New Hellfire II Missile Takes First POP Flight Test

27 October 2009 (Last Updated October 27th, 2009 18:30)

A new AGM-114R Hellfire II missile has completed its first proof-of-principle (POP) flight test. The POP 1 flight test showcased a lock-on-before-launch engagement of a stationary target board at 3.2 miles. The test flight validated new components and software along backward c

A new AGM-114R Hellfire II missile has completed its first proof-of-principle (POP) flight test.

The POP 1 flight test showcased a lock-on-before-launch engagement of a stationary target board at 3.2 miles.

The test flight validated new components and software along backward compatibility of the missile with Hellfire II platforms that cannot provide targeting information to the missile.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control air-to-ground missile systems programmes director Ken Musculus said the missile's multifunctional warhead enables the AGM-114R to neutralise a broad set of targets previously covered by four different warhead models.

Targets include everything from armour and air defence systems to patrol boats and enemy combatants in SUVs or caves, Musculus said.

"Warfighters won't have to decide ahead of time what they might encounter and load the appropriate combination of missiles; with the multifunctional Hellfire II, they can meet many contingencies with a single missile," he said.

"A new inertial measurement unit enables properly equipped platforms to launch missiles at targets behind them without first having to turn the aircraft around."

The new missile can be fired from both rotary-wing and unmanned platforms and features a modular design through replacement of circuit boards, transistor and other hardware components with software.

The missile has undergone ten precursor warhead tests, four main warhead tests and five tests of tandem warheads within the Hellfire guidance section.

Two following POP flight tests scheduled for early 2010, will test live warheads.