The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles and associated equipment to Iraq.
Under the estimated $82m sale, Iraq has requested supply of a total of 500 AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles, Hellfire missile conversion, along with blast fragmentation sleeves, installation kits, containers, transportation, spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment.
The package also covers publications and technical documentation, engineering and logistics support services, as well as other related elements of logistics and programme support.
Apart from enhancing the Iraq Security Forces’ capability to support current on-going ground missions, the Hellfire missiles are also expected to be used in future contingency operations.
The potential sale also contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner, while directly supporting the Iraq government and serving the interests of the people of Iraq and the US.
Lockheed Martin has been named as prime contractor for the programme.
The AGM-114 Hellfire is a precision-strike, multi-purpose AGMSm designed primarily to provide anti-armour capabilities for attack helicopters against a wide range of targets in the battlefield.
Designed for launch from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms, the 100lb missile features semi-active laser seekers, guidance computer, steering control and propulsion systems, and can be used by lock-on before or after launch for enhanced platform survivability.
The AGM-114K is a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) variant, while the AGM-114R, also called Romeo Hellfire II uses a semi-active laser homing guidance system and an integrated blast fragmentation sleeve warhead to engage targets that earlier required multiple Hellfire variants.
Hellfires have widely been used during operations in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia, as well as recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Image: AGM-114 Hellfire loaded on a US Marine Corps’ AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Looper5920.