HARM missile

Raytheon has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to commence full rate production of the AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) control section modification (HCSM) missiles.

Awarded after a down-select competition, the $12.3m contract covers modification of the existing HARM missiles to help enhance its hit probability, while controlling its flight path.

The HSCM upgrades include integration of a GPS receiver and an improved inertial measurement unit (IMU) for accurate navigation, as well as a digital flight computer to help the missile combine targeting solutions from navigation and seeker systems.

Raytheon Missile Systems HARM programme director Chuck Pinney said the upgrade programme is designed to fill a critical capability requirement for the warfighter.

"Leveraging several years of experience with HARM, Raytheon’s HCSM will provide the air force with enhanced capability and accuracy, while simultaneously reducing collateral damage or risk of fratricide," Pinney added.

"More than 4,000 HARM missiles are currently operational with the US military and eight international customers."

Raytheon secured a HCSM limited production phase contract along with ATK in December 2010, and also completed flight tests of the HCSM-modified HARMs using F-16 fighter jets in 2012.

The company has partnered with Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and others for the HCSM programme, which also adds new features that degrade counter-HARM tactics, simultaneously lowering the risk of fratricide or collateral damage.

Upgrade work as part of the contract is scheduled to start early this year, whereas delivery of HCSM units will commence in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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

More than 4,000 HARM missiles are currently operational with the US military and eight international customers.

Image: An AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile mounted on an F/A-18C aircraft. Photo US Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Brian Fleske.