< PREV | NEXT > | INDEX | SITEMAP | GOOGLE | LINKS | UPDATES | BLOG | EMAIL | DONATE | HOME

[8.0] Guided Air-To-Surface Missiles

v3.0.0 / chapter 8 of 10 / 01 apr 12 / greg goebel / public domain

* Unguided rockets are too inaccurate to be used for long-range or precision attacks, and so in the postwar period new air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) were built with guidance systems to provide them with much greater effectiveness. This chapter provides a description of guided tactical ASMs. Specialized anti-radar and anti-ship ASMs are discussed in following chapters.

AGM-65 Mavericks on A-10


[8.1] AGM-12 BULLPUP
[8.2] AS-20 / AS-30 / AS-30L
[8.3] AJ-168 MARTEL
[8.4] AGM-65 MAVERICK
[8.5] AGM-142 RAPTOR
[8.6] AGM-130
[8.7] SOVIET-RUSSIAN ASMS
[8.8] OTHER ASMS

[8.1] AGM-12 BULLPUP

* During the Korean War, the US Navy became frustrated with unguided weapons for ground attack, and in 1953 began development of a guided ASM. A contract was awarded to Martin's Orlando Division in 1954, and the resulting weapon, the "ASM-N-7 Bullpup", was fielded by the Navy in 1959.

In 1960, production moved to an improved variant, the "ASM-N-7A", which replaced the original Aerojet solid-fuel motor of the ASM-N-7 with a more powerful Thiokol liquid-fuel motor with prepacked storable fuels. The ASM-N-7A was redesignated "AGM-12B" in 1962, and was generally known as "Bullpup-A".

The AGM-12B was a cheap and relatively crude weapon, not really very much advanced from the guided weapons used by the Germans during WW II. It was a sleek rocket, with small pneumatically-operated cruciform control fins on the nose and larger fixed cruciform fins on the tail. The AGM-12B was roll-stabilized, optically guided, and controlled over a radio link, much as the German weapons had been. It had two flares in the tail to allow the operator to track it while using a joystick to keep it lined up through the aircraft's gunsight. The radio control system, which was based on an AN/AWW-73 or AN/AWW-77 underwing pod, had multiple channels to allow several aircraft to launch Bullpups simultaneously.

   AGM-12B BULLPUP-A:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                0.94 meters         3 feet 1 inch
   length                  3.2 meters          10 feet 6 inches
   total weight            259 kilograms       571 pounds
   warhead weight          113 kilograms       250 pounds
   speed                   Mach 1.8
   range at altitude       11 kilometers       7 MI / 6 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

Although the Air Force used some stock Bullpup-As as the "GAM-83", they were obtained strictly as an interim solution until the service could get an enhanced variant of the Bullpup-A, originally designated "GAM-83A" but confusingly redesignated "AGM-12B" in 1962 even though it wasn't the same as the Navy AGM-12B. The Air Force AGM-12B featured an improved guidance system that relaxed the need for the pilot to keep the target lined up in the gunsight, allowing attacks on targets off the launch aircraft's line of flight.

Eventually, the USAF also sponsored development of another Bullpup-A variant, originally known as the "GAM-83B", but redesignated the "AGM-12D". This variant looked much like the AGM-12B, but had a slightly larger diameter that allowed it to carry either a conventional high-explosive or a tactical nuclear warhead.

Tens of thousands of Bullpup-As were built, mostly by W.L. Maxson Electronics as a subcontractor to Martin Marietta, with another 8,000 built under license by a European group headed by Kongsberg of Norway. The Bullpup-A was carried by US Navy aircraft such as the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and the Lockheed P-3 Orion, and US Air Force aircraft such as the North American F-100 Super Saber and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. The Bullpup-A was also adopted by the British Royal Navy, as well as Denmark, Norway, and Turkey.

AGM-12 Bullpup

* Even as the Bullpup-A was being fielded, Martin was working on a larger version of the weapon for the Navy. The bigger Bullpup was originally designated "ASM-N-7B" but later changed to "AGM-12C", and generally known as "Bullpup-B". Bullpup-B used the same guidance and control scheme, but had a chunkier body and big rear fins.

   AGM-12C BULLPUP-B:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.22 meters         4 feet
   length                  4.14 meters         13 feet 7 inches
   diameter                45.7 centimeters    18 inches
   total weight            810 kilograms       1,785 pounds
   warhead weight          450 kilograms       1,000 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       16 kilometers       10 MI / 9 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

The Bullpup-B was introduced into service in 1963, and 4,600 were built. The USAF ordered a variant of the Bullpup-B designated "AGM-12E", with an antipersonnel warhead for attacking missile sites, but only about 840 were manufactured, out of a total of about 30,000 Bullpups of all types produced to end of production in 1969.

