AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: AGM-114L3
Origin: United States of America
Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman
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Description: The AGM-114 Hellfire missile was designed to defeat armored vehicles at standoff ranges. The primary US Army platforms carrying this missile are the AH-64 Apache and AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. However, the Hellfire missile can be launched from other helicopters and airborne platforms. In the latest models, the missile system has expanded its spectrum of targets to take out fortifications and hostile forces protected in urban terrain.
The guidance system of the Hellfire has evolved from the semi-active laser in early models to the last generation millimeter wave guidance. The AGM-114 is a precision guided, subsonic missile with a maximum range of up to 8,000 meters. The Hellfire missile saw combat for the first time during the Gulf War in 1991 (Operation Desert Storm) achieving a great victory over Iraqi armored forces. Since then, the weapon has been deployed in many conflicts by US and allied forces across the world.
The AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire is the latest Hellfire derivate featuring a millimeter wave guidance system and fire and forget capability. The Longbow Hellfire has been designed to be launched from the radar-equipped AH-64D Longbow Apache attack helicopter increasing its survivability thanks to its fire and forget capability. The Longbow Hellfire can be locked on before or after launch and has been designed to be countermeasures effects resistant.
The US Army plans to combine AGM-114K and AGM-114L missiles to defeat modern armored threats. Current plans call for the US Army to procure up to 12,905 Longbow Hellfire missiles. The Longbow Hellfire program including development and production is valued at $2.51 billion.
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