US approves $150m sale of Hellfire missiles to UK
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential $150m foreign military sale of Hellfire missiles to the UK.
Under the sale, the UK Government aims to receive 1,000 AGM-114-R1/R2 Hellfire II semi-active laser (SAL) missiles.
The sale package also covers logistics and other related programme support.
The AGM-114 II Hellfire is an air-to-ground missile that provides anti-armour capabilities to air, sea and ground-based launch platforms.
Guided by aircraft or laser systems, the Hellfire enables precision strikes against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters.
The missile procurement is expected to enhance the UK’s ability to meet current and future threats by providing close air support to counter enemy attacks on coalition ground forces in the US Central Command area of responsibility (AOR) and other areas.
DSCA claimed that the proposed sale will contribute to the US's foreign policy and national security by upgrading the UK's close air support capabilities in support of Nato and other coalition operations.
The similarity between close air support capabilities is expected to increase interoperability between the two countries’ military and peacekeeping forces.
Image: A model of a Hellfire's components. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.