Both the Bullpup-A and Bullpup-B were used by American forces during the Vietnam War, with disappointing results. Its guidance system left the launch aircraft exposed until weapon impact, and the Bullpup's warhead was too small to seriously damage solid targets like bridges. Some sources also hint at reliability problems. The Bullpup was phased out of service in the US Navy and USAF beginning in the 1970s, with the last of them out of service in the early 1980s.

Bullpup-B missile & slick bombs

Martin also built a training version of the Bullpup, essentially a modified HVAR rocket with a Bullpup control system, but it was eventually replaced by old Bullpup-As fitted with inert warheads.

Late in the Bullpup's life, there were attempts to build enhanced follow-on versions:

It is a little odd that there was no scheme to retrofit the large numbers of old Bullpups to laser-guided Bulldog spec and turn them into much more useful weapons. Apparently such a measure was either not technically reasonable, or not thought to be cost-effective even if it was.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.2] AS-20 / AS-30 / AS-30L

* While the Americans were working on the Bullpup, the French were working on a similar series of ASM. After the war, Nord (later Aerospatiale) of France developed a radio-guided air-to-air missile with the company designation of "Type 5103" and the service designation "AA-20". It took little modification of the type to convert it to an ASM, with the company designation "Type 5110" and the service designation "AS-20".

The AS-20 was very similar to the original AA-20 except for a larger warhead. The bigger warhead was made possible by replacing the air-to-air missile's proximity fuze with a simpler and more compact impact fuze. The AS-20 had four cruciform sweptback fins and was propelled by a dual-thrust (boost-sustain) solid rocket motor, with two lateral nozzles for the boost burn and a steerable centerline nozzle for the sustain burn. The missile was visually guided over a radio link, and was optically tracked using tail flares.

   NORD AS-20:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                80 centimeters      2 feet 8 inches
   length                  2.6 meters          8 feet 6 inches
   diameter                25 centimeters      9.84 inches
   total weight            143 kilograms       315 pounds
   warhead weight          33 kilograms        73 pounds

   speed                   Mach 1.7
   range at altitude       10 kilometers        6 MI / 5 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

Over 8,000 AS-20s were built, with initial deliveries in 1961. Users included France, West Germany, Italy, and South Africa. The AS-20 was phased out of front-line service in the 1970s, but was retained as a training round.

AS-20, AS-30, & AS-30L missiles

* Development of the highly successful "Nord 5401" or "AS-30" began in 1958 as a follow-on and a simple scale-up of the somewhat undersized AS-20. The AS-30 was propelled by a boost-sustain solid rocket motor, with twin nozzles, one on each side of the rear of the missile. Initially, vibrating vanes were used to direct the missile by selectively deflecting the thrust from each nozzle. The warhead could be either general purpose blast-fragmentation or a penetrating type, with impact or delay fuzing.

   NORD AS-30:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1 meter             3 feet 4 inches
   length                  3.84 meters         12 feet 7 inches
   diameter                34 centimeters      13.4 inches
   total weight            520 kilograms       1,146 pounds
   warhead weight          240 kilograms       529 pounds

   speed                   Mach 1.5
   range at altitude       11 kilometers       7 MI / 6 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

Early production also used visual guidance using tracking flares and a pitch-yaw joystick, as with the AS-20. However, an improved version of the AS-30 was introduced in 1964, which eliminated the vibrating vanes and instead used four pop-out tailfins for guidance. A new semi-automatic guidance system was introduced as well, in which all the pilot had to do was keep the target lined up in his sight. The guidance system sensed the location of the missile using an infrared sensor, and the system's computer adjusted the weapon's flight path to keep it on track.

About 3,870 AS-30 missiles were built. Users included France, Britain, West Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, India, and Peru, though only France used the semi-automatic guidance system. Apparently a lightweight version of the AS-30 was developed to allow the weapon to be carried on smaller aircraft; what few details available indicate that it had a half-sized warhead and shorter wings.

* In 1974, Aerospatiale and Thomson-CSF began work on a laser-seeking version of the AS-30, the "AS-30L", using technology licensed from Martin Marietta in the US. Thomson-CSF developed a laser targeting pod named "ATLIS (Automatic Tracking Laser Illumination System)" and a matching laser seeker head for the missile. By 1980, preproduction AS-30Ls were being fired by French Armee de l'Air Jaguar strike fighters equipped with the ATLIS II pod, which was fitted with a TV camera to aid in targeting. First production deliveries of the AS-30L were in 1983.

