The AGM-65 Maverick is a tactical, air-to-surface guided missile designed for close air
support, interdiction and defense suppression mission. It provides stand-off capability
and high probability of strike against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor,
air defenses, ships, transportation equipment and fuel storage facilities.
The Maverick has a cylindrical body, and either a rounded glass nose for electro-optical
imaging, or a zinc sulfide nose for imaging infrared. It has long-chord delta wings and
tail control surfaces mounted close to the trailing edge of the wing of the aircraft using
it. The warhead is in the missile's center section. A cone-shaped warhead, one of two
types carried by the Maverick missile, is fired by a contact fuse in the nose. The other
is a delayed-fuse penetrator, a heavyweight warhead that penetrates the target with its
kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets.
The propulsion system for both types is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead.
aircraft carry Mavericks. Since as many
as six Mavericks can be carried by an aircraft, usually in three round, underwing
clusters, the pilot can engage several targets on one mission. The missile also has
"launch-and-leave" capability that enables a pilot to fire it and immediately
take evasive action or attack another target as the missile guides itself to the target.
Mavericks can be launched from high altitudes to tree-top level and can hit targets
ranging from a distance of a few thousand feet to 13 nautical miles at medium altitude.
Maverick A and B models have an electro-optical television guidance system. After the
protective dome cover is automatically removed from the nose of the missile and its video
circuitry activated, the scene viewed by the guidance system appears on a cockpit
television screen. The pilot selects the target, centers cross hairs on it, locks on, then
launches the missile.
Although the Maverick B is similar to the A model, the television guidance system has a
screen magnification capability that enables the pilot to identify and lock on smaller and
more distant targets.
The Maverick D has an imaging infrared guidance system, operated much like that of the A
and B models, except that infrared video overcomes the daylight-only, adverse weather
limitations of the other systems. The infrared Maverick D can track heat generated by a
target and provide the pilot a pictorial display of the target during darkness and hazy or
The Maverick G model essentially has the same guidance system as the D, with some
software modifications that track larger targets. The G model's major difference is its
heavyweight penetrator warhead, while Maverick A, B and D models employ the shaped-charge
The Air Force accepted the first AGM-65A Maverick in August 1972. A total of 25,750 A
and B Mavericks have been purchased by the Air Force.
The Air Force took delivery of the first AGM-65D in October 1983, with initial
operational capability in February 1986. Delivery of operational AGM-65G missiles took
place in 1989.
AGM-65 missiles were employed by F-16s and A-10s in 1991 to attack armored targets in
the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Mavericks played a large part in the
destruction of Iraq's significant military force.
||Air-to-surface guided missile
||Hughes Aircraft Co., Raytheon Co.
||Thiokol TX-481 solid-propellant rocket motor
||2 ft 4 in
||Used aboard A-10, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18
||$17,000 to $110,000 depending on the Maverick variant
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