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US Air Force A-10 fires a Maverick air/ground missile. Photo: US Air Force

US Air Force A-10 fires a Maverick air/ground missile. Photo: US Air Force

Raytheon to Reopen Maverick Production

The U.S. Air Force will receive up to 450 refurbished and new Maverick air/ground guided missiles, fitted with semi-active laser (SAL) guidance kits. The missiles are to be refurbished with the guidance kits by Raytheon, the original manufacturer of the weapon. Under the engineering contract to recently awarded by the U.S. Air Force, Raytheon will restart the production line serving the U.S. Air Force, Navy and international customers.

The U.S. Air Force accepted the first AGM-65A Maverick in August 1972. A total of 25,750 A and B Mavericks were purchased by the Air Force. In October 1983 the first AGM-65D was delivered, achieving initial operational capability in February 1986. Three years later, in 1989 the AGM-65G missiles was delivered. Maverick A's have been phased out of the air force inventory but conversion of phased out A's and near obsolete B's into EO guided AGM-65H has been considered in the past, introducing enhanced software-based capability. Under the General Services Administration exchange program, Raytheon upgrades and refurbishes those older model Maverick guidance and control sections and airframes for international sale. These sales fund credits for the U.S. Air Force to buy new or upgraded Maverick missiles. The Maverick E model is the only version having the laser-guided seeker section. It uses the heavyweight penetrator warhead. The U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps are the users of this variant.

The new and refurbished missiles will be delivered by first half of 2011. Part of the missiles will be upgraded from existing inventories and others will be newly built. "The military is successfully employing laser-guided Mavericks against moving targets and in urban environments," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "This contract is a win for the warfighters, because it gives them a reliable combat-proven weapon they can take to war almost immediately."

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