Unlike the AS-30, the AS-30L has roll-stabilization and an inertial guidance system to keep it on track until the seeker can pick up laser light reflections. The improved missile's physical specifications and performance are otherwise very close to the original AS-30, though it is a bit shorter because of the blunt nose of the laser seeker head.

AS-30L

Production quantities of the AS-30L have been relatively low, in the high hundreds, though the weapon has been supplied to eight other countries. The French supplied the weapon to Iraq, who used it on the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war. Ironically, the French used the AS-30L on the Iraqis during the Gulf War, with the missile demonstrating 80% accuracy in hitting targets even in the face of intense air-defense fire.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.3] AJ-168 MARTEL

* One of the significant milestones in ASM design was the "Martel", developed in the early 1960s through a collaboration between Matra of France and HSD (later part of British Aerospace / BAE) in the UK. The weapon that emerged from this collaboration was a dual-thrust solid-fuel rocket with cruciform delta fins around the midbody, and a smaller set of delta fins immediately behind. Two very different versions were built, one designated "AJ-168" with a TV guidance system, the other designated "AS-37" with a radar seeker. The name "Martel" stood for "Missile Anti-Radar TELevision".

Hawker Siddeley (now also part of BAE) was responsible for the design of the AJ-168 TV guided weapon, with Marconi Space & Defense providing the seeker and data link. In France, Matra was the prime contractor for the AS-37 anti-radar weapon, with Dassault responsible for designing the seeker. The two variants of the Martel shared common systems, except for the seeker and slight differences in the sustain rocket motor. Details of the AS-37 Martel are provided later.

The AJ-168 TV Martel's warhead had a contact fuze the could be programmed for instantaneous or delayed detonation before launch. The missile's nose was fitted with a vidicon TV camera that relayed imagery back to the operator through a datalink pod mounted on the aircraft. The operator used a joystick to center crosshairs on a target on a cockpit TV display and then kept the missile on target with the joystick until impact. Accuracy was described as "staggering".

   AJ-168 MARTEL:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.2 meters          3 feet 11 inches
   length                  4.12 meters         13 feet 6 inches
   diameter                40 meters           15.75 inches
   total weight            550 kilograms       1,213 pounds
   warhead weight          150 kilograms       330 pounds

   speed                   Mach 0.9
   range at altitude       60 kilometers       37 MI / 32 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

The French used the AS-37, but not the AJ-168. The British operated both from RAF Hawker-Siddeley Buccaneer strike aircraft. The Martel was produced into the 1970s, but did not achieve widespread use despite its advanced design, apparently because of the British government's inclination to "buy American" even when an excellent British-built weapon was available.

AJ-168 Martel

Less than a thousand Martels were produced. The last AJ-168 Martels were expended in RAF exercises shortly before the Gulf War. However, the weapon provided the basis for the "Sea Eagle" antishipping missile.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.4] AGM-65 MAVERICK

* The disappointing service of the Bullpup in Vietnam led the US military to seek better guided air-to-surface weapons. US developments of better guided weapons went in two directions, one (as described previously) towards the development of laser-guided and TV-guided glide bombs to attack large fixed targets, and the other towards the development of a relatively small missile to destroy armored vehicles, bunkers, and other battlefield targets.

Even before the beginning of major American involvement in Vietnam, the Air Force had attempted to develop an "Anti-Tank Guided Aircraft Rocket (ATGAR)" awarding a contract for the development of the "XAGM-64A Hornet" in 1963. The Hornet was a small solid-fuel rocket with large cruciform tailfins and an EO seeker like that of the Walleye and HOBOS. Test firings of the weapon began in late 1964, but the Air Force quickly gave up on the Hornet due to changing requirements, though a few of them would be used into the early 1970s as testbeds for various new seeker concepts. In 1965, the USAF issue a request for a missile that would meet the new requirements, issuing preliminary investigation contracts in 1966 to North American Rockwell and Hughes.

In 1968, Hughes was awarded the full development contract for the missile, which was named the "Maverick". Unguided launches began in September 1969, and in December 1969 the first guided flight of the weapon scored a direct hit on a tank. An initial production contract for 2,000 missiles was awarded in July 1971, and the Maverick entered service with the USAF at the end of 1972.

