ALARM

ALARM (Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile) is a British anti-radiation missile designed primarily to destroy enemy radars for the purpose of Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD). It is used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Saudi Air Force.The Ministry of Defence received bids for a new anti-radiation missile in late 1982. Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine announced the selection of ALARM on 29 July 1983. The initial order was 750 missiles for the RAF.ALARM is a fire-and-forget system, with an added loiter capability. In loiter mode, ALARM will, when launched, climb to an altitude of 13 km. If the target radar shuts down, the missile will deploy a parachute and descend slowly until the radar lights up. The missile will then fire a secondary motor to attack the target.

ALARM
Class Missile
Type Air to Surface
Manufacturer Matra BAe Dynamics
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1991
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Saudi Arabia View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Matra BAe Dynamics 1983 View

The Ministry of Defence received bids for a new anti-radiation missile in late 1982; British Aerospace Dynamics offered ALARM while Texas Instruments teamed with Lucas Aerospace offered its HARM missile. Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine announced the selection of ALARM on 29 July 1983. The initial order was 750 missiles for the RAF. The selection process was controversial; the battle between the contractors was bitter, the Ministry of Defence favoured ALARM to retain UK industrial capabilities while the Treasury favoured the cheaper and proven HARM.

In early 1986, BAe recognised that Royal Ordnance was having difficulties delivering the missile's motor, named Nuthatch, and began to consider alternatives. Royal Ordnance's solution to the required burn-loiter-burn characteristic of the engine was complex. In July 1987, BAe, by then the owner of Royal Ordnance, replaced the Nuthatch motor with a lower risk motor designed by Bayern-Chemie. BAe's GB£200 million contract for the missile was renegotiated with the price increased to GB£400 million and delivery pushed back from 1988 to 1990.

The ALARM missile was officially retired at the end of 2013.

ALARM has been used in the following conflicts:

  • 1991 Gulf War (Operation Granby), during which 121 missiles were used.
  • Kosovo War (Operation Allied Force), during which 6 missiles were used.
  • 2003 invasion of Iraq (Operation Telic), during which 47 missiles were used.
  • 2011 Libya (Operation Ellamy).

General Information
Developed by UK
Deployed by Saudi Arabia, UK
Development Year 1983
Deployment Year 1991
Platform Tornado GR1, Sea Harrier FRS.2
Launcher underwing pylon rail-launchers or launch rails on the belly
Number manufactured 900 (est. UK), 200-300 (Saudi Arabia)
Number deployed 750(?)
Contractor Matra BAe Dynamics

Dimensions and Performance
Length 4.29m
Body Diameter 22.4cm
Wing/Fin span 72cm
Launch Weight 264.4kg
Range 45km (for high level launch)

Components
Propulsion solid propellant
Engine built by Bayern-Chemie
Warhead HE fragmentation effect
Guidance wide area passive radar

End notes