Definitions

AGM

AGM-88 HARM

AGM-88 HARM
Specifications
Primary Function Air-to-surface anti-radiation missile; attack and destruction of hostile radar installations.
Contractor Raytheon Corporation (originally developed by Texas Instruments ATK (Developing AGM-88E)
Power Plant Thiokol dual-thrust, solid-propellant rocket engine
Length 4.1 m (13 ft 8 in)
Launch Weight 360 kg (800 lb)
Diameter 254 mm (10 in)
Wing Span 1.1 m (3 ft 8 in)
Range 90+ km (80+ statute miles, 57+ nautical miles)
Speed 2,280 km/h
Guidance Passive radar homing with home-on-jam, EHF active radar homing in E variant
Radiofrequency range 500-20,000 MHz for AGM-88C
Warhead Blast fragmentation; warhead weight 68 kg (150 lb)
Unit Cost US$284,000
IOC 1985

The AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) is an air-to-surface tactical missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions associated with surface-to-air missile radar systems. The missile was originally developed by Texas Instruments (TI) as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation (RAYCO) when TI's defense business was purchased by RAYCO.

The AGM-88 can detect, attack and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input. The proportional guidance system that homes in on enemy radar emissions has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose. A smokeless, solid-propellant, dual-thrust rocket motor propels the missile at speeds up to Mach 2. HARM, a Navy-led program, was integrated onto the A-6E, A-7 and F/A-18 initially and later onto the EA-6B. RDT&E for use onboard the F-14 was begun, but not completed. The Air Force introduced HARM onboard the F-4G Wild Weasel and later on specialized F-16 aircraft equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS).

The HARM missile was approved for full production in March 1983 and deployed in late 1985 with VA-72 and VA-46 aboard USS America. Its first combat use was shortly thereafter against a Libyan SA-5 site in the Gulf of Sidra in March 1986 followed by Operation Eldorado Canyon in April. HARM was used extensively by the United States Navy and the United States Air Force for Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War of 1991.

"Magnum" is spoken over the radio to announce the launch of an AGM-88. During the Gulf War, if an aircraft was illuminated by enemy radar a bogus "Magnum" call on the radio was often enough to convince the operators to power down. [The Transformation of American Air Power: A RAND Research Study By Benjamin S. Lambeth]

The newest upgrade is the AGM-88E Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), which is a joint venture by the Italian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense.

The AARGM will feature the latest software and enhanced capabilities, intended to counter radar shutdown. To further enhance it's capabilities, passive radar and an active millimeter wave seekers will be installed.

Gulf War Friendly Fire Incident

During the Gulf War, the HARM was involved in a friendly fire incident when the pilot of an F-4G Wild Weasel escorting a B-52 bomber mistook the latter's tail gun radar for an Iraqi AAA site (after the tail gunner targeted the F-4, mistaking the Wild Weasel for an Iraqi MiG). The pilot fired the missile, and learned in horror that the missile was locked on to the B-52. Fortunately, the missile failed to shoot down the B-52, and it survived with damage to its tail by shrapnel. The B-52 was renamed “In HARM’s Way,” an obvious pun on the AGM-88 which nearly brought it down.

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