The configuration of the initial production "AGM-65A" Maverick set a baseline for later variants. The AGM-65A was a blunt-nosed missile with long narrow cruciform delta wings set towards the rear, followed by four tail fins. It looked something like a fat Falcon air-to-air missile, and in fact the airframe design was based on that of the Falcon. Hughes had apparently experimented with an ASM version of the Falcon, the "AGM-76", about the same time that the company began investigations on Maverick, possibly in hopes of meeting the Air Force requirement with minimal effort, but something better optimized for the task proved desireable.

AGM-65 Maverick

The AGM-65A had a boost-sustain solid fuel rocket motor, and a hollow-charge antiarmor warhead. The weapon has been used by almost all US and many other Western attack aircraft. Up to six could be carried at one time, using a specialized rack to carry three Mavericks on one stores pylon. A single-missile rack was also available for smaller aircraft.

   AGM-65A MAVERICK:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                72 centimeters      2 feet 4 inches
   length                  2.49 meters         8 feet 2 inches
   diameter                30.5 centimeters    1 foot
   total weight            210 kilograms       463 pounds
   warhead weight          59 kilograms        130 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       23 kilometers       14 MI / 12 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

The AGM-65A was TV-guided. The operator selected a missile for launch and set the missile's stabilization gyro into operation. When the gyro spun up, an indicator lit up on the cockpit display. When the operator wanted to engage a target, he or she pressed a switch to blow a plastic nose cover off the missile, activating the missile's TV imager, and uncaging the gyro. The aircraft was flown toward the target to get it in the imager's line of sight, with the operator viewing it on a display. The operator lined up crosshairs on a high-contrast element in the target and, when a lock was established, launched the missile.

In early aircraft fitted for Maverick, the image was spliced into the existing radarscope display, though later multifunction displays would become normal equipment. The missile proceeded on to target without further operator intervention, allowing the launch aircraft to take evasive action against enemy defenses or line up another target.

Thirty AGM-65As were fired in combat tests during the LINEBACKER II air campaign against North Vietnam in 1972. The weapon was hastily supplied to Israel the next year during the Yom Kippur War, through the emergency NICKEL GRASS resupply effort. The Israeli Air Force was enthusiastic about the new weapon and achieved a kill rate of greater than 82%, even though Israeli pilots had no more than the quickest familiarization with the Maverick before flying off to use it on Arab tanks.

* The problem with the AGM-65A was that it was a fair-weather daylight weapon. It worked well in the dry and sunny climates of the Middle East, but there were serious questions of how well it would perform in the damper and darker climate of Northern Europe.

Another limitation of the AGM-65A was that its seeker had a 5 degree field of view, and if the target was small that meant that the launch aircraft had to get uncomfortably close before the seeker locked on. Hughes went back to the drawing board and in 1975 introduced the "AGM-65B" Maverick, which looked externally identical to the AGM-65A, but had a seeker with a 2.5 degree field of view. The narrower field of view doubled the angular size of the image picked up the seeker, and allowed a lock at longer ranges and under poorer visibility conditions. The AGM-65B was sometimes referred to as the "Scene Magnification Maverick".

Hughes followed up this feature with an improvement known as "Quick Draw". Quick Draw allowed one Maverick to be locked onto a target and launched, with the next available missile automatically boresighted onto the same target. This meant that if there were several targets close together, the operator could quickly and accurately launch several missiles in quick succession with only minor movements of the crosshairs, allowing multiple attacks in a single attack pass.

* The AGM-65B was an improvement, but it was still not an all-weather round-the-clock weapon, and other alternatives were investigated. The first option was to use an infrared imager to allow day-night operation and a greater degree of independence from weather. Development of the new seeker was somewhat troublesome, but the bugs were worked out and the first production "AGM-65D" Mavericks with imaging infrared seekers were shipped to the USAF in 1983.

The AGM-65D used a spinning-mirror scanning infrared imager, and allowed the operator to switch between a positive or negative infrared image, since under some conditions a hot-on-cool image would be prominent, while in others the reverse would be true. Skilled operators could use the infrared imager to pick out real targets from decoys, or distinguish between full fuel-storage tanks and empty ones. One operator described the seeker as "Marvel comic X-ray specs".

A minor hardware and software update for the AGM-65D was hastily introduced into service during the 1999 NATO Kosovo campaign. The update improved accuracy, and the modified weapons were designated "AGM-65D2".

