Hellfire is an air-to-ground, laser guided, subsonic missile with significant antitank capacity. It can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters or slow-moving fixed-wing aircraft.
Hellfire can be used as an air-to-air or an air-to-ground missile. The Air-to-Ground (AGM)-114 provides precision striking power against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters. The Hellfire missile is capable of defeating any known tank in the world today. It can be guided to the target either from inside the aircraft or by lasers outside the aircraft.
In FY98, Congress added $20M for the procurement of 100 AGM -114M blast fragmentation warhead missiles and 100 each Captive Air Training Missile (CATM)-114K training missiles. The CATM-114K training missiles were delivered in April 2000, and the AGM-114M was delivered in December 2000. In FY00, an $20M was added to provide for the procurement of additional AGM-114K missiles to meet shortages in the inventory.
The Advanced Prototype Engineering and Experimentation (APEX) lab at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., in partnership with PMA-242, demonstrated the latest Modernized Hellfire technologies for use in close air support and urban missions. The APEX lab provides modeling and simulation support for all Services.
Navy, Army, Marine Corps
Primary Function: Point target/anti-armor weapon, Semi-active laser seeker. Three variants: AGM-114B/K/M.
Contractor: Boeing, Lockheed Martin.
Propulsion: Solid propellant rocket.
Length: 5.33 feet (1.6246 meters).
Diameter: 7 inches (17.78 centimeters).
Wingspan: 28 inches (0.71 meter).
Weight: 98 to 107 pounds (44.45 to 48.54 kilograms).
Platforms: Navy: SH-60B/HH-60H Seahawk
Army: AH-64 Apache
Marine: AH-1W Super Cobra
Warhead: Shaped charge and blast fragmentation.
Short-range, laser-guided, air-to-surface missile.
The AGM-114 Hellfire (an acronym for Heliborne, Laser, Fire and Forget) Modular Missile System was designed in the 1970s as a multimission anti-armour and precision attack weapon that would be effective against tanks, bunkers and structures. The requirement included the attack of both stationary and moving vehicle targets. Studies relating to the Hellfire began around 1970 and exploratory development began in 1971. Advanced development of the missile continued through 1976 when the US Army awarded an engineering contract to Rockwell International (now Boeing Corp). Initially the Hellfire missile was to use a tri-service laser seeker. However, Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) is said to have approached the army with a low-cost seeker that it had developed privately. The army initiated a seeker competition between Rockwell and Martin Marietta, which was won by the latter.
The first guided launch of a AGM-114A Hellfire missile took place from a AH-1G Cobra helicopter in late 1978 and in 1979, several ballistic and guided firings took place from AH-64 Apache helicopters. Operational testing by the US Army was completed in 1980 and in 1981, Hellfire was declared ready for production. The first operational rounds were delivered in late 1984 and the Hellfire missile system entered service in 1985. An AGM-114B version was developed for the US Marine Corps, with a low-smoke motor and a safety arming device for shipboard operations. At the same time other seeker options were looked at; dual-mode RF/IR system, Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) and MilliMetre-Wave radar (MMW). It is believed that a RF/IR system was developed and tested, but there have been no recorded deliveries of such a seeker and the current status of the programme is unclear. The IIR and MMW seekers were funded as part of a US Army fire-and-forget Hellfire programme, but this programme was shelved and only the active radar appears to have progressed beyond the early stages of development. The next missile in the family, AGM-114C, was a US Army version of the AGM-114B without the safety arming device.
Soon after the missile was introduced into service, it attracted the attention of the Swedish Coast Artillery Forces, which were seeking a short-range, anti-ship missile specifically for use against landing craft and smaller warships. In 1984, Swedish Defence Materiel Administration placed a contract to adapt Hellfire for the coastal defence anti-ship role. A production contract was placed in 1987 and the system entered service in Sweden as RBS-17. The anti-ship missile with its special to type blast/fragmentation, delayed action warhead is also used in the air-to-surface role.
In 1991, the production of a new variant, AGM-114F, (sometimes referred to as Interim Hellfire) was authorised. The major improvement incorporated was a precursor warhead to give the missile the ability to defeat reactive armour. As a result of an identified shortcoming of the Hellfire system during the 1991 Gulf War and in order to introduce other improvements, a further development programme was started in 1991. In the early days, the programme was known as the Hellfire Optimised Missile Systems (HOMS), but has since been designated AGM-114K and renamed Hellfire 2. AGM-114K incorporates improvements over the AGM-114F including solving the laser obscurant/backscatter problem. Other improvements incorporated are; improved target re-acquisition capability, a digital autopilot to increase launch speeds from 300 knots to M1.1 and produce a steeper terminal dive onto armoured targets, a more powerful precursor warhead, reprogrammability to adapt to changing threats and mission requirements, improved electro-optical countermeasures and regaining the original Hellfire missile length and weight. After successful firing tests, the initial production contract for AGM-114K was awarded in 1993 and deliveries started in December 1994. A second Hellfire 2 (AGM-114K) was developed from 1994, with a blast fragmentation warhead for use against ship targets.
