We have come a long way from throwing sticks and stones at war time. We now have surg ical prec ision equipment that can aim at a toilet from a hundred miles away. I don't know about you, but that freaks me out a little...
In this video you will see the effects of what a Hellfire missile does when it hits an Iraqi tank. I'm pretty sure the results are similar no matter what kind of tank it hits.
If you can't see the video, please click here.
HELLFIRE is an air-to-ground missile system designed to defeat tanks and other individual targets while minimizing the exposure of the launch vehicle to enemy fire. HELLFIRE uses laser guidance and is designed to accept other guidance packages. It is used on helicopters against heavily armored vehicles at longer standoff distances than any other Army missiles now in the inventory. The HELLFIRE II is the optimized version of the laser family of HELLFIRE missiles. The Longbow HELLFIRE Modular Missile System is an air-launched, radar aided, inertially guided missile that utilizes millimeter wave radar technology.
Current launch platforms include the AH-64 APACHE helicopter and the Navy AH-1W. The system is also qualified for use on the UH-60 BLACKHAWK, and has been tested for use on the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) and the Improved TOW Vehicle (ITV). Prime contractors for the system are Rockwell International Corporation and Martin Marietta Corporation. The cost per missile is about $58,000. Sweden uses the HELLFIRE for coastal defense, and both Israel and Egypt have purchased the system.
The first shots of Operation Desert Storm occurred on 17 January 1991 when eight APACHE helicopters used HELLFIRE missiles and HYDRA-70 rockets to destroy two Iraqi early-warning ground control radar sites. However, this was not the first time that HELLFIRE missiles had been fired in combat. Over a year before, U.S. Army troops successfully used HELLFIRE against seven targets during Operation Just Cause in Panama.
The Ground/Vehicular Laser Locator Designator (G/VLLD) was used for designating moving or stationary targets for use with laser-homing weapons such as HELLFIRE. The G/VLLD could also provide accurate target information for use with conventional artillery. The system was issued to selected field artillery battalions, tank battalions, armored cavalry units, and selected infantry units. Hughes Aircraft Corporation and Optic Electronic Corporation, prime contractors for the system, manufactured the G/VLLD at a unit cost $164,485.