* The US Navy obtained a version of the Maverick, designated the "AGM-65F", with an infrared seeker that was optimized to home in on naval vessels. To improve the weapon's destructiveness on naval targets, it was fitted with a 136 kilogram (300 pound) steel-jacketed penetrating warhead. That raised the weight of the missile to 301 kilograms (670 pounds).

The Air Force liked the big warhead idea, and so acquired the "AGM-85G", with an imaging seeker similar to that of the AGM-65D but with some software improvements, and the big warhead used on the AGM-65E/F.

In the meantime, work was done on laser-guided versions of the Maverick. A laser-guided "AGM-65C" was developed in the late 1970s, with the old small shaped-charge warhead, but this version did not go into production. However, a Maverick with a laser seeker and the bigger penetrating warhead, the "AGM-65E", did go into production, with the US Marine Corps as the primary user. A laser seeker fit Marine needs better than an imager, since ground troops could pinpoint targets on the battleground with laser designators to allow precision strikes with less chance of "fratricide".

An "AGM-65E2" with an improved seeker and software was later introduced. Work was done to develop a Maverick with a millimeter-wave radar imaging seeker head. A Maverick with such a seeker was tested in 1991, but not put into production.

Total production of all variants of the Maverick is in the tens of thousands, and the missile is used by the air forces of over 30 nations. It had been used in small quantities in combat up until the Gulf War in 1991, but it was one of the main smart munitions used in the war against Iraq, with some 5,300 expended. 90% of these were fired by USAF A-10 "Warthog" tank-buster aircraft, which carried a mix of TV and imaging infrared Mavericks. The Mavericks helped destroy thousands of Iraqi tanks, artillery pieces, and vehicles.

The TV and imaging infrared seekers used on the Maverick have been fitted to other precision-guided munitions. The current 2.5-degree FOV TV seeker is designated the "DSU-27/B", and features a clear lens. The imaging infrared seeker is designated as the "WGU-10/B". These seekers are used with the GBU-15(V) glide bomb and the AGM-84 SLAM cruise missile. In 1998, the USAF came to an agreement with Maverick second-source Raytheon to upgrade 1,200 older AGM-65Gs with a new imaging seeker, based on a charge-coupled device (CCD) array. The improved Maverick variant, designated "AGM-65K", is more reliable and is able to operate in lower light levels with its more sensitive seeker.

The following table summarizes the different Maverick variants:

   variant   user       notes
   ______________________________________________________________________

   AGM-65A   USAF        EO seeker / small hollow-charge warhead 
   AGM-65B   USAF        AGM-65A with magnifying EO seeker 
   AGM-65C   unproduced  laser seeker / small hollow-charge warhead
   AGM-65D   USAF        IR seeker / small hollow-charge warhead

   AGM-65E   USMC        laser seeker / big penetrating warhead
   AGM-65F   USN         IR seeker / big penetrating warhead
   AGM-65G   USAF        IR seeker / big penetrating warhead
   AGM-65K   USAF        rebuilt AGM-65G with imaging CCD seeker
   ______________________________________________________________________

* Raytheon is promoting further improvements of the Maverick. On the top of the list is addition of a GPS-INS guidance system and a datalink. This would give the Maverick a "lock on after launch (LOAL)" capability, with the missile flying to the target area from standoff range, and then locked on a target by an operator using the datalink. Even if a lock couldn't be acquired, the GPS-INS system would still get the missile close enough to cause damage to soft targets. LOAL would be particularly useful for the Lockheed Martin F-35 strike fighter, since LOAL would permit internal carriage of Mavericks.

The GPS-INS system would be installed on the nose of the missile, while the datalink system would be installed on the tail. The datalink would allow simultaneous control of several missiles; would allow one aircraft to launch the missile and another to control it; and would also be used to self-destruct the missile if the operator, for example, found the missile had been fired at friendly forces by mistake. The GPS-INS guidance system would have the capacity to store eight sets of target coordinates, along with flight profiles, attack angle, and fuze settings for each target. The guidance system could also be programmed to define "zones of exclusion" that are off-limits to the missile. The navigation system could be programmed on the ground before flight or programmed in flight.

The Maverick rocket motor would be given more fuel to increase standoff distance, and the missile's thermal battery would be improved to provide about three minutes of lifetime to ensure that the missile remained powered in flight. The aircraft display would also be updated to provide such data as remaining time of flight.

