Heilfire II

Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control  
Product type: Weapons & Weapon Systems  
Name: Anti-tank guided missile launcher  


The AGM-114K Heilfire II Modular Missile System is currently in service as the primary anti-armour weapon on The Boeing Company AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. Additional details on earlier versions of the Heilfire missile were given in Jane's Armour and Artillery Upgrades 1998-99 pages 82 to 83.

Heilfire is deployed with the US Army and sold to many foreign armed services; currently Egypt, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the UK.

Heilfire is now marketed by Heilfire Systems LLC, a Lockheed Martin/The Boeing Company. The 10,000th production version of the Heilfire II came off the production line in June 1999, four years after the first production Heilfire II missile was completed. By early 1999, seven export customers had selected the Heilfire II missile.

The Heilfire missile has been integrated on helicopters, ground vehicles and self-contained, ground launch configurations. Current activities include integration and firing on Heilfire from fast attack patrol boats.

The Heilfire missile was initially developed as a modular missile with semi-active laser seeker guidance, HEAT anti-armour warhead and solid rocket motor propulsion.

The modular concept allowed improvements with minimum impact to the balance of the missile. Improvements have included minimum smoke rocket motors, tandem HEAT warhead system with intensive explosives, new seeker with better EOCM and a programmable digital autopilot. Heilfire II and Longbow Heilfire are the only models currently in production.

Heilfire II has the improved SAL seeker with EOCM features; the insensitive munition, tandem warhead; minimum smoke rocket motor; and programmable, digital autopilot.

There is a Heilfire II variant with a new blast fragment warhead for applications against softer targets (boats, bunkers, fuel storage and so on). The missile flies to ranges beyond 8,000 metres at speeds faster than Mach 1.3.

Heilfire II homes on 1.06 urn wavelength laser energy spot on a target which has been illuminated by a laser designator aimed by a fire-control system operator.

The designator can be installed on the missile launch platform or completely separate and located several kilometres away in a co-operative mode of operation.

Heilfire can be fired either Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL) or Lock-On After Launch (LOAL) modes. This flexibility is possible because both the laser designator and missile seeker function with many different laser pulse codes. The Heilfire missile will only home on reflected energy with the code set prior to launch.

In LOAL operations, the missile is fired in the direction of the target, looks for laser energy throughout the final trajectory and then homes on the target. If the target is designated for the final seconds of flight, Heilfire II will hit the spot accurately.

Heilfire missiles can be fired from the same platform as rapidly as every 2 seconds at the same target, or as rapidly as every 8 seconds at different targets in the same area.

Multiple Heilfire missiles can be fired from different platforms at different targets simultaneously, with the same great accuracy by using different laser codes. Heilfire successfully attacks targets whether they are moving or stationary.

Heilfire missiles have been used in combat very successfully and reliably. Over 4,000 rounds have been fired, including the first attack in Desert Storm against Iraqi radar installations. In recent Heilfire II test firings, reliability is much greater than 95 per cent for hitting the target under various environmental and other test conditions.

Heilfire has been integrated on AH-64 Apache, OH-58 D Kiowa, AH-1W Cobra and SH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. Helifire has been fired from HMMV's, M113 APC's and Pandur LAV's ground vehicles. Lockheed Martin has now developed the launch system for firing Heilfire II, with Blast Fragment warheads, from fast attack patrol boats.


In Production. In service with numerous countries. The only known users in a land application are Norway and Sweden who both use it in the anti-shipping coastal defence role with the missile being launched from a tripod launcher and with the target being designated by a day/night system incorporating a laser designator.

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Heilfire II