Raytheon’s upgraded AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) has successfully completed a flight test.

The missile’s upgrade programme saw the integration of a GPS receiver and an improved inertial measurement unit (IMU) for accurate navigation, as well as a digital flight computer to combine targeting solutions from navigation and seeker systems.

The upgrade, called the HARM Control Section Modification (HCSM), is part of an 18-month contract awarded by the US Air Force (USAF) in 2010. The HSCM is designed to improve the missile’s hit probability, while controlling its flight path.

Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems vice president, said the HCSM enhances the missile’s anti-radar capability to destroy counter-HARM tactics, simultaneously lowering the risk of friendly fire and collateral damage.

"HCSM also enables warfighters to leverage HARM’s supersonic speed and standoff capability to rapidly and accurately engage time-critical targets," Schulte added.

Chuck Pinney, Raytheon Missile Systems HARM programme director, said the HSCM provides the warfighter with enhanced capability, while offering the best value to the taxpayer.

"Instead of buying similar systems that cost more, or spending billions of dollars to develop an entirely new system, Raytheon’s HCSM will give HARM [a] new capability at an affordable price," Pinney added.

Raytheon has completed two flight tests of the HCSM-modified HARMs using F-16 fighter jets in April and May 2012 respectively.

During the first test, the missile successfully impacted its primary target even though it was distracted by a similar target, while the second featured use of GPS coordinates by the missile against a simulated time-critical target with high accuracy.

ATK is also bidding for the full rate production contract of the missile, which is scheduled to be awarded in late 2012.

The AGM-88 HARM is a tactical, air-to-surface missile designed to inhibit or destroy surface-to-air missile radars, early warning radars, as well as radar-directed air defence artillery systems.

Image: The AGM-88 HARM being uploaded on a US Navy’s F/A-18C Hornet fighter aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Brian Fleske, US Navy.