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AGM-65 Maverick

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.
A-10, F-15E and F-16 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 inclement weather.
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 warhead.
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.

General characteristics

Primary function Air-to-surface guided missile
Contractors Hughes Aircraft Co., Raytheon Co.
Power plant Thiokol TX-481 solid-propellant rocket motor

Launch weight
AGM-65A/B 462 lb 210 kg
AGM-65D 485 lb 220 kg
AGM-65G 670 lb 304 kg
Diameter 1 ft 30.48 cm
Wingspan 2 ft 4 in 71.1 cm
Range Classified
Speed Classified
Aircraft Used aboard A-10, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18
Guidance system AGM-65A/B electro-optical television
AGM-65D/G imaging infrared
Warheads AGM-65A/B/D 125 lb 56.7 kg
AGM-65G 300 lb 136 kg
Unit cost $17,000 to $110,000 depending on the Maverick variant
Date deployed August 1972
Inventory Classified

Jirka Wagner


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