The AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile (AGM) designed for close air support. It is effective against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation, and fuel storage facilities.
The AGM-65F (infrared targeting) used by the U.S. Navy has an infrared guidance system optimized for ship tracking and a larger penetrating warhead than the shaped charge warhead used by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force (300 pounds / 140 kilograms vs. 125 pounds / 57 kilograms). The infrared TV camera enables the pilot to lock-on to targets through light fog where the conventional TV seeker's view would be just as limited as the pilot's. The AGM-65 has two types of warheads; one has a contact fuze in the nose, the other has a heavyweight warhead fitted with a delayed-action fuze, which penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before detonating. The latter is most effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-fuel rocket motor behind the warhead.
The Maverick missile is unable to lock onto targets on its own; it has to be given input by the pilot or Weapon Systems Officer (WSO). In an A-10, for example, the video feed from the seeker head is relayed to a screen in the cockpit, where the pilot can check the locked target of the missile before launch. A crosshair on the head-up display (HUD) is shifted by the pilot to set the approximate target while the missile will then automatically recognize and lock on to the target. Once the missile is launched, it requires no further assistance from the launch vehicle and tracks its target automatically. This makes it a fire-and-forget weapon.
- Maverick A model is the basic model and use an electro-optical television guidance system.
- Maverick B model is similar to the A model, although the B model can identify and lock onto targets.
- Maverick D electro-optical guidance replaced with an imaging infrared system. Achieved initial operation capability in 1983.
- Maverick E model use a laser designator guidance system optimized for fortified installations. Achieved IOC in 1985.
- Maverick F model use an infrared guidance system optimized for tracking ships.
- Maverick G model essentially has the same guidance system as the D with some software modification that enables the pilot to track larger targets. The G model major difference is its penetrator warhead, while the basic models employ the shaped-charge warhead. Completed tests in 1988.
- Maverick H model was assigned to AGM-65B/D missiles upgraded with a new CCD seeker
- Maverick J model is the Navy AGM-65F missile upgraded with the new CCD seeker
- Maverick K model is an AGM-65G upgraded with the CCD seeker, at least 1200, but possibly up to 2500, AGM-65G rounds are planned for conversion to AGM-65K standard
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