Lockheed Martin Hellfire Systems to build 2,232 air-to-ground missiles for U.S., foreign militaries

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 8 Jan. 2015. U.S. Army anti-armor missile experts are ordering a couple of thousand U.S.-made Hellfire tactical missiles for the Army, as well as for the governments of Australia, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Jan 8th, 2015
Lockheed Martin Hellfire Systems to build 2,232 air-to-ground missiles for U.S., foreign militaries
Lockheed Martin Hellfire Systems to build 2,232 air-to-ground missiles for U.S., foreign militaries
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 8 Jan. 2015. U.S. Army anti-armor missile experts are ordering a couple of thousand U.S.-made Hellfire tactical missiles for the Army, as well as for the governments of Australia, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Egypt, and Lebanon.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., have announced two contracts to Hellfire Systems LLC in Orlando, Fla., to produce 2,232 various versions of the Hellfire air-to-ground missile.

In a $150 million contract announced in December, the Army is asking Hellfire Systems to build 2,109 Hellfire II missile models AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P4-A, training guided missile TGM M36E7, and air-training-missile ATM-114Q-6.

The Army announced a separate $10.6 million contract to Hellfire Systems last month to build 123 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles for the Army. Hellfire System is a venture of the Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla.

Related: U.S. Military to sell Hellfire missiles to Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar

The AGM-114R is the latest Hellfire variant, and is equipped with semi–active laser seekers to defeat many kinds of targets. The AGM-114R can be launched from several different kinds of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, surface ships, and military ground vehicles. The other Hellfire variants involved in this sale are earlier, less-capable models.

Hellfire also is the missile of choice for several kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as the MQ-1B Predator, MQ-9 Reaper, and MQ-1C Grey Eagle. Eventually these missiles may arm U.S. military unmanned helicopters.

The AGM-114R Hellfire II Romeo RX missile will use a semi-active laser guidance system and an integrated blast fragmentation sleeve warhead to engage targets that previously needed several Hellfire variants to destroy.

These missiles can seek out their targets autonomously or with designation from remote laser designators. The missile has a three–axis inertial measurement unit to enable it to attack targets from the side and behind.

The AGM-114R can be launched from higher altitudes than previous variants because of its enhanced guidance and navigation capabilities. With its multi–purpose warhead, the missile can destroy hard, soft, and enclosed targets.

Related: Army and Lockheed Martin prepare for production of advanced laser-guided Hellfire missile

Originally developed as an anti-tank missile for the Army's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the Hellfire missile has become one of the most versatile munitions in the U.S. arsenal. It can launch from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, UAVs, surface vessels, and land-based sites.

The AGM-114R will be guided by homing in on the reflected light of a laser designator. Other versions of the Hellfire are radar-guided fire-and-forget weapons. The Hellfire missile weighs 106 pounds, and has high-explosive variants designed to destroy tanks and other armored vehicles, and blast fragmentation versions designed to destroy trucks, antenna sites, concentrations of enemy troops, and other soft targets.

Development of the AGM-114R Hellfire missile became necessary after the Pentagon cancelled the Joint Common Missile (JCM) project, which was to replace Hellfire, as well as the AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missile.

On this contract Hellfire Systems LLC will do the work at the Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control online at www.lockheedmartin.com/us/mfc, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at www.acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

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