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AGM-45 Shrike

The AGM-45 SHRIKE series weapon system is a passive air-to-ground missile whose mission is to home on and destroy or suppress radiating radar transmitters, directing both ground antiaircraft fire and surface-to-air missiles. The system consists of an AGM-45 guided missile, AERO-5A/B or LAU-118 launcher, and a launch aircraft configured with SHRIKE-unique avionics and a target identification acquisition system. The AGM-45 SHRIKE guided missile is composed of four major sections; guidance, warhead, control, and rocket motor. Along with the wing and fin assemblies, the sections make up the all-up-round missile. Several missile versions have been developed and produced to home on certain types of enemy radar transmitters. Each version consists of a guidance section specially developed and tuned to a specific frequency range unique to an individual threat radar. The AERO-5B-1 and LAU-118 series rail launchers are used to launch the SHRIKE missile. They provide the electrical and mechanical interface between the SHRIKE guided missile and the launch aircraft.

During the Vietnam War, aircraft launched the first combat firing of the Shrike. Shrike was developed following many of the same principles that guided Sidewinder development: simplicity, reliability, maintainability, producibility, improvability. The AGM-45 was the first mass produced missile built specifically for the anti-radar mission, and more than 20,000 Shrikes were produced beginning in 1962. The Shrike's effectiveness was limitated by the requirement that the missile be pointed at the intended target radar during launch, and that the Shrike will lose its lock if the radar ceases to radiate. The Shrike wss replaced by the much improved AGM-88 HARM.

The AGM-45 was originally developed for the Soviet air defense system set up in Cuba. The main contractor was Texas Instruments (now part of Raytheon). NOTS developed Shrike, the first successful antiradar missile, beginning in 1958 as a direct response to Fleet needs, and China Lake personnel took the missile to the carriers in Southeast Asia in the 1960s.

It entered service in October 1964, and it was stopped in 1981. It has developed into a large series including more than 20 modifications. The cumulative production quantity exceeds 17,000, and the average unit price is about 26,500 US dollars. In addition to being equipped with the U.S. Air Force and Navy, it was also exported to the United Kingdom, Israel and Iran. It has also been used in the Vietnam War and the Middle East. It was used in actual combat operations such as the war and the US air raid on the "El Dorado Canyon" in Libya in 1986.

As the first-generation anti-radiation missile, the Shrike had obvious shortcomings. The frequency band covered by the seeker was too narrow. Although all models of Shrike adopt a universal four-arm planar spiral antenna that can reduce the size of the world to less than 1/4 of the target radar wavelength, the seeker covers the frequency band. Too narrow, in order to deal with radars working in different frequency bands, many seekers have to be developed and selected based on known intelligence before the attack. The early model relied on as many as 18 types of seekers to cover the D~J band (1~20 GHz). The later model did not improve significantly in this respect. This is the most important reason for the large number of models.

The guidance method is single: the Shrike series can only follow the electromagnetic waves emitted by the radar. Flying to the target, once the opponent’s radar adopts measures such as shutdown, the missile will lose its guidance information source and cannot hit the target. During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese army used several measures such as shutting down the missile, turning on multiple radars alternately, and swinging the radar antenna at a large angle to "trick" the missile. In addition, measures such as rapidly changing the operating frequency of the radar were adopted to address the defects of the seeker. The hit rate of the Shrike dropped to %~6% in 1970.

Even if the opponent did not adopt countermeasures, most of the Shrike in actual combat landed more than 20 meters away from the target, and the warhead destroyed soft targets without armor protection. The lethal radius is only 5 to 15 meters. This shows that the Shrike needs to improve the direction finding accuracy of the seeker and the power of the warhead.

Manufacturer Texas Instruments,
Sperry Rand/Univac
Weight 390 lbs.
Length 10 ft.
Diameter 8 inches
Wingspan 3 ft.
Guidance: Radar-homing
Propulsion Rocketdyne Mk 39 or Aerojet Mk 53 polybutadiene solid-fuel rocket
Speed approx. Mach 2
Range approx. 10 mi for AGM-45A
up to 28.8 mi for AGM-45B with improved rocket motor
Warhead 145 lbs conventional high-explosive/fragmentation

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Page last modified: 01-07-2021 17:59:57 ZULU