In 1992, the US Army selected a millimetric-wave seeker version of the Hellfire 2 missile for its Longbow helicopter programme and this has the designator AGM-114L. The requirement was to give the Hellfire missile system an all-weather and day/night capability. The Longbow system, formerly known as the Airborne Adverse Weather Weapon System (AAWWS), is being developed for integration onto 220 of the US Army AH-64D Apache helicopters and is planned for one-third of the future RAH-66 Comanche fleet. The programme includes development of a Fire-Control Radar (FCR) system and numerous modifications to the helicopter. The first launch of a Hellfire missile from a Longbow-equipped AH-64D Apache helicopter took place in June 1994. Successful firings have also taken place from an Apache helicopter using data passed from a Longbow-equipped Apache flying more than 700 m apart, without the launch aircraft having acquired the target. GEC-Marconi Dynamics UK (now Marconi Electronic Systems), proposed an active millimetric-wave (94 GHz) seeker as a further alternative and this system, known as Brimstone, was selected by the UK MoD in 1996 for anti-armour weapons from both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. The Brimstone missile uses AGM-114K missile airframe, warhead and motor assemblies.
A night firing sight system, AN/UAS-12C, has been developed for use on helicopters with both BGM-71 TOW and Hellfire missiles; this system has a laser range-finder and designator, a FLIR with x30 magnification and a telescope for day viewing. In 1994, a new Hellfire two- or four-rail launcher, designated M299, was introduced. It has a MIL-STD-1760 aircraft interface, standard NATO 356 mm spaced suspension lugs and covers all Hellfire types, as well as eliminating three Line Replacement Units (LRUs).
Hellfire missiles have been cleared for carriage on AH-64 Apache, AH-1W SuperCobra, MD-530 Defender, OH-58D Kiowa, SH-60/HH-60 Seahawk and UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters. In addition, integration trials have been made with the A 129 Mangusta, BO 105, Lynx and S-70 Seahawk helicopters. Other air-launched applications considered include; RAH-66 Comanche, SA 342 Gazelle, AS 532 Cougar and UH-1 helicopters and A-10, AV-8B Harrier, AC-130 Hercules, F-4 Phantom, F-5E Tiger II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, Harrier and OV-10D Bronco aircraft.
As well as the coast-to-ship mode, design studies have been completed for possible air-to-air, fixed-wing, air-to-surface, vehicle-mounted, surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and ship-launched variants. Initial ship firings were carried out in 1989 and trial firings were made in 1990 against aircraft targets, to prove Hellfire in the air-to-air role. A surface-to-air trial was completed in 1992 against drone helicopter targets. Future growth proposals are reported to include an extended range pulsed rocket motor, boundary layer thrust vector control, and insensitive munitions. In 1998, it was reported that a joint programme between DARPA, US Army, US Marine Corps and US Navy would examine the possible use of Hellfire 2 missiles for a Rapid Reaction Force, using both ground and vehicle launched missiles.
A technology insertion programme for Hellfire improvements will run from 1998 to 2002. This may include a dual mode seeker, possibly semi-active laser and imaging IR and lower cost components to replace life-expired warhead and motor assemblies. A proposed Hellfire 3, with a range increased to 12 km, is being considered by the US Army, with a planned in-service date around 2007. This missile will probably be a joint BGM-71/AGM-114 replacement, designed to fit both launcher and weapon control systems. In 1998, a proposal was made for a demonstration, fitting AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to an Amber UAV, so that an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) mission capability can be evaluated.
