AGM-65 Maverick

The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-surface tactical missile (ASM) designed for close air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities.The AGM-65F (infrared targeting) used by the US Navy has an infrared guidance system optimized for ship tracking and a larger penetrating warhead than the shaped charge used by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force. The infrared TV camera enables the pilot to lock onto targets through light fog where the conventional TV seeker view would be ineffective. The AGM-65 has two types of warheads; one has a contact fuze in the nose, and the other has a heavyweight warhead with a delayed fuze, which penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before detonating. The latter is most effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-fuel rocket motor behind the warhead.The Maverick missile is unable to lock onto targets on its own; it has to be given input by the pilot or the weapons system operator. Once the missile is launched, it requires no further assistance from the launch vehicle and tracks its target automatically.

AGM-65 Maverick
Class Missile
Type Air to Surface
Manufacturer Raytheon Missile Systems
Origin United States of America
Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1972
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Denmark View
Egypt View
Germany View
Greece View
Iran (Persia) View
Israel View
Italy View
Jordan View
Jordan View
Kuwait View
Malaysia View
Morocco View
Pakistan View
Portugal View
Saudi Arabia View
Singapore View
Singapore View
South Korea View
Spain View
Sweden View
Switzerland View
Thailand (Siam) View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United States of America 1972 View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Raytheon Missile Systems 1965 View

The Maverick's development history began in 1965, when the United States Air Force (USAF) began a program to develop a replacement to the AGM-12 Bullpup. With a range of 16.3 km (8.8 nmi), the radio-guided Bullpup was introduced in 1959 and was considered a "silver bullet" by operators. However, the launch aircraft was required to fly straight towards the target during the missile's flight instead of performing evasive maneuvers, thus risking the crew.

From 1966 to 1968, Hughes Missile Systems Division and Rockwell competed for the contract to build the new missile. Each were allocated $3 million for preliminary design and engineering work of the Maverick in 1966. In 1968, Hughes emerged with the $95 million contract for further development and testing of the missile; at the same time, contract options called for 17,000 missiles to be procured. Hughes conducted a smooth development of the AGM-65 Maverick, culminating in the first, and successful, firing of the AGM-65 on a tank at Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, on 18 December 1969. In July 1971, the USAF and Hughes signed a $69.9 million contract for 2,000 missiles, the first of which was delivered in 1972.

Although early operational results were favorable, military planners predicted that the Maverick would fare less successfully in the hazy conditions of Central Europe, where it would have been used against Warsaw Pact forces.[8] As such, development of the AGM-65B began in 1975 before it was delivered during the late 1970s. When production of the AGM-65A/B was ended in 1978, more than 35,000 missiles had been built.

More versions of the Maverick appeared, among which was the laser-guided AGM-65C/E. Development of the AGM-65C started in 1978 by Rockwell, who built a number of development missiles for the USAF. Due to high cost, the version was not procured by the USAF, and instead entered service with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as the AGM-65E.

Another major development was the AGM-65D, which employed an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker. By imaging on radiated heat, the IIR is all-weather operable as well as showing improved performance in acquiring and tracking the hot engines, such as in tanks and trucks, that were to be one of its major missions. The seekerhead mechanically scanned the scene over a nitrogen-cooled 4-by-4 pixel array using a series of mirrored facets machined into the inner surface of the ring-shaped main gyroscope. The five-year development period of the AGM-65D started in 1977 and ended with the first delivery to the USAF in October 1983. The version received initial operating capability in February 1986.

The AGM-65F is a hybrid Maverick combining the AGM-65D's IIR seeker and warhead and propulsion components of the AGM-65E. Deployed by the United States Navy (USN), the AGM-65F is optimized for maritime strike roles. The first AGM-65F launch from the P-3C took place in 1989, and in 1994, the USN awarded Unisys a contract to integrate the version with the P-3C. Meanwhile, Hughes produced the AGM-65G, which essentially has the same guidance system as the D, with some software modifications that track larger targets, coupled with a shaped-charge warhead.

