to German Tornado



In 1969, the US Naval Weapons Center started the development of a successor to the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard Anti-Radiation-Missile. The weapon's speed was an important requirement, since high missile velocity gave the enemy shorter time to shut down radar installations. The designation ZAGM-88A was allocated to the prototype. First flight of the missile was only in 1975, by which time Texas Instruments was the main contractor. The delivery was in 1983, Initial Operational Capability in 1985 and first operational use in 1986. Currently, the primary US carrier aircraft for the AGM-88 are the US Air Force's F-16C Block 50 (equipped with the AN/ASQ-213 HTS) and the US Navy's EA-6B Prowler. The main launcher for the AGM-88 is the LAU-118/A. More than 21,000 AGM-88 missiles of all variants have been built so far. Current production is limited to new guidance sections and warheads, to allow the upgrade of older AGM-88A rounds to the latest standards.



Initial model, powered by a Thiokol SR113-TC-1 dual-thrust (boost/sustain) low-smoke solid-fuelled rocket motor. Warhead is a 66 kg (146 lb) WDU-21/B blast-fragmentation warhead with 25,000 steel fragments. The HARM can be used in three different operational modes, known as Pre-Briefed (PB), Target Of Opportunity (TOO), and Self-Protect (SP). The AGM-88 missile has an inbuilt inertial system, so that whenever it has acquired a lock once, it will continue towards the target even if the emitter is shut down (although the CEP is larger in this case). The ATM-88A is a training version with an inert WAU-11/B warhead section, the CATM-88A is used for captive (non-launching) flight training, and the DATM-88A is used for loading and handling training. Initial model was designated AGM-88A Block I. The AGM-88A Block II, introduced in 1986, had a new seeker with software in an EEPROM, which could be reprogrammed for new types of threats at short notice.


Second model based on the AGM-88 Block II, introduced in 1987. Features improved guidance section, compatible with the forthcoming Block III software. This AGM-88B Block III update improved the in-flight reprogramming capabilities of the AGM-88B, as well as the PB mode targeting capabilities. The AGM-88B Block III was very widely and successfully used in the 1991 Gulf War, with more than 2,000 HARMs fired at Iraqi radars. However, because the Block III update required fully powering up the missile, the U.S. Navy decided to retain its Block II missiles on aircraft carriers for safety reasons (powering up live missiles in the shops below deck was considered too risky). AGM-88B Block IIIA features a 'home-on-jam' capability, equivalant to the AGM-88C Block V. The ATM-88B, CATM-88B, and DATM-88B are the training variants of the AGM-88B, equivalent to the corresponding -88A versions.


The AGM-88C became operational in 1993. Featured new WDU-37/B warhead with 12,800 tungsten alloy fragments, significantly enhanced the lethality of the missile. The AGM-88C was initially produced with Block IV software in the upgraded WGU-2C/B guidance section. The WGU-2C/B used a single antenna instead of the previous two, and has a much more powerful signal processor. Block IV software was updated to counter the latest threats, and increased TOO mode capability by doubling the seeker range sensitivity. AGM-88C Block V introduced home-on-jam capability and resolved the safety concerns of the AGM-88B Block III. All AGM-88C production missiles were built by Texas Instruments as AGM-88C-1. The AGM-88C-2 by Loral, with an alternative low-cost seeker, was test-flown, but not produced in quantity. There are also ATM-88C and CATM-88C training variants of the AGM-88C (but apparently no DATM-88C).


The AGM-88D Block VI is an international effort by Raytheon, Bodensee Geraten Technik and Alenia and introduces GPS navigation, greatly increasing the accuracy after emitter switch-off. AGM-88Cs upgraded to Block VI standard were to be known as AGM-88D in US service. Germany and Italy, which mainly have older AGM-88Bs in stock, will refer to their upgraded missiles as AGM-88B Block IIIB.


Also known as AGM-88E AARGM (Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile), the AGM-88E is a further improved Block VI missile, which uses not only the AGM-88D's GPS but also an MMV (Millimetre Wave) active radar seeker for terminal homing in its new WGU-48/B guidance section. The MMW seeker will employ active target recognition algorithms, and therefore be able to strike not only the radar emitter, but also e.g. the control vehicle of the site. The first AGM-88E flight test of the DT (Developmental Testing) phase occured in May 2007. A long term goal of the AARGM program is the development of an entirely new stealthy airframe, compatible with the internal weapon bays of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.


A modified AGM-88C. The HARM Control Section Mods include GPS and inertial navigation system modifications to provide the aircraft with geographically specific targeting capability. During a late 2015 test, a AGM-88F HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM) missile was able to ignore a radiating emitter that was trying to spoof the anti-radiation missile and successfully destroyed its intended target.

Supported platforms


  • Germany (AGM-88A)
  • Greece
  • Italy (AGM-88B/C)
  • Taiwan (AGM-88C)
  • Turkey (AGM-88D)
  • South Korea (AGM-88C)
  • Spain (AGM-88A)
  • United Arab Emirates (AGM-88D)
  • United States (AGM-88A/B/C/D)

External links


  • Designation-systems.net
  • Deagle.com
Personal tools