The AGM-114 Hellfire Air-to-surface anti-armour missile is the latest version of the multi-purpose ground missile developed by Lockheed Martin. It has a length of 163 cm and a diameter of 17.8 cm. The 49.4kg missile is equipped with a semi-active laser seeker, which can be selected in two different modes: pre-fire lock or post-fire lock to defeat a variety of targets. The missile can be launched from helicopters, fixed-wing aircrafts, land-based tripods, vehicles and ships, and it can carry a multipurpose warhead with a maximum range of 8 kilometers.
The missile uses a 9 kg shaped armor-piercing warhead, equipped with 6.8 kg of high-energy mixed explosives, with a maximum armor-piercing thickness of 1400 mm (1.4 meters); one improved version of the Hellfire, the AGM-114K uses two-stage tandem shaped armor-piercing Warhead (HEAT), which improves the ability to deal with explosive reactive armor. Hellfire can be replaced with a variety of seekers and warheads to achieve “one bomb with multiple heads and one bomb with multiple uses”: for example, AGM-114M is equipped with HE-FRAG warhead, which has a burning effect, but is useless for heavy armored targets; another example is of the anti-ship type version of the “Hellfire” introduced in Sweden which replaced the armor-piercing warhead with a killing and blasting warhead with a delay fuze for attacking landing craft or other small ships.
The AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missile is a new generation of air-to-surface missiles developed by the U.S. military. Also translated as “Hairfa” airborne anti-tank missiles, commonly known as “smart” missiles. It is an air-to-surface missile specially developed for the Apache combat helicopter, mainly used against battle tanks. The “Hellfire” missile was originally developed for the U.S. Army as a helicopter-launched anti-tank missile. The U.S. Marine Corps also adopted the missile, ordering more than 60,000 Hellfires. “Hellfire” is a third-generation anti-tank missile that can destroy heavy tanks and heavily armored targets, it replaced the “TOW” anti-tank missile. “Hellfire” missiles are also exported to foreign countries. The countries that have bought and will buy include the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Israel, Italy, India and other countries.
“Hellfire” is guided by a semi-active laser seeker. It can accurately attack enemy positions and has a range of 6000 meters. It became the primary ground weapon for the AH-64 Apache helicopter. During the Persian Gulf War, many Iraqi tanks were destroyed by “Hellfire”. The missile radar transmits a signal toward the target, and the missile’s receiver receives the transmitted signal from the target. The missile travels in the direction of the target’s signal. It differs from the “TOW” anti-tank missile in that it does not use copper wire for wire guidance. After launching the “Hellfire”, the helicopter can immediately change its position to avoid enemy counter attacks.