In the mid-1990s to early 2000s, there were several ideas of enhancing the Maverick's potential. Among them was the stillborn plan to incorporate the Maverick millimeter wave active radar homing, which can determine the exact shape of a target. Another study called "Longhorn Project" was conducted by Hughes, and later Raytheon following the absorption of Hughes into Raytheon, looked a Maverick version equipped with turbojet engines instead of rocket motors. The "Maverick ER", as it was dubbed, would have a "significant increase in range" compared to the Maverick's current range of 25 kilometres (16 mi). The proposal was abandoned, but if the Maverick ER had entered production, it would have replaced the AGM-119B Penguin carried on the MH-60R.

The most modern versions of the Maverick are the AGM-65H/K, which were in production as of 2007. The AGM-65H was developed by coupling the AGM-65B with a charge-coupled device (CCD) seeker optimized for desert operations and which has three times the range of the original TV-sensor; a parallel USN program aimed at rebuilding AGM-65Fs with newer CCD seekers resulted in the AGM-65J. The AGM-65K, meanwhile, was developed by replacing the AGM-65G's IR guidance system with an electro-optical television guidance system.

The Maverick was declared operational on 30 August 1972 with the F-4D/Es and A-7s initially cleared for the type; the missile made its combat debut four months later with the USAF in the Vietnam War. During the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, the Israelis used Mavericks to destroy and disable enemy vehicles. Deployment of early versions of the Mavericks in these two wars were successful due to the favorable atmospheric conditions that suited the electro-optical TV seeker. Ninety-nine missiles were fired during the two wars, eighty-four of which were successful.

In June 1975, during a border confrontation, Iranian troops fired twelve Mavericks, all successful, at Iraqi tanks. Five years later, during Operation Pearl as part of the Iran–Iraq War, Iranian F-4s used Mavericks to sink three OSA II missile boats and four P-6 combat ships. Due to weapons embargoes, Iran had to equip its AH-1J SeaCobra helicopters with AGM-65 Maverick missiles and used them with some success in various operations such as Operation Undeniable Victory whereas Iranian AH-1J's fired 11 Mavericks.

In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In early 1991, the US-led Coalition executed Operation Desert Storm during which Mavericks played a crucial role in the ousting of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Employed by F-15E Strike Eagles, F-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolts, but used mainly by the last two, more than 5,000 Mavericks were deployed to attack armored targets. The most-used variant by the USAF was the IIR-guided AGM-65D. The reported hit rate by USAF Mavericks was 80–90%, while for the USMC it was 60%. The Maverick was used again in Iraq during the 2003 Iraq War, during which 918 were fired.

The first time the Maverick were fired from a Lockheed P-3 Orion at a hostile vessel was when the USN and coalition units came to the aid of Libyan rebels to engage the Libyan Coast Guard vessel Vittoria in the port of Misrata, Libya, during the late evening of 28 March 2011. Vittoria was engaged and fired upon by a USN P-3C Maritime Patrol aircraft with AGM-65 Maverick missiles.

General Information
Developed by USA
Deployed by Bahrain, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Yugoslaavia, USA
Development Year 1965
Deployment Year 1972(A)
Platform A-10, F-15E and F-16
Launcher LAU-88A triple-rail launcher
Number manufactured 75,000ithrough 1998j
Contractor Raytheon Co., Raytheon Systems-Defense Systems

Dimensions and Performance
Length 2.49m
Body Diameter 30.5cm
Wing/Fin span 71.12cm
Launch Weight AGM-65B, 462 pounds (207.90 kilograms); AGM-65D, 485 pounds (218.25 kilograms); AGM-65E, 777 pounds (353.2 kilograms); AGM-65F, 804 pounds (365.5 kilograms); AGM-65G, 670 pounds (301.50 kilograms); AGM-65K, 793 pounds (360.45 kilograms)
Range 1-40km
Speed supersonic
Accuracy less than 4 feet

Propulsion solid propellant
Engine Thiokol TX633 dual-thrust, reduced-smoke motors
Warhead 125-lb. WDU-20/B shaped charge (AGM-65A/B/D), 300-lb. WDU-24/B forward-firing blast-penetration (AGM-65E/F/G) ; AGM-65B/D, 125 pounds (56.25 kilograms), cone shaped; AGM-65E/F/G/K, 300 pounds (135 kilograms) delayed-fuse penetrator, heavyweight
Guidance : AGM-65B/K, electro-optical television; AGM-65D/F/G, imaging infrared; AGM-65E, laser guided

End notes