“Hellfire Missile With Roughly Three Times More Range Tested…” –The Drive

New Lockheed Hellfire/JASM launcher discussed earlier

The Drive reports an exercise that claimed to employ an enhanced version of Hellfire with a range about three times as great as that of the previous versions. Hellfire’s replacement, JASM, perhaps more accurately an upgraded Hellfire, has now been approved for full rate production and there have been reports that a longer range version was in the works.

Beyond the air-launched advantages, this missile would be hugely beneficial for sea-launched applications, such as the LCS. Beyond that, it could be extremely beneficial in servicing Hellfire’s growing surface-to-air role, as well.

Since the typically reported surface to surface range of the Hellfire is 8 km, three times that would be 24 km or over 26,000 yards (equal to the longest ranged battleship hit in WWII). In most cases, that means it can reach anything within the visual horizon. It would also mean, it would out range our 57 and 76mm guns. If this longer ranged Hellfire/JASM is mounted on the new 30 mm Mk38 Mod4, it could mean even Polar Security Cutters will have a potentially more potent weapon than the 57mm Mk110, with a much smaller footprint and lower maintenance requirements.

The weapon would certainly be a welcomed addition to the Webber class patrol craft of PATFORSWA because it would give them greatly enhanced capability against swarming small inshore attack craft, helicopters, and UAS, threats common in their operating area.

As I noted earlier, JASM could provide Coast Guard vessels as small as patrol boats, with a much more accurate, more powerful, and longer ranged response to the need to be able to forcibly stop vessels both small and large, while also providing counter UAS, a degree of anti-aircraft protection, and should it ever be required, a naval fire support ashore capability.

10 thoughts on ““Hellfire Missile With Roughly Three Times More Range Tested…” –The Drive

      • Can’t help that! With “Naval News” one never knows whether or not supplied Link will actually work! “Naval News” article is dated 21 April 2022, by Peter Ong: “USCG’s Polar Security Cutter To Receive Mark 38 Mod 4 Guns”…

      • Worth noting that the 7 round pannier was the original design for Wildcat. It got pared down to a 5 round launcher, I suspect due to deck clearance issues, but also as the Wildcat got a new weapons wing that allowed the carriage of 2 panniers per side for a maximum of 20 missiles, rather than 14 (2×7 missiles) with the old design panniers and wing. The RN trialled the 5 round pannier mounted on the side of the DS30M Seahawk mount. It was reportedly successful, with some concerns around efflux which is to be expected on a trials mount, but does illustrate that integration of APKWS or Hellfire would be a lot harder with their lack of soft launch and dramatically worse rocket efflux at launch.

        Since the trials MSI have exhibited a far more durable, enclosed and marine ready 4 round launcher for LMM/Starstreak for attachment on the Seahawk mount in place of the more open, lightweight, 5 round helo pannier.

  1. It does.

    Spike is a family of missiles.

    That particular variant is competing with JAGM to equip Army AH64s with a missile having greater standoff range than existing Hellfires.

    The initial production version of JAGM is basically a Hellfire with a more advanced dual-mode seeker.

    As it is uses the existing Hellfire motor and airframe, range is no better than Hellfire.

    The Block 2 version is to address range and that is what the article seems to be referring to. It sounds like progress is being made.

    The Block 3 will add the ability to be launched from fixed wing aircraft allowing for it’s use by Airforce, Navy and Marine jets.

    There is/was concern the longer range JAGM won’t be ready in time and that opened the door for Spike as an interim solution.

    My understanding is the longer ranged JAGM was years away but perhaps that has changed. There is nothing like competition to bring focus and accelerate schedules.

    • The 76mm Volcano round is not in the USN inventory so it its not in ours. Not to mention we are in the process of loosing the 76mm. Of the 13 WMEC270s the six to have a Service Life Extension are to loose theirs for a Mk38 (hopefully the 30mm version, but probably not).

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