The USAF has awarded Raytheon an evaluation contract to test the LOAL Maverick. Raytheon is also promoting a rebuild of AGM-65F IR seeker / big warhead Mavericks with a low-cost laser seeker, since stocks of laser-seeker AGM-65Es are running low, as well as an "extended-range" version of the Maverick with a small turbojet engine that would be fired from helicopters. However, the US armed services now envision the "Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM)" as the ultimate replacement for the Maverick, as well as the TOW and Hellfire antitank missiles.

* In the early 1980s, the US military initiated an effort under the general designation of "Assault Breaker" to develop a wide range of next-generation smart weapons. While the Assault Breaker program did lead to some weapons programs that would be fielded, such as the "SFW" submunition discussed in a later chapter, much of it fizzled out. One of the fizzles was an advanced antiarmor weapon designated "Wasp", apparently with a certain degree of reference to the earlier Hornet missile. Hughes was awarded a contract for the Wasp in 1982.

The Wasp resembled a Maverick in general appearance, except for having a proportionately much longer nose ahead of the wings. The Wasp was also much smaller, with a length of about 1.5 meters (5 feet) and a weight of about 48 kilograms (105 pounds), less than a quarter of the weight of a Maverick.

Wasp was to be tube-launched from a six-tube dispenser, with two missiles per tube. A blast deflection system would protect the rear missile from the exhaust of the front missile. The missiles of course had folding fins. The Wasp was to have a "smart" millimeter-wave seeker that would be able to identify and attack targets on its own after launch. Since such a capability is at the limits of what can be done now, decades later, it appears Wasp was too advanced for the time, and it is unclear if the missile was even test-fired before the program was canceled.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.5] AGM-142 RAPTOR

* One of the more recent additions to the US inventory of smart weapons is the "AGM-142A Raptor", a heavy long-range conventional standoff weapon with a big warhead. The AGM-142A is actually a modification of an Israeli-designed weapon, the Rafael "Popeye", which was introduced in the late 1980s and carried on Israeli McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom strike fighters.

In 1988, the USAF awarded a contract to Rafael and Boeing to obtain a quantity of Popeye missiles and integrate them with the Boeing B-52G. The missile was originally designated "Have Nap" in USAF service, but was later given the more formal designation AGM-142A Raptor. The AGM-142A was also eventually integrated with other attack aircraft, such as the F-16 Falcon.

AGM-142 Raptor

The AGM-142A has a blunt cylindrical fuselage, with four stubby cruciform wings and a hydraulically-operated cruciform tailfins for control. The weapon can be fitted with either a blast-fragmentation or hard-cased penetrating warhead. The AGM-142A is propelled by a constant-thrust solid-fuel rocket. Guidance is either through a TV or imaging-infrared seeker, with an INS for midcourse guidance up to the target area. The television seeker has a telephoto lens to provide a zoom capability. The launch aircraft carries a datalink pod to receive images from the missile.

   AGM-142A RAPTOR:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.72 meters         5 feet 8 inches
   length                  4.57 meters         15 feet
   diameter                53.3 centimeters    1 foot 9 inches
   total weight            1,360 kilograms     3,000 pounds
   warhead weight          364 kilograms       800 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       80 kilometers       50 MI / 43 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

All initial AGM-142As were supplied by Rafael, with minor modifications from the original Popeye configuration for USAF use. The missiles are now being built under license by Lockheed Martin. Officially, the AGM-142A was not used in the Gulf War, since its Israeli origins would have offended America's Arab allies. There were still rumors, strongly denied by the authorities, that a few operational test firings were conducted secretly during the conflict. The AGM-142A may have been upgraded with GPS capability and an automatic target recognition system.

* Rafael has introduced a smaller version of the Popeye for smaller aircraft, and this variant is known as the "Popeye2", or the "AGM-142B Have Lite". It is shorter, 4 meters (13 feet 1 inch) long, and weighs 1,115 kilograms (2,460 pounds). As range has been cited in some sources as the same as that of the AGM-142A, it appears that it carries a smaller warhead. The Popeye2 was introduced into Israeli service in 1995. It has been exported to Turkey and Korea, but does not appear to have been adopted by the US at this time.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.6] AGM-130

* The USAF "AGM-130" weapon, mentioned in the previous chapter, is a direct extension of the GBU-series electro-optical glide bombs, consisting of a Mark 84 GP or BLU-109/B penetrating bomb body with a short-chord wing kit and a solid-rocket booster to give it considerably extended range. A terrain-following guidance system based on a radar altimeter is used for midcourse navigation to the target. This would appear to be a simple enough concept, but the weapon's development was apparently troublesome. Although development began in 1984, the AGM-130 didn't become operational until after the Gulf War.