The Hellfire family of missiles consists of four generations; basic (AGM-114A/B/C) and anti-ship; interim (AGM-114F); Hellfire 2 (AGM-114K); Longbow (AGM-114L). All Hellfire missiles are similar in shape in that they have a cylindrical body with a dome shaped nose section that has four small clipped delta stabilising fins in a cruciform configuration. On the rear third of the missile around the motor section are four in-line, wide-chord, short-span fixed wings with control fins at their trailing-edges. The missiles are of modular construction being made up of five major sections; seeker, warhead, guidance, propulsion and control. Depending on missile type, the seeker can be semi-active laser or active MMW radar and depending on mission requirement the warhead can be single or tandem HEAT, or blast/fragmentation. For an air-to-air application, the single anti-armour unit would be used with a proximity fuze rather than impact. The guidance units for the AGM-114 A/B/C/F and RBS-17 anti-ship missile are identical, containing actuation gas storage, thermal battery, autopilot electronics and guidance section with pitch and yaw/roll gyros, whereas the AGM-114K and AGM-114L missiles have a totally redesigned unit (see below). All current Hellfire missiles use the same minimum smoke, internal burning, solid propellant motor which accelerates the missile to greater than M1.0. The control unit containing the actuators for the control fins forms the boat tail around the motor's exhaust.
AGM-114A is 1.63 m long, has a body diameter of 178 mm, a wing span of 0.33 m and a launch weight of 45.7 kg. It is fitted with a single shaped charge 8 kg warhead that is detonated by an impact fuze. Guidance is by a semi-active laser seeker tracking a coded laser beam reflected from a designated target using a 1.06 µm wavelength. The missile can also be launched from low level before lock on and will then search for the reflected beam and lock onto target. With different designator codes it is possible to ripple fire the missiles against different targets. This missile has a minimum range of 1.5 km and a maximum range of 8 km. The ground-launched RBS-17 anti-ship missile is the same size and operates in the same manner as the AGM-114A. However, because of the slightly heavier blast/fragmentation warhead and the delayed fuzing system, the missile's launch weight is 48.3 kg. AGM 114B and C are identical in size, weight and operation to the AGM-114A. AGM-114B was developed for the US Marine Corps, with a low-smoke motor and a safety arming device for shipboard operation. AGM-114C was similar to AGM-114B, but without the safety arming device.
The AGM-114F is basically an AGM-114B/C missile with a forward warhead module inserted between the existing SAL seeker section and main warhead. This additional module contains a small precursor explosive charge and a detonation delay spool. This modification has increased the missile's length to 1.8 m and launch weight to 48.6 kg. This version has a minimum range of 1.5 km and a maximum range of 8 km.
The AGM-114K Hellfire 2 is a totally redesigned missile and although it is identical in appearance to the basic AGM-114A, most of the internal components apart from the main warhead, and propulsion and control units have been changed. The new glass-domed section contains an improved semi-active laser seeker, digital autopilot and guidance electronics, precursor warhead with initiating charge, attitude gyros and power supply. The original guidance section has been replaced with a new unit called the control interface group and contains an electronic safe and arm unit, thermal battery and toroidal pneumatic accumulator. AGM-114K is 1.63 m long, has a body diameter of 178 mm, a wing span of 0.33 m and a launch weight of 45.7 kg. It is fitted with an improved tandem warhead in order to defeat explosive reactive armour. The larger 100 mm precursor charge has a molybdenum liner, which is initiated by a different primary charge to cater for the new Magnavox electronic safety and arming unit. The updated SAL seeker has been hardened against electro-optical countermeasures (EOCM) and has improved target discrimination tracking the target rather than backscatter from dust and water vapour. The digital autopilot, based on an Intel microprocessor, provides more accurate control during short-range engagements, and permits trajectory shaping allowing Hellfire 2 to fly beneath cloud cover so that its seeker does not lose target lock on. It also ensures that the terminal phase, dive trajectory remains constant at the optimum angle, regardless of range. It is reported that Hellfire 2 can engage targets between 0.5 and 9 km. The second AGM-114K Hellfire 2 missile version has a 12.5 kg HE blast/fragmentation warhead for use against ship targets and this increases the missile weight to 47.9 kg.
Hellfire missiles can be carried on two or four rail launcher assemblies, the original launcher was the M272 and the latest version is the M299. The M299 incorporates MIL-STD-1760 interfaces; the two rail version weighs 43.6 kg empty and 141 kg loaded, the four rail version weighs 66 kg empty and 260 kg loaded. The M299 can carry AGM-114A to -114K versions and Longbow Hellfire 2.
