Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $68.7 million contract this week to Hellfire Systems LLC in Orlando, Fla., to produce 1,361 Hellfire II missile models AGM-114R, AGM-114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, TGM M36E7, and ATM-114Q-6.
These missiles will be involved in U.S. foreign military sales to Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The AGM-114R is the latest version of the Hellfire II missile. The others involved in this sale are earlier, less-capable models.
Hellfire System is a venture of the Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla. At one time it involved the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis, but Boeing has not been involved in Hellfire missile development and production for several years, Lockheed Martin officials say.
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.
Hellfires also are 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.
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., and should be finished by November 2016.