January 10, 2009 A few days ago we wrote about the ongoing success of the DAGR semi-active laser guidance kit that turns dumb 2.75-inch/70mm rockets into guided rockets with accuracy comparable to that of the precision-strike laser-guided HELLFIRE II missile. DAGR is being developed by Lockheed Martin to fill the gap between unguided rockets and the HELLFIRE weapon system by providing a precision-strike, air-to-ground weapon for lightly-armored high-value targets close to civilian assets or friendly forces, while limiting collateral damage. We reported on the first live warhead ground launch test of DAGR in which it maintained a perfect 12-for-12 success rate in contractor-funded flight tests. Here's the video - note how the Rocket penetrates the van and reaches the centre before exploding.
January 7, 2009 Coming soon to somewhere hopefully not near you. DAGR is a semi-active laser guidance kit that adapts to 2.75-inch/70mm rockets to provide guided-rocket performance comparable to that of the precision-strike laser-guided HELLFIRE II missile. DAGR is being developed by Lockheed Martin to fill the gap between unguided rockets and the HELLFIRE weapon system by providing a precision-strike, air-to-ground weapon for lightly-armored high-value targets close to civilian assets or friendly forces, while limiting collateral damage. This week saw the first live warhead ground launch test of DAGR and it maintained a perfect 12-for-12 success rate in contractor-funded flight tests. Conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, the latest test demonstrated DAGR's vehicle penetration and time-delayed fuzing when a DAGR-equipped rocket armed with a live warhead penetrated the side of a stationary vehicle before detonating inside.
December 15, 2006 Australia’s new military helicopter is currently being checked out by France's Delegation Generale pour l'Armement (DGA) in Australia and part of the process took place last week at the Woomera Testing Range in South Australia. The French brought their own pilot to try out a combination of the Tiger and Lockheed Martin’s combat-proven HELLFIRE II air-to-ground missile. All went well, as the first-time French gunner, using a lock-on-before-launch technique, scored a direct hit with the HELLFIRE II missile on a target six kilometers away. On top of the HELLFIRE's seven-for-seven performance in earlier test flights from the ARH, the combination of the Tiger and HELLFIRE together make a formidable weapon system. A total of 22 new ‘Tiger’ helicopters will be bought by the Australian Defence Force, with the majority being built by Australian Aerospace in Brisbane at a cost of US$1.0 billion.
December 12, 2006 The technological progress of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has been astonishingly rapid. At the beginning of the current Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, it’s fair to say that UAVs were regarded as a reconnaissance tool for improving situational awareness but from the time the first Hellfire missiles were fired from an RQ-1A Predator UAV during 2002
, the enormous advantage of an armed UAV that can help identify and eliminate a target has been recognised. Predators can prowl and strike where conventional military force cannot. In September we wrote about the first purpose-built hunter-killer UAV
, and now the rush is on to add armaments to smaller UAVs. UAVs must be relatively large to withstand the recoil of the weapons they shoot, so weapon caliber has been limited. Now a new recoilless technology is set to revolutionize the small UAV’s role in the battlespace - Recoilless Technologies International (RTI)
has signed a Joint Commercialization Agreement with UAV manufacturer, Tactical Aerospace Group (TAG)
. The new technology offers effective elimination and control of recoil and hence enables very small UAVs to pack a massive wallop. That’s just the start though because the technology can be applied to larger caliber weapons systems so everything that flies, floats or moves on land will also be able to pack a similar increase in firepower. Who knows how small a killer UAV can get? We have visions of a swarm of semi-autonomous, networked, killer microbots shooting miniature poison-tipped darts as in Dan Brown's novel, Deception Point
August 11, 2005 The Australian Army scored a first when it performed the first successful firing of a HELLFIRE II missile from Australia's Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH), at the Woomera test range in Australia's southern desert earlier this week. The Tiger is the first non-U.S. platform to integrate the HELLFIRE II missile. The missile was equipped with an inert warhead and was launched in the lock-on-before-launch mode by a Eurocopter test pilot, targeting a simulated armored personnel carrier (APC) target six kilometers downrange. The target was designated by the launching ARH helicopter. The missile struck dead center, leaving a gaping hole in the target. The Hellfire II comes in four models: the high-explosive anti-tank missile, the blast fragmentation missile, the millimeter-wave radar Longbow missile and the thermobaric Hellfire missile. Watch the videos inside to understand the differences between each lethal variant.