Longbow is an integrated Fire-Control Radar (FCR) and missile system consisting of a millimetre-wave radar fire-control system mounted on the main rotor mast of the AH-64D Apache/Longbow helicopter and a Hellfire missile incorporating an new MMW active radar seeker. The AGM-114L Longbow missile is basically a AGM-114K Hellfire 2 with the SAL seeker replaced by a MMW one and has a dome-shaped radome instead of a glass-domed nose. The tandem warhead group, control interface group, propulsion and control sections remain the same. The missile, which is sometimes referred to as Longbow/Hellfire 2 is 1.78 m long, has a body diameter of 178 mm, a wing span of 0.33 m and is expected to weigh just under 50 kg. During an attack, target acquisition is carried out either by the Longbow Apache's AN/APG-78 FCR or Target Acquisition Designation Sight (TADS). Its parameters are fed to the Hellfire missile in order to align the missile active MMW radar and inertial guidance systems. The FCR contains an integrated RF interferometer, which locates and classifies any emitter targets and then cues the FCR to the emitter. If it is a moving target or a short-range stationary one, the missile radar acquires the target and Locks On Before Launch (LOBL). In this mode, once launched, the missile's radar updates the missile's guidance system up to target impact. If the target is a long-range stationary one, the missile is launched in the Lock On After Launch (LOAL) mode. In this mode, the missile's inertial guidance steers it in the direction of the target. Once the missile's scanning radar beam acquires the target, the missile locks on and the radar updates the guidance system up to target impact. The Longbow Hellfire 2 missile is expected to have the same range capability as AGM-114F, with a minimum range of 500 m and maximum range of 9 km.
AGM-114 Hellfire missiles entered service in 1985 and are in operational use with the US Army and US Marine Corps. Production is expected to continue until 2001 and an estimated total of 65,000 missiles will be built. A development contract was awarded in March 1990 for AGM-114K Hellfire 2, with a US Army production order of 8,578 missiles planned and first deliveries in 1997. By 1999, over 16,500 Hellfire 2 missiles had been ordered by the US and for export, with over 10,000 deliveries completed. Around 110 Hellfire 2 missiles have been tested, with 107 reported as successful. The US Army ordered 100 AGM-114K anti-ship version missiles in 1998. The first trial firing of an active MMW radar-guided AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire 2 missile was carried out in early 1994, this version was developed for the AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter. Low rate initial production was authorised in December 1995 and the Longbow Hellfire 2 entered service in 1998. The US Army plans to purchase 12,905 AGM-114L missiles.
An export order to Sweden was announced in 1987 for a coastal defence variant, known in Sweden as RBS-17 and Norway placed an order for similar missiles in 1994. Export orders for air-launched Hellfire missiles have been reported to Canada, Egypt, Greece, Israel, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and UAE. Turkey ordered AGM-114K anti-ship missiles in 1999, the first export order for this version. The UK ordered Brimstone (Hellfire with a UK MMW active radar seeker), and for US-built Hellfire 2 and Longbow Hellfire 2 missiles in 1996.
Hellfire production in the USA has been dual-sourced between Rockwell International (now Boeing Corp) and Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin), but in 1995, the companies announced that they would combine the Hellfire 1 and Hellfire 2 programmes with a single assembly, excluding the Longbow variant, under a new company Hellfire Systems LLC. AGM-114L (Longbow Hellfire 2) missiles are being built by the Longbow Limited Liability Co (LBL), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Hellfire missiles are reported to have been widely used against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, with about 4,000 fired. An unconfirmed report in April 1999 stated that Hellfire missiles had been fired from AC-130U Hercules `Spectre' gunships against targets in Serbia and Kosovo.
AGM-114K (Hellfire 2)
AGM-114L (Longbow Hellfire 2)
45.7 kg, 47.9 kg (anti-ship)
8 kg HE shaped charge
HE shaped charge, 12.5 kg HE blast/
Inertial and MMW radar
Military Aircraft and Missile Systems, St Louis, Missouri.
Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles
Orlando, Florida (systems integrating contractors).
Los Angeles, California (Longbow FCR/missile seeker).
November 66 The Laser Missile Systems Branch was organized in the MICOM Lab. Its mission was to research and develop an Army tactical weapon system employing laser devices. Exploratory development of laser semiactive systems had been ongoing since 1963.
1967 Hughes Aircraft Company and Martin Marietta completed system studies for a laser semiactive missile (LASAM). Both contractors concluded that the LASAM was technologically feasible within the existing state of the art.
June 67 The Office, Chief of Research and Development requested the submission of a revised laser semiactive program plan and the formulation of an electro-optical program plan. AMC specified that the plans be directed toward an in-house advanced development program. To carry out the latter concept, 42 more people were detailed to the Laser Missile Systems Branch effective 1 July 67.
September 67 The Laser Missile Systems Branch was reduced in size and scope, and its funds were cut.
March 68 The Combat Developments Command (CDC) approved the Advanced Development Objective and Qualitative Materiel Development Objective for the Missile System, Target Illuminator Controlled (MISTIC), formerly called LASAM. Higher headquarters did not approve this program.
