Significant New Hellfire II Capability Nears Delivery To U.S. Navy
ORLANDO, FL, 01-AUG-00 --
The first major new variant of the AGM-114 Hellfire missile in 10 years will shortly complete qualification testing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Identified as the AGM-114M, the new missile incorporates a blast fragmentation warhead and delay fuze in the proven Hellfire II airframe. By combining Hellfire II's proven accuracy with the new warhead configuration, existing attack helicopters will gain a potent new capability to destroy ships and buildings at safe standoff ranges. Initial production deliveries to the US Navy are scheduled to begin in September 2000.
Lockheed Martin engineers achieved a significant milestone in insensitive munitions testing at China Lake, California, when the blast fragmentation warhead became the first warhead to successfully complete the demanding test series in its first attempt. The warhead completed slow cook-off, fast cook-off, sympathetic detonation, bullet impact, fragment impact, and 40-foot drop testing and remained safe after all exposures. Hellfire II Technical Director Neal Mumbert noted, We have plenty of experience with Hellfire II and took advantage of this knowledge in developing the blast fragmentation capability. The insensitive munitions test series is very demanding, however, so we're very proud to have met every objective on our first try.
A series of arena tests in May and June demonstrated that the warhead met specified detonation, fragmentation, and incendiary characteristics. The warhead is designed to penetrate
brick or steel-plated targets, and then explode when commanded by a delay fuze. Because it combines high levels of explosive force with large incendiary fragments, the results are devastating in confined areas, such as the hull of a patrol craft, said Mumbert. Initial data reduction indicated that the expected fragment mass and velocity distribution were achieved in each test.
Sled tests showed initial damage capabilities against steel plate and brick wall targets at both low- and high-speed impact. Tests against a steel target plate at a 45 degree angle of obliquity severely damaged the target and demonstrated proper warhead timing delay at 80 m/s impact. In tests against brick walls, detonation effects were powerful enough to cause a 1-foot displacement in the 12-ton concrete test barrier wall that surrounded the test area.
At the Eglin Air Force Base Test Range on June 1, 2000, two AGM-114M missiles scored direct hits on steel target plates located 3.4 and 5.0 km downrange. Both missiles demonstrated expected penetration of the target and proper warhead timing delay and function. We're very close to delivering a significant new capability to the US Navy, said Mike Bennett, Vice President of Air to Ground Missile Systems for Lockheed Martin. Hellfire II is a great missile system with excellent accuracy and the ability to protect aircrews with its large standoff range. Because it's also a modular design, we've been able to evolve Hellfire II to accept new mission requirements. We're excited about giving Navy aircrews a powerful new tool for them to use in coastal defense.
Located in Dallas, TX and Orlando, FL, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, a world leader in electro-optics, smart munitions, advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems, is an operating element of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration business unit based in Bethesda, Maryland.