AGM-114M Hellfire II
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: AGM-114M1 and AGM-114M3
Origin: United States of America
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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-114M blast fragmentation missile is a derivative of proven semi-active laser AGM-114K Hellfire II retaining all its features excepting the high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) which has been replaced by an advanced blast fragmentation warhead in the M model. The new warhead is capable of penetrating corvettes and small frigates hulls in the presence of severe countermeasures, which makes AGM-114M a superb naval target killer. The delay fuze warhead detonates once the missile has penetrated into ship's hull maximizing blast fragmentation effects.
In addition, AGM-114M can be launched either from air (rotary-wing aircraft), sea or ground platforms making a very versatile weapon system. The weapon system is suitable for use against multiple targets and in adverse weather conditions. To date, Hellfire II M variant has been tested on Kiowa Warrior, Cobra, Apache and Seahawk helicopters, ground platforms and several prototype boats.
The AGM-114K Hellfire features electro-optical countermeasures resistance capability, better performance in presence of obscurants (smoke, dust, water vapor, sea spray), automatic target reacquisition after loss of track in low clouds, and multi-platform launching (helicopter, ground vehicle and patrol boat). Hellfire II is a reprogrammable, shipboard operations enabled and modular missile. The K model also retains the improvements applied to the F model and the optimized tandem warhead.
On January 4, 2005, Taiwan agreed to purchase around 400 AGM-114M Hellfire II missiles valued at $50 million through the foreign military sales program. This sale was considered as a significant move to deter China in launching an amphibious assault over the island.
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