April 68 The Laser Missile Systems Branch was disbanded and management responsibility for the MISTIC program was transferred to the Advanced Systems Laboratory. The latter's primary objective was to fulfill the DOD prerequisites for initiating contract definition for a direct/indirect fire, antitank/assault weapon. Its secondary objective was to advance the state of the art in laser semiactive guidance and optical contrast seeker guidance technology to make these techniques available for application to other weapon roles. The low funding priority for MISTIC continued through FY 71.
March-April 69 After being zero funded for the first three quarters of FY 69, a MISTIC system engineer was appointed and funding was received.
July-October 69 A special task group in the MICOM Lab concentrated on defining and synthesizing an antitank weapon. MISTIC was one of the concepts.
November 69 The MISTIC concept, proposed for the over-the-hill fire capability, was presented to the Office, Chief of Research and Development, but the system was not approved for advanced development.
January 70 A flight demonstration program was directed to test missiles using various seeker heads. Both helicopter and fixed (tower mounted) launchers were also under consideration.
1971 The MISTIC advanced development program was zero funded, but the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Development established a new initiative in terminal homing to start in FY 72. The new program was first titled Heliborne, Laser, Fire and Forget Missile, but the name subsequently changed to Helicopter Launched, Fire and Forget Missile (HELLFIRE).
February 72 Congress released HELLFIRE program funds. DA directed the HELLFIRE effort to include a military potential test.
April 72 The ground laser locator designator (GLLD) entered advanced development. Competitive contracts were awarded to Hughes Aircraft Company and International Laser Systems, Inc. Each contractor would develop and deliver two prototype models to be evaluated through developer technical tests and user agency operational tests.
October 72 The MICOM Lab competitively evaluated Army, Navy, and Air Force candidate seekers. Contractor flight tests were conducted at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida.
11 December 72 MICOM permanently established the HELLFIRE Project Office. The Heliborne Laser Fire and Forget missile program resulted from the Army's requirement to develop a helicopter-launched, direct/indirect fire and forget, laser semiactive guided, terminal homing, antitank, hard point weapon system. One of the key components of the new system was its laser seeker device.
29 December 72 DA approved the Material Need document for the HELLFIRE weapon system.
1973 HELLFIRE was officially offered for tri-service use.
April 73 Bell Aerospace Corporation and Philco Ford Corporation received competitive advanced development contracts for the airborne laser locator designator (ALLD). These contracts were modified in September 73 to include an additional ALLD prototype model from each contractor.
5 July 73 MICOM established the GLLD/ALLD Management Office (Provisional) to coordinate planning as well as to direct and control work and resources for these systems.
November 73 After a substantial cost overrun was projected at mid-contract, the Bell Aerospace Corporation contract for the ALLD program was terminated.
21 December 73 The Office, Chief of Research and Development directed that the HELLFIRE program be reoriented by placing it into accelerated advanced development to resolve various operational uncertainties. The reoriented program required the user to conduct operational tests (OTs) of the system. Development test (DT)/OT hardware was needed.
March 74 Rockwell International Corporation received a $1.2 million letter contract for the advanced development procurement of laser HELLFIRE hardware for use in the operational and technical testing program.
April 74 Hughes Aircraft Company was awarded an engineering development contract for the GLLD.
11 April 74 The GLLD/ALLD Management Office (Provisional) was redesignated as the Office of the Product Manager, Precision Laser Designators (PLD).
May 74 The Philco Ford Corporation delivered the first advanced development ALLD unit.
June 74 MICOM awarded competitive 12-month contracts to Rockwell International Corporation & Hughes Aircraft Company for advanced development of the HELLFIRE modular missile.
9 January 75 The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition announced the redirection of the HELLFIRE program. No more RDTE funds were available for the air defense suppression missile. Increased emphasis was placed on alternative guidance systems for the modular HELLFIRE.
March 75 The tri-service Joint Development Plan for Ground Laser Designators (GLDs) was approved by all of the armed services.
25 March 75 The Air Force, which had been assigned as the executive service for the engineering development of the laser seeker, awarded an engineering development contract to Rockwell International Corporation.
June 75 Philco Ford Corporation delivered the final ALLD unit.
March 76 The Deputy Commander for Materiel Development, DARCOM, decided that the Precision Laser Designator (PLD) would continue as a product office, but he requested a review and update of the charter, which would be forwarded to DARCOM for approval.
