Smart Missile Ready for Action
Modified weapon offers fast response to a range of threats.
The high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) destruction of enemy air defense attack module (HDAM) is a precision attack weapon designed to assault heavily defended and time-sensitive targets from beyond visual range. A modification of the existing HARM platform, the new missile includes digital navigation and guidance systems and software improvements to enhance its accuracy.
A missile upgrade kit will allow U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft to attack mobile targets precisely while limiting collateral damage. Applied to a combat-proven high-speed missile, the modifications permit pilots to select specific areas to attack and to designate restricted zones within a target area. The enhancements allow the military to convert a relatively specialized radar-seeking missile into a multipurpose attack weapon.
Combat missions in urban areas are challenging for
A joint development effort between the Air Force and the Raytheon Company,
HARM is an anti-radiation missile designed to home in on and destroy enemy radar installations and transmitters. In contrast, the HDAM upgrade allows the missile to be more flexible in its choice of targets. Although the destruction of enemy air defenses remains an important role for HDAM, the missile can attack any target that is time critical, such as mobile surface-to-surface missile launchers and non-radiating threats.
Until the development of HDAM, HARM upgrades mainly focused on the weapon’s seeker and software. The HDAM upgrade modifies the missile’s control section and software. The upgrade kit replaces the missile’s mechanical gyroscopes with a navigation unit consisting of high-precision fiber optic gyroscopes, an internal global positioning system receiver and an inertial measurement unit. Data from these devices is fused to create a navigation solution for the weapon. The upgrade also adds a microprocessor to the missile’s control section, allowing it to merge targeting solutions from the navigation and seeker systems. “You get a significant improvement in the probability of kill against advanced threats,” says
A key feature of the upgrades is the ability to control and select targets. In a situation with restricted rules of engagement, an HDAM can be ordered to attack a specific area, or it can be told to target a region containing preset “no go” areas. For example, the missile could be designated to attack targets on one side of a road while avoiding civilian buildings such as hospitals directly across the road. This system can be used to limit collateral damage, or it can be focused on a specific area posing a threat to attack aircraft.
Targeting data can be loaded into the missile either before a mission or in flight.
Up to four geographic specificity software packages containing a geographic region can be stored in an HDAM’s memory. Each portion of these areas can contain up to 25 zones of exclusion. After targeting information is loaded into an aircraft, its weapons officer can decide where the mission, and the missiles, will or will not go.
The HDAM kits allow
The modifications package turns the HARM/HDAM into a precision supersonic strike weapon.
|The HDAM can be launched from U.S. Air Force F-16s and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter jets. The weapon can be programmed to enable U.S. forces to hit targets in urban areas while avoiding unnecessary collateral damage.|
Raytheon engineers have not modified the missile’s datalinks. But
HDAM was developed as part of a cooperative research and development agreement with the Air Force. Raytheon provided the upgrade kits and installed them, but the service planned and carried out the test missions and provided the aircraft and pilots and conducted the tests,
The Air Force has successfully fired three HDAMs at test targets. These launches were preceded by a series of firings during HDAM’s precursor program, which developed the precision navigation package used in the kit.
The HDAM program is in the Air Force’s fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009 unfunded requirements list. Raytheon also is investing some of its own resources to begin immediate production should the government decide to acquire the missile. However,
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