Hellfire II tactical missile

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of AGM-114K3A or AGM-114R3 Hellfire tactical missiles, along with associated support services, to Qatar.

Under the estimated $137m FMS, Qatar has requested 700 AGM-114K3A or AGM-114R3 Hellfire tactical missiles, 25 training missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical data, personnel and training equipment, as well as logistical support services.

The potential sale is expected to support the Qatari military’s goal of upgrading its anti-surface warfare capability, while further enhancing its interoperability with the US and other allies.

According to the notification, the missiles will be deployed to counter existing and future attacks against strategic targets across the country, which include infrastructure and resources of importance to the security of the US.

The sale will also contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US as well as enhance the security of its ally, Qatar, which continues to serve as an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle-Eastern region.

Capable of launch from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms, the AGM-114R Hellfire is a precision-strike, multi-purpose air-to-surface missile designed primarily for anti-armour use, against a wide range of targets.

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Equipped with semi-active laser seekers, the missile can be employed by lock-on before launch or lock-on after launch for increased platform survivability.

The AGM-114KA Hellfire II is an advanced variant of AGM-114 missile, featuring a 9kg warhead and digital autopilot improvements that enable target reacquisition even after lost laser lock.

The department did not provide any details about the prime contractor for the programme.

Image: The components of Lockheed Martin’s Hellfire II tactical missile. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.