In accordance with the rearmament program, the US Army attack helicopters will be equipped with JAGM (Joint Air Group Missile) anti-tank missiles instead of the famous AGM-114 Hellfire, adopted in the 80’s.
The Hellfire missile was designed to destroy Soviet heavy tanks in the event of war in the European theater of operations within a radius of up to 8 km. The length of the rocket is 1.6-1.8 m, diameter is 178 mm, weight is 45-50 kg. AGM-114 was equipped with a cumulative warhead weighing 8 kg. Attack army helicopters AN-64 Apache carried simultaneously up to 16 rockets. They also armed the Cobra marine attack helicopters and the MN-60R “Romeo” Navy helicopter, respectively, to destroy land and sea targets.
AGM-114 Hellfire was aimed at the target with the help of a laser pointer by the operator from the side of the helicopter. In a later version, the laser guidance system was supplemented by a millimeter range radar. The missiles were actively used in Iraq in 1991 and in Afghanistan – including against militant groups and for the destruction of ammunition depots.
JAGM is essentially the further development of Hellfire. It has the same engine, the same warhead, range and combined guidance system. It destroys various targets – land and sea. However, there are differences. Thus, a version with a programmable warhead with a delayed explosion was developed for the destruction of buried bunkers: the rocket first penetrates into the interior and only after that there is an explosion.
According to the online edition of Defense News, JAGM is all-weather. Unlike its predecessor, it can destroy high-speed moving targets on the principle of “shot and forget.” AGM-114 Hellfire on the target was directed by the operator, while he was forced to constantly keep the target in the crosshairs of the laser sight.