AGM-114K Hellfire II Optimized Missile System (HOMS)
The combat-proven HELLFIRE II Missile is the primary air-to-ground precision weapon for rotary wing and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) for all U.S. services as well as 16 other nations. By 2016 over 15,000 missiles had been fired since the beginning of overseas contingency operations on 9/11. HELLFIRE is the only missile for multi-mission, multi-target capability and precision-strike lethality on today’s joint rotary wing platforms. The AGM-114R multi-purpose HELLFIRE II Missile consolidates the capabilities of all previous HELLFIRE II Semi-Active Laser (SAL) variants into a single missile that defeats a broad range of targets from air defense systems to enemy combatants in the open. The Longbow HELLFIRE is a millimeter wave radar-aided inertial guidance missile that provides a fire-and-forget capability to engage targets both day and night, in adverse weather and with battlefield obscurants present.
HELLFIRE II is the latest production version of the Laser HELLFIRE missile. Laser HELLFIRE presently is used as the main armament of the U.S. Army's AH-64 Apache and U.S. Marine Corps's AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters. The laser missile homes on a laser spot that can be projected from ground observers, other aircraft, or the launching aircraft itself. This enables the system to be employed in a variety of modes: autonomous, air or ground, direct or indirect, single shot, rapid, or ripple fire. HELLFIRE II and Longbow HELLFIRE missiles are complementary. The combination of HELLFIRE II's precision guidance and Longbow HELLFIRE's fire-and-forget capability will provide the battlefield commander flexibility across a wide range of mission scenarios, permitting fast battlefield response and high mobility not afforded by other anti-armor weapons.
HELLFIRE II incorporates many improvements over the Interim HELLFIRE missile, including solving the laser obscurant/backscatter problem, the only shortcoming identified during Operation Desert Storm. Other improvements include electro-optical countermeasure hardening, improved target reacquisition capability, an advanced technology warhead system capable of defeating reactive armor configurations projected into the 21st century, reprogrammability to adapt to changing threats and mission requirements, shipboard compatibility, and regaining the original HELLFIRE missile weight and length (100 lb., 64 in).
The external configuration of the AGM-114K is the same as the AGM-114B and is fully compatible with the basic Hellfire missile system, including the launch platform and support system. Commonality in the configuration of the three missiles allows use of the same shipping containers, handling tools, test fixtures, and launchers. Enhancements in the AGM-114K include an Electro-optical Countermeasure hardened guidance section, digital auto-pilot function, anti-reactive armor forward warhead, and Electronic Safe, Arm, Fire (ESAF) Device for the main and forward warheads. The AGM-114K is externally reprogrammable to accommodate threat changes or performance enhancements.
The forward warhead has the capability of defeating explosive reactive armor employed on tanks, bunkers, and other hard point targets. State-of-the-art liner technology has been incorporated into the forward warhead.
The main warhead is a shaped charge that has precision initiation timing in tandem with the forward warhead to provide the highest level of penetration. It has the capability of defeating tanks, bunkers, and other point-armored targets.
The guidance functions in the AGM-114K are Airborne Data Automation (Ada) software controlled. They are reprogrammable to defeat future threats and have a modular design for alternate seeker compatibility. AGM-114K autopilot functions reside in the Guidance Electronic Group (GEG), which is located in the aft part of the main warhead section.
The Electronic Safe, Arm, Fire [ESAF] Device is a totally electronic warhead SAD, which uses digital circuitry to control exploding foil initiator, slapper-type detonators that are physically in-line with the AGM-114K warhead explosive charges. The ESAF Device consists of a main ESAF module, with an integral Warhead Firing Module (WFM) for the main warhead, connected to the WFM for the forward warhead by a cable. A 26-connector ribbon cable provides all internal electrical power and signal interface between the missile and the main ESAF module through the control interface circuit card assembly.
The propulsion section of the AGM-114K is the same as the AGM-114B.
The control section is functionally and physically the same as the AGM-114B configuration, however, separate parts define the fins and control section.
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