A dummy US Hellfire missile has been accidentally
sent to Cuba, sparking concerns that its technology may be leaked to US adversaries. The missile had initially been on loan to Spain and was being used for NATO training exercises. It then seemed to go on a bit of a wander through Europe, first to Germany and then through France to Charles de Gaulle airport. Instead of being shipped to Florida, it was loaded onto an Air France flight to Havana. Despite a recent thaw in relations between Washington and its long time Caribbean adversary, demands to have the Hellfire returned have so far gone unanswered. An investigation is under way as to whether the re-routing was a deliberate act of espionage or just incompetence. Needless to say, someone is getting fired for that blunder.
The Iraqi government's fight against the Islamic State gets another boost as the DCSA approved
an $800 million sale of 5,000 Hellfire missiles. The sale also includes ten Captive Air Training Missiles as well as related equipment and support. A spokesperson for the US-led coalition stated that the territory
held by IS in Iraq has shrunk by 40% from its maximum expansion in 2015. Let's hope these Hellfires get delivered to the right people
Hellfire I/II missiles are the USA’s preferred aerial anti-armor missile, and are widely deployed with America’s allies. They equip America’s helicopter fleets (AH-64, AH-1, OH-58D, MH-60S/R), AH-64 and S-70 helicopters flown by its allies, and even Australia and France’s Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters. Range is officially listed as 9 km/ 5.6 miles.
While Hellfires lack the fast-jet launch capabilities – and correspondingly extended maximum range – of the UK’s MBDA Brimstone missiles, Lockheed Martin’s missile has made big inroads as the world’s high-end helicopter-launched missile. It has also carved out unique niches as tripod-launched coastal defense assets, as the guided missile integrated into American UAVs like the MQ-1 Predator family, and even as a missile option for transport aircraft like the AC-208B Combat Caravan and C-130J/W Hercules.
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