30 March 76 The Deputy Secretary of Defense authorized the full-scale engineering development of the laser HELLFIRE. It was also decided to arm the Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH) with the HELLFIRE.
30 June 76 Both Rockwell International Corporation and Hughes Aircraft Company delivered HELLFIRE prototype hardware.
September 76 DARCOM decided to restructure the management of the GLD programs. The PLD Product Office became the single Army focal point for these programs.
September 76 The PLD Product Office was notified that its mission was being expanded to include the Lightweight Laser Designator (LWLD) and the Modular Universal Laser Equipment (MULE). Responsibility for the Airborne Target Acquisition Fire Control System (ATAFCS), formerly known as the ALLD, would be transferred to another MICOM element. The PLD Product Office would also be upgraded to a project office and renamed.
October 76 The ATAFCS was transferred from the PLD Product Office to the Technology Laboratory. It was also relegated to use solely in testing. DOD replaced ATAFCS with the Target Acquisition Designation System (TADS), which was being developed by the U.S. Army Aviation Research and Development Command (AVRADCOM).
October 76 As part of the restructuring of GLD program management, DARCOM directed the U.S. Army Electronics Command (ECOM) to divest itself of all GLD engineering development. The MULE and LWLD, the latter renamed the laser target designator (LTD), were transferred to the PLD Product Office.
8 October 76 Rockwell International Corporation initiated effort under the HELLFIRE engineering development contract.
13 October 76 The U.S. Army Missile Research and Development Command (MIRADCOM) was tasked to develop the capability to clearly relate laser designator performance to weapon system probability of hit. A board of directors, which included the HELLFIRE Project Manager (PM), managed the effort to develop the laser designator/weapon system simulation (LDWSS).
12 November 76 The Deputy Secretary of Defense approved the HELLFIRE Modular Missile System (HMMS) Decision Coordinating Paper No. 118, which designated HELLFIRE as the point target subsystem for the AAH.
26 November 76 DA approved the letter of agreement for a fire and forget antitank missile system for Army helicopters. Higher headquarters also supported the advanced development of a terminal homing infrared type seeker to be used on the HMMS.
April 77 Hughes Aircraft Company was awarded the engineering development contract for the MULE.
July 77 It was decided to convert the PLD Product Office to the GLD Project Office. The new organization's charter was approved on 31 August 77.
August 77 The LTD in-process review approved a limited production decision. This action was taken as a result of Congressional concern about duplication in design as well as to provide the designated capability while the MULE was being developed and tested.
9 September 77 Martin Marietta received two new contracts for the low cost alternative laser seeker (LOCALS).
4 January 78 The Air Munitions Requirements and Development Committee approved the Joint Services Operational Requirement (JSOR) for the HELLFIRE. The Army was designated as the lead development service for the system
April 78 MICOM awarded a contract to Hughes Aircraft for limited production of the LTD.
25 September 78 The first programmed HELLFIRE missile was fired at Redstone Arsenal.
December 78 The MIRADCOM Commander selected the Martin Marietta LOCALS as the HELLFIRE laser seeker. The Air Force subsequently canceled the 25 March 75 contract with Rockwell International Corporation.
19 March 79 The GLLD was type classified as Standard.
30 March 79 Hughes Aircraft Company received the first GLLD production contract.
June 79 DA decided that the Army did not need the LTD, so the second buy was canceled.
July 79 MICOM initiated the concept design effort for the Ground Launched HELLFIRE (GLH) missile, which would be fully integrated into various vehicles.
October 79 The development effort began to adapt the GLLD for use under armor in the Fire Support Team/Vehicle (FIST/V).
1 October 79 The HELLFIRE & GLD Project Offices were formally merged into the HELLFIRE/GLD Project Office.
February 80 Hughes Aircraft Company delivered the first MULE engineering development unit. The delivery of 10 units under the contract was completed in September 80.
March 80 The design study of the GLH in a totally integrated vehicle concept was completed.
April-June 80 Operational tests on the HELLFIRE missile were conducted at Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation, California.
10 February 81 It was decided to cancel the fire and forget seeker (the adaptation of the imaging infrared seeker to the HELLFIRE missile) full-scale development program primarily because of cost and aircraft integration concerns.
March 81 The final LTD units were delivered.
25 February 82 Martin Marietta received a contract for the initial production of HELLFIRE laser seekers.
29 March 82 HELLFIRE was approved for full-scale production.
31 March 82 Rockwell International Corporation was awarded a contract for the first production buy of HELLFIRE launchers and missiles.
