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Lockeed Martin - France buys Hellfire missiles

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Lockheed Martin
: 06 February, 2008  (Company News)
The governments of France and the United States have signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance for the sale of Lockheed Martin's precision-strike laser-guided HELLFIRE II missiles to France.
The agreement authorizes the sale of multiple warhead variants of the modular HELLFIRE II, with options, for the French Army's Hlicoptre d'Appui Destruction (HAD) Tiger attack Helicopter fleet. Contract value and missile quantities were not disclosed.

HELLFIRE II is currently fielded with the Armed Forces of the U.S. and 13 other nations by HELLFIRE Systems, Limited Liability Company (HSLLC). Lockheed Martin performs all work on behalf of HSLLC.

'We're pleased France selected HELLFIRE II, establishing it as the missile of choice in Europe for Eurocopter's HAD Tiger,' said Ken Musculus, program director of Air-to-Ground Missile Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. 'HELLFIRE and the all-digital M299 launcher have been successfully integrated and qualified on the Australian Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter, and through our whole-system approach to integration, we are extending our successful relationship with Eurocopter to the French HAD.'

Eurocopter, under contract with the multi-national European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, has already begun integration of HELLFIRE II onto the HAD Tiger at its facility in Marignane, France, with Lockheed Martin's support. Ground tests began in October 2007, with flight tests scheduled to begin in March 2008.

'HELLFIRE II has an extensive combat record, with more than 6,000 rounds expended by Coalition Forces in the Global War on Terror,' Musculus said. 'The French Army expects to field its Tiger attack Helicopter fleet by 2012, and we look forward to equipping this fleet with the precision-strike and multi-mission capability HELLFIRE provides.'

The modular HELLFIRE II includes four semi-active laser warhead variations - (1) the high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) missile, or AGM-114K, which defeats all known and projected armored threats; (2) the AGM-114M blast fragmentation missile, which is effective against primary target sets such as boats, buildings, bunkers and light-armored vehicles; (3) the metal augmented charge missile, or AGM-114N, which defeats enclosures, caves and enemy personnel housed therein; and (4) the recently introduced augmented HEAT warhead, AGM-114K-A, which adds blast fragmentation to the HEAT warhead's anti-tank capability, providing precision strike against soft targets in the open.

'The Tiger is able to carry up to eight HELLFIRE missiles on two four-rail M299 launchers,' Musculus said. 'Both the M299 and its smaller variant are able to carry and fire any combination of the four variants, giving a single aircraft the ability to engage and defeat a broad target set with unprecedented reliability and precision.'

HELLFIRE II is launched from a wide array of platforms, including the U.S. Army's Apache and Kiowa Warrior helicopters; the U.S. Marine Corps' Cobra; the U.S. Navy's Seahawk helicopter; the UK's Apache attack helicopter; the Eurocopter Tiger and the U.S. Air Force's Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. Norway and Sweden also employ HELLFIRE missiles launched from tripods in a coastal defense mode.

With more than 21,000 rounds delivered, HELLFIRE II is licensed for international sales, via government-to-government or direct commercial sales contracts.
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