Advanced Missiles to Equip US Helicopters and UAVs

Advanced Missiles to Equip US Helicopters and UAVs

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The US is enhancing the missile capabilities of its helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The US Army asked Lockheed Martin to build the next generation Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) under terms of a $201.7 million order.

JAGM is to replace US Army and Navy inventories of Airborne TOW, Maverick, and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles. The JAGM is designed for launch from Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, the Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle, the Navy MH-60R helicopter, and the Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter.

The JAGM has a multi-mode guidance section with semi-active laser (SAL) sensor for precision-strike and a fire-and-forget millimeter wave (MMW) radar for moving targets in all-weather conditions.

The system can engage several different stationary and moving targets in the bad weather, smoke and dust, and advanced countermeasures. Laser and radar guided engagement modes enable JAGM to strike accurately and reduce collateral damage, Lockheed Martin officials say, according to

The system’s targets for helicopters and unmanned aircraft include moving and stationary armored combat vehicles; air defense units; patrol craft; artillery; missile launchers; radar sites; command-and-control nodes; bunkers; and other structures in urban and complex terrain.

The modular and low-risk JAGM design includes the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missile body and the new multi-mode seeker. The JAGM guidance section blends semi-active laser guidance and millimeter wave radar to guide the new missile to its target. Future improvements may include an uncooled infrared sensor in a new tri-mode seeker.