Monday, August 15, 2011

USAF Completes Development Tests of Laser-Guided Maverick

The U.S. Air Force completed developmental testing (DT) of Raytheon Company's AGM-65 E2/L, the newest variant of the combat-proven laser-guided Maverick missile, clearing the way for the weapon to enter operational testing (OT).

During the U.S. Air Force-Navy test effort, the Air Force conducted aircraft integration as well as laboratory and flight tests of the new laser-guided Maverick on the A-10, F-16, AV-8B and F/A-18 aircraft. Air Force DT culminated in a series of three live-fire shots against moving and static targets from an A-10 and F-16 fighter aircraft. The Navy is expected to complete its flight testing this summer.

"The joint testing community conducted a series of very demanding tests, including two where the missile contended with targets moving at 65 and 72 mph," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Air Warfare Systems product line. "As we begin OT, the warfighter will have an opportunity to put the new laser-guided Maverick through its paces, clearing the way for entry into the inventory of the U.S. and its international partners."

Like legacy variants of the laser-guided Maverick, the AGM-65 E2/L can precisely engage fast-moving and maneuvering targets in urban areas. The AGM-65 E2/L offers several new capabilities, including the ability for a launch aircraft to use its onboard laser designators to guide the weapon to the target.

The AGM-65 E2/L has an enhanced laser seeker and new software that reduces the risk of collateral damage and enables aircraft to use onboard, buddy- and ground-based lasing to designate targets. Earlier versions of the missile only enabled buddy- and ground-based laser designation.

The laser-guided Maverick missile is a direct-attack, air-to-ground precision munition used extensively by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps in ongoing combat operations. The Maverick family of missiles is integrated on more than 25 aircraft and in the inventory of more than 33 nations.

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