US Navy Air-Launched Weapon Plans Revealed
Posted: 06/03/2010 12:00:00 AM EDT
Speaking at the Defence IQ inaugural Small Precision Weapons conference in London in late April, Captain Brian Corey from the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons Programme Office, U.S. Navy gave a detailed update on their air-launchedstrike weapon plans and programmes.
The AGM–88E AARGM (Air-launched Anti-Radiation Guided Missile) has a new seeker and control system, while retaining the legacy rocket motor and warhead of HARM (HARM has only four known kills, however). This is a joint programme with the Italians (for Tornado). The weapon is sensor-fused and has an IOC of April 2011.
Hellfire is a family of weapons–the AGM-114B is the basic weapon while AGM–114 K, N ,Q and R variants are classified as Hellfire IIs. Integration on the Harvest Hawk (KC-130J) is being undertaken.
The JAGM (Joint Air-to-Ground Munition) has its preliminary design review in Q3 FY2010 and IOC for the F/A-18E/F, AH-64D, and AH-1Z will be in FY2016. IOC for the MH-60R and Sky Warrior will follow in FY2017. JAGM will replace Hellfire, Maverick and Air-Launched TOW.
The US Army leads the JAGM programme, but the weapon will also be used by the US Navy and USMC. The Technical Design (TD) phase will last for 27 months (contract award was in September 2008) and the Engineering Management and Development (EMD) phase will follow for 48 months.
Griffinand Viper Strike stand-off PGMs are being procured to arm USMC C-130s. Griffin is rocket propelled and Viper Strike is a glide munition.
The APKWS II (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System) is a guided rocket that has semi-active laser guidance. Integrated tests began in November 2009 and IOC is planned for Q3 2011. Between 14 and 38 weapons will be carried per helicopter.
Aircraft gun systems are also still very useful for precision effect. Over 11 million rounds of air-fired ammunition have been expended over the last nine years.
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