Production versions of the AGM-130 feature a GPS-INS subsystem backing up the terrain-following navigation. The optical seeker was updated to include a 256-by-256 pixel cadmium-telluride infrared imaging array, along with a CCD-based television imager.

The AGM-130 saw its first use in combat in the air strikes conducted against Iraqi air-defense sites that began in December 1997. Ten were fired, but in late January 1998 one of the AGM-130s missed its intended military target and hit a residential area, suggesting that not all the bugs had been worked out. They were employed again in the Afghanistan war in 2001, being used to perform precision strikes into the entrances of caves used as hideouts by al-Qaeda terrorists.

AGM-130

* Boeing, which eventually became the owner of the GBU weapons and the AGM-130 through the US defense industry consolidation binge of the 1990s, worked with the US Air Force on a turbojet-powered variant of the AGM-130, known informally as the "AGM-130TJ", to provide a longer-range and lighter weapon that could be carried on F-16s as well as F-15s.

The AGM-130TJ was smaller than the original AGM-130, with weight cut from 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds) to 1,072 kilograms (2,365 pounds), and was powered by a French-designed Microturbo small turbojet engine. Range was over 120 kilometers (80 miles), twice that of the original AGM-130.

The AGM-130TJ followed studies performed some years earlier on a turbojet-powered derivative of the AGM-130 for the British CASOM (Conventionally Armed Stand-Off Munition) competition, as well as more recent experiments with a lighter version of the AGM-130 powered by a solid-rocket motor. A USAF F-15 performed the first test launch of the AGM-130TJ in September 1998, but the USAF decided not to pursue development of the weapon.

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.7] SOVIET-RUSSIAN ASMS

* The Soviets were slow to develop ASMs. The first to be introduced, in the late 1960s, was the "Kh-66 Grom". The Kh-66 was a solid-fuel missile with a general appearance similar to that of the US Bullpup-A, with small cruciform fins on the nose and large clipped delta wings on the tail. Like the Bullpup-A, it was radio-guided, though a semi-active radar homing version was apparently developed.

Kh-23 Grom, Kh-25ML, KH-29L, & KH-29T missiles

The Kh-66 was fitted with a hollow-charge warhead. NATO gave the Kh-66, and the improved but similar Kh-23 that followed it, the designation of "AS-7 Kerry".

   KH-66 GROM / AS-7 KERRY:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                82 centimeters      2 feet 8 inches
   length                  3.53 meters         11 feet 7 inches
   total weight            290 kilograms       640 pounds
   warhead weight          110 kilograms       240 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       5 kilometers        3 MI / 2.5 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* The Kh-66 was followed in the early 1980s by another solid-fuel ASM, of similar configuration but larger, the "Kh-25M" series. This was a modular weapon that permitted field fit of different guidance heads, including a radio-guidance system, resulting in the "Kh-25MR" and a laser-seeker system, resulting in the "Kh-25ML". The NATO designation for this weapon was "AS-10 Karen". A radar homing head was also developed; this variant is discussed in the next chapter.

   KH-25ML / AS-10 KAREN:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                82 centimeters      2 feet 8 inches
   length                  4.2 meters          14 feet
   total weight            300 kilograms       660 pounds
   warhead weight          90 kilograms        200 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       20 kilometers       12 MI / 10 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

The Russians have been developing a modular ASM system designated the "Kh-38M" to replace the Kh-25 series. Development has been protracted and there is no schedule for introduction, but mockups have been displayed. The series will include:

There is also talk of an anti-radar derivative. Such details as have been released show the Kh-38 series to be heavier than the Kh-25, roughly about 520 kilograms (1,150 pounds), including a hefty 250 kilogram (550 pound) warhead. Range is given as 40 kilometers (25 miles). It has folding fins for air carriage.

* The Kh-25 led in turn in the early 1980s to yet another similar but still bigger solid-fuel ASM, the "Kh-29". It is produced in two versions, the "Kh-29L" with a laser seeker, and the "Kh-29T" with an EO seeker. The NATO designation is "AS-14 Kedge".

   KH-29L / AS-14 KEDGE:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.1 meters          3 feet 7 inches
   length                  3.9 meters          12 feet 8 inches
   total weight            660 kilograms       1,455 pounds
   warhead weight          320 kilograms       700 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       10 kilometers       6 MI / 5 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* The Soviets also developed a number of big, long-range ASMs, somewhat in the class of the AGM-142. The "Kh-59 Ovod" was introduced in the early 1980s. This solid-fuel missile has an unusual asymmetric arrangement of nose fins and cruciform clipped-delta wings at the tail. It uses an EO seeker. The NATO designation is "AS-13 Kingbolt".

