Hydra, Awakened: Guided Air-Ground Rockets
Lockheed Martin completes DAGR testing with US Army.
March 19/14: Lockheed Martin completes all 16 US Army Air Worthiness Release (AWR) live firing flight tests from AH-64D helicopters at Eglin AFB, FL. Each guided rocket flew between 1.5 – 5.1 km, and all hit the target within 1m of the laser spot. Lockheed Martin has also completed 30 System Qualification testing flights to validate the missile and rail-mounted canister.
DAGR has been now launched from the AH-64D Apache, AH-6 Little Bird, and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters; and from a ground-based Hellfire/DAGR pedestal launcher mounted on a JLTV vehicle. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin’s DAGR Missile Scores A Perfect 16 of 16 In Flight Tests for U.S. Army”.
Leveraging existing Hellfire and Joint Common Missile technology, the semi-active DAGR guided rockets offer functionality comparable to the popular Hellfire missile, including lock-on-before-launch, lock-on-after-launch, target location handoff, enhanced built-in test, programmable laser coding, and flexible fly-out modes. DAGR rockets’ +/- 15 deg sighting cone offers a wider field of view than competitors. They can also be launched from any platform that currently supports the Hellfire weapon system, removing many requirements for additional integration, training, or infrastructure.
Lockheed Martin says that DAGR has customers, but will not name them.
Sen. Leahy’s [D-VT] worked in the mid-2000s to keep the Hydra 70mm rocket family alive through special appropriations, just in time for the Hydras’ potential on the battlefield to rise again. The key was the addition of low-cost precision guidance, which would expand the number of precision weapons carried by helicopters, aircraft, and even UAVs.
Over the last few years, the US Army’s 2nd attempt at an APKWS 70mm guided rocket had a near-death experience, before righting the program with Navy funding. Meanwhile, private development efforts from Lockheed Martin, Thales TDA, and a raft of international partnerships involving major defense firms and partners in Korea, the UAE, Canada/Norway, and Israel are introducing new competitors into the precision-guided rocket space. This DID FOCUS article covers the most prominent competitors within the guided rocket trend. Their products will sit between full anti-armor missiles like Hellfire, TOW, and Brimstone, and an emerging class of ultra-small precision attack weapons like Northrop Grumman’s Viper Strike, Raytheon’s Griffin, etc.
APKWS II: “To be, or not to be…”
Lockheed Martin: Is this a DAGR I see before me…?
LOGIR: “…the heavenly-harnessed team/ Begins his golden progress in the east…”
Raytheon and the UAE’s TALON: “Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie…”
Other Entries: “Come unto these yellow sands…”
Turkey: Roketsan’s CIRIT
GATR-L (Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket – Laser).
SYROCOT (Systeme de Roquette A Corrections de Trajectoire)
Bigger Boom: 127mm Zuni rocket options
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