5 April 82 The MICOM Commander approved the full release of the LTD.
30 April 82 Rockwell International Corporation received a contract for the development and qualification of a minimum smoke motor to eliminate the firing signature of the HELLFIRE missile, thereby increasing system survivability.
7 June 82 The MICOM Commander approved the full release of the GLLD.
July 82 The 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, became the first unit equipped with GLLDs and COPPERHEAD training rounds.
July 82 The engineering development contract was awarded for the modification of the HELLFIRE autopilot to improve the missile's capability in low visibility conditions. This effort was designed to cause the missile to fly a more direct trajectory from the launch aircraft to the target during periods of adequate horizontal visibility and low ceiling.
July 82 The LTD was first fielded to the 18th Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg.
November 82 The GLLD/COPPERHEAD was fielded to the initial operational capability (IOC) unit, the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division (ID), Fort Stewart, Georgia.
19 November 82 The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM) successfully completed the FISTV-G/VLLD prototype qualification test program.
March 83 The final fielding of the LTD was made to Fort Lewis, Washington.
15 July 83 The first MULE production contract was awarded to Hughes Aircraft Company.
22 September 83 NATO interoperability tests using the HELLFIRE missile system were successfully conducted in Norway. This was significant because these tests showed that the HELLFIRE was compatible with other NATO platforms and designators. They also illustrated that HELLFIRE integration into other launch aircraft could be accomplished quickly and easily. It was also the second time that the HELLFIRE system was tested on foreign soil in cooperation with NATO and other allied powers.
1984 The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) granted an exception to the National Disclosure Policy to allow the HELLFIRE to be adapted to meet Swedish coastal defense needs. A lease agreement was initiated by Sweden for use of GLLD equipment in a feasibility study of coastal defense using the HELLFIRE system.
22 June 84 The MICOM Commander approved the full release of the G/VLLD.
28 August 84 The first joint firing of a HELLFIRE missile was conducted at Yuma Proving Ground. The crew of an OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR located the target with the helicopter's laser and an AH-64A APACHE gunner fired a live warhead HELLFIRE missile, which hit directly on the target.
20 September 84 Fielding of the first increment of G/VLLDs to the U.S. Army, Europe (USAREUR) began. This action was completed on 26 October.
May 85 The first U.S. Army Training and Doctrine (TRADOC) unit was equipped with the HELLFIRE as scheduled. By year's end, TRADOC had received all of its HELLFIRE equipment, repair parts, and technical publications.
31 October 85 The final G/VLLD procurement was awarded as an option to the Hughes Aircraft contract.
November 85 The G/VLLD was deployed to Korea.
1986 A production milestone was achieved after Hughes Aircraft Company delivered the 500th G/VLLD to the Army.
March 86 The first FISTVs were fielded to Korea and USAREUR.
13 March 86 The Naval Air Systems Command granted approval for the full production of more than 11,000 missiles for the AH-1J and AH-1W fleet.
4 April 86 The United States and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a Swedish GLH to satisfy Sweden's coastal defense requirement.
10 April 86 The MICOM Commander approved the release of the HELLFIRE system to the U.S. Army APACHE. The system met the first unit equipped (FUE) date of 15 April 86 for U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) with the fielding to the 3d Squadron, 6th Cavalry Brigade Air Combat.
August 86 Fielding of the MULE with the Marine Corps began.
5 August 86 The MICOM Commander approved the full release of the MULE.
29 August 86 The MICOM Commander requested the full release of the improved low visibility (ILV) autopilot and the minimum smoke motor modifications to the HELLFIRE missile for issue to the U.S. Navy/USMC. AMC formally approved the release on 3 October 86.
30 September 86 The USMC SEA COBRA/HELLFIRE IOC was met with the deployment of the system to the 39th Marine Aircraft Group, Camp Pendleton, California.
October 86 Fielding of the tactical G/VLLD to Korea was completed.
November 86 G/VLLD deployment to USAREUR was finished.
1987 All MULE fieldings for the active USMC were completed.
April 87 The governments of Sweden and the United States signed the production supplement to the 4 April 86 MOU providing for the development of the Swedish GLH.
July 87 FISTV fielding to USAREUR was completed.
August 87 The first fielding of the G/VLLD to a light infantry division was accomplished with the hand-off of equipment to the 7th ID (Light), Fort Ord, California.
17 November 87 The contract for the U.S. GLH, being developed for the 9th ID, Fort Lewis, was awarded to Rockwell International Corporation.
FY 88 During the first quarter, the first USAREUR unit to be fielded with the HELLFIRE — the 2/6th Attack Helicopter Battalion—participated in the Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) 88 exercise.
