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The AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) is a tactical, air-to-surface missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It was originally developed by Texas Instrumentsmarker (TI) as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation (RAYCO) when they purchased TI's defense business.


The AGM-88 can detect, attack and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input. The proportional guidance system that homes in on enemy radar emissions has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose. A smokeless, solid-propellant, dual-thrust rocket motor propels the missile at speeds over Mach 2. HARM, a Navy-led program, was initially integrated onto the A-6E, A-7 and F/A-18 and later onto the EA-6B. RDT&E for use on the F-14 was begun, but not completed. The Air Force introduced HARM on the F-4G Wild Weasel and later on specialized F-16s equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS).


The HARM missile was approved for full production in March 1983 and deployed in late 1985 with VA-72 and VA-46 aboard the aircraft carrier USS America. It was soon used in combat; in March 1986 against a Libyanmarker SA-5 site in the Gulf of Sidramarker, and then Operation Eldorado Canyon in April. HARM was used extensively by the United States Navy and the United States Air Force for Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War of 1991.

"Magnum" is spoken over the radio to announce the launch of an AGM-88. During the Gulf War, if an aircraft was illuminated by enemy radar a bogus "Magnum" call on the radio was often enough to convince the operators to power down.


The newest upgrade is the AGM-88E Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) built by Alliant Techsystems, which is a joint venture by the Italian Ministry of Defense and the US Department of Defense.

The AARGM will feature the latest software, enhanced capabilities intended to counter radar shutdown, passive radar and active millimeter wave seekers. It will be released in November 2010.

It will be initially integrated onto the FA-18C/D, FA-18E/F, EA-18G and Tornado ECR aircraft and later on the F-35.

Gulf War friendly fire incident

During the Gulf War, the HARM was involved in a friendly fire incident when the pilot of an F-4G Wild Weasel escorting a B-52 bomber mistook the latter's tail gun radar for an Iraqi AAA site. (This was after the tail gunner of the B-52 had targeted the F-4G, mistaking it for an Iraqi MiG). The pilot launched the missile and then saw that the target was the B-52, which was hit. It survived with shrapnel damage to the tail. The B-52 was subsequently renamed "In HARM’s Way".

See also


  2. The Transformation of American Air Power: A RAND Research Study By Benjamin S. Lambeth
  3. ATK Awarded $55 Million Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Low Rate Initial Production
  4. The B-52 Stratofortress : steeljawscribe blog

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