Kh-59 Ovod, Kh-59M Ovod-M
   KH-59 OVOD / AS-13 KINGBOLT:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.35 meters         4 feet 5 inches
   length                  5.85 meters         19 feet 2 inches
   total weight            875 kilograms       1,930 pounds
   warhead weight          250 kilograms       550 pounds

   speed                   subsonic
   range at altitude       60 kilometers       37 MI / 32 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

A turbojet-powered derivative of the Kh-59, designated "Kh-59M Ovod-M", was developed and apparently entered Russian service in the early 1990s. The Kh-59M also uses an EO seeker, with a backup INS that can be updated in flight. The Kh-59M is somewhat bigger than the original Kh-59. It can be fitted with a unitary penetrating warhead or a submunition warhead. The NATO designation is "AS-18 Kazoo", which is amusing because it does look a little bit like a whistle. Work is underway on an extended-range variant, the "Kh-59MK2", with an electro-optic seeker.

   KH-59M OVOD-M / AS-18 KAZOO:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.3 meters          4 feet 3 inches
   length                  5.69 meters         18 feet 8 inches
   total weight            920 kilograms       2,030 pounds
   warhead weight          320 kilograms       700 pounds

   speed                   subsonic
   range at altitude       115 kilometers      70 MI / 62 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

BACK_TO_TOP

[8.8] OTHER ASMS

* A number of other ASMs have been built that saw little or no service. In the early 1960s, the US Navy began to consider development of a heavy air-to-surface missile, leading to award of a contract for the "AGM-53 Condor" to North American Rockwell in 1966. Development proved troublesome, and the first launch of an "XAGM-53A" wasn't until March 1970.

As the Condor emerged, it proved to be somewhat in the same class as, and with similarities to, the AJ-168 Martel. The Condor had cruciform, steerable delta wings mounted on the midbody, and fixed cruciform tailfins. The missile had a television seeker that communicated with the launch aircraft over a two-way datalink, with the seeker relaying its imagery back to a controller in the launch aircraft. The operator could select a target using the imagery, lock the seeker onto a high-contrast element, and then let it perform the terminal attack on its own.

The Condor was powered by a boost-sustain solid-fuel motor. Since the tailcone was occupied by datalink electronics, two exhaust nozzles were fitted below the tail.

   ROCKWELL AGM-53 CONDOR:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                1.35 meters         4 feet 5 inches
   length                  4.22 meters         13 feet 10 inches
   diameter                43 centimeters      17 inches
   total weight            950 kilograms       2,100 pounds
   warhead weight          286 kilograms       630 pounds

   speed                   Mach 2.9
   range at altitude       110 kilometers      68 MI / 60 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

The Condor was approved for production in July 1975, and the Navy expected to obtain 250 missiles beginning in 1976. However, the Condor program was canceled in March 1976, the Navy no longer perceiving it would meet their requirements, and apparently the troublesome development program had made the service gun-shy. Abandonment of the Condor program led to a lengthy exercise in obtaining something better, which would ultimately result in the Navy SLAM cruise missile.

SAAB RB-05A

* SAAB Bofors of Sweden developed an ASM designated the "RB-05A" in the early 1960s. This weapon had a Bullpup-like slender fuselage, but long narrow cruciform delta wings and tail control fins like the later Maverick. The RB-05A had a proximity fuzed warhead and was powered by a boost-sustain prepackaged liquid-fuel motor. It was command-guided over a microwave link, with the pilot directing it by a joystick. It is now out of service.

   SAAB RB-05A:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
 
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   wingspan                80 centimeters      2 feet 8 inches
   length                  3.6 meters          10 feet 10 inches
   diameter                30 centimeters      11.8 inches
   total weight            305 kilograms       672 pounds

   speed                   supersonic
   range at altitude       9 kilometers        6 MI / 5 NMI
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* The Iranians have developed a laser-guided ASM named the "Sattar-1", which is clearly based on the Hughes Phoenix air-to-air missile airframe. Iran was supplied with Grumman F-14A Tomcat fighters and Phoenix missiles during the Shah's reign, and leveraging the Phoenix into a new weapon demonstrates a certain amount of resourcefulness.

BACK_TO_TOP
< PREV | NEXT > | INDEX | SITEMAP | GOOGLE | LINKS | UPDATES | BLOG | EMAIL | DONATE | HOME