FY 88 In the second quarter, the final MULE fielding for the IV Marine Amphibious Force (Active Reserve) was completed.
March 88 The 1st Attack Helicopter Battalion, 6th CAV, III Corps was the first operational unit to fire HELLFIRE missiles.
31 May 88 The contract for the improved HELLFIRE warhead was awarded to Rockwell International Corporation. The new warhead would enhance the HELLFIRE missile in its anti-armor role.
FY 89 The Electronics & Space Corporation (Emerson Electric Company) received a technical feasibility demonstration contract to show the capabilities and effectiveness of the HELLFIRE missile and launcher electronics development by Rockwell International Corporation for the Swedish Shore Defense System with the ITV.
11 May 89 A Product Manager for the HELLFIRE Optimized Missile System (HOMS) was established with responsibility for all activities for the procurement and production of end items and related support equipment. An all digital, all ADA software missile that made it easily adaptable to alternate seekers, the HOMS included improvements that enhanced lethality and electro-optical performance in a countermeasure environment.
20 December 89 AH-64 APACHES fired seven HELLFIRE missiles during Operation Just Cause in Panama. All were direct hits. This was the first combat use of the HMMS.
25 February 90 All activities and functions related to the GLD were transferred to the MICOM Weapons Systems Management Directorate (WSMD). The HELLFIRE/GLD Project Office became the HELLFIRE Project Office.
2 March 90 Martin Marietta Corporation received a letter contract for the operational systems development effort known as HOMS.
August 90 HELLFIRE equipment was deployed to support Operation Desert Shield/Storm (ODS). It was the first and last weapon fired during the conflict.
December 90 DOD approved the entry of the Longbow HELLFIRE into full-scale development.
26 December 90 A letter contract for full-scale development of the Longbow HMMS was awarded to a joint venture between Martin Marietta Corporation & Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
FY 91 A 16-month program began to determine the most appropriate method for integrating the HELLFIRE missile into the candidate systems for the GLH-Heavy (GLH-H). A recommended concept based on the M2 Bradley chassis and the AH-64 APACHE/UH-60 BLACK HAWK fire control systems was developed.
March 91 Developmental and qualification testing of the GLH-Light (GLH-L) was completed. The GLH-L system consisted of an M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) with a GLH vehicle adapter kit. The combat load included eight standard laser guided HELLFIRE missiles (two on the launch rails & six stowed).
24 April 91 The Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) directed that the HELLFIRE Project Office be redesignated the Air-to-Ground Missile Systems (AGMS) Project Management Office.
June 91 TRADOC received five GLH-L systems for operational testing at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, all of which were extremely successful.
FY 92 The HOMS name used during development was changed to HELLFIRE II, an improved version of the current HELLFIRE missile then in production.
FY 92 During the second quarter, fielding of the HMMS with the OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR helicopters began with TRADOC.
1993 The AGMS PMO teamed with Rockwell International Corporation, Tactical Systems Division to greatly reduce the amount of ozone depleting compounds (ODCs) used in the circuit card manufacturing process. For this effort, the project office & contractor were awarded the EPA Stratospheric Protection Award for exceptional contributions to global environmental protection—the only Army element to be so recognized.
April 93 Contractor field service representatives (FSRs) were fielded for the HMMS, five in the Continental United States (CONUS) and two Outside CONUS (OCONUS). This action greatly improved HELLFIRE's true readiness.
26 May 93 Martin Marietta Technologies, Inc. (MMTI) received a contract for the production of the AFGM-114K HELLFIRE II missile.
29 June 93 The AMC Commander approved the full material release of the AGM-114F Interim (IHW) HELLFIRE missile for use with the APACHE helicopter. The interim missile had a new warhead section, containing a second (forward) warhead, which allowed the system to defeat current fielded reactive active armor.
1 December 93 The MICOM Commander approved the full material release of the Interim (IHW) HELLFIRE missile for use by U.S. Navy units and foreign military sales (FMS) customers with the COBRA helicopter (AH-1W).
FY 94 The production of HELLFIRE II missiles began with the delivery of two missiles for Longbow integration tests.
May 95 The MICOM Commander approved the full material release of the Interim (IHW) HELLFIRE missile for used on the OH-58D KIOWA WARRIOR helicopter.
7 July 95 The HELLFIRE II (formerly HOMS) Product Manager was deactivated.
January 96 The full material release of the AGM-114K HELLFIRE II missiles for use on Army platforms was approved.
March 96 The full material release of the HELLFIRE II for use by the Navy for the COBRA helicopter was approved.