A US Air Force base in Germany has recently upgraded its AGM-65 Maverick H and K-model missile systems as part of air force efforts to modernise its air and space inventories.
The AGM-65 Maverick is used on fighter aircraft and uses a camera to track targets and send images to the pilot.
The H model is a blast-fragment missile designed for defeating ground troops while the K model, is a penetrator missile targets heavy armoured tanks.
Through the upgrade, over 70 missiles were upgraded by replacing the software circuit card in its guidance control section.
For the retrofit, a controlled environment was created and the card was upgraded and tested to make sure the circuitry was installed correctly.
The retrofit was decided after Raytheon conducted a three-year tracker study to determine if upgrading the software card into the existing stockpile would increase missile accuracy.
The upgrade also added an in-flight abort option to the missile that will aid in controlling the amount of collateral damage caused.
USAF 86th MUNS conventional maintenance section assistant NCO Tech. Sgt. Michael Montaldo said that other than the increased reliability of the assets, the air force will save $42.8m by upgrading their existing stockpile.
“They won’t have to pay for more new missiles or the shipping costs involved,” he said.
The Ramstein air base in Germany is the fourth base to undertake the retrofit programme. By July 2011, over 2,000 AGM-65 Maverick H and K models will be updated across the USAF.