With a first version that was operational in 1972, air-to-surface missiles of the AGM-65 Maverick family have a wide range of guidance and warhead options. They are of fairly short range: 17+ miles (12 nautical miles/27 km) The 125 pound shaped charge warheads have less than half the explosive of the 300 pound penetrators, but the explosive force is directional.
Of the three forms of guidance, electro-optical television, passive thermal, and laser guided, each has an area where it is best. Experience proved that television is better at discriminating a target under hot desert sun, while passive thermal would work better against the same vehicle at night. It is expected that the pilot will do a "man-in-the-loop lock-on" (i.e., looking through the weapon's own seeker) before releasing the missile, which can hit within 1 meter.
Mavericks have been certified on over 25 aircraft of various countries. Current U.S. aircraft that use versions include the AH-1 Cobra, A-10, AV-8 Harrier II, F-4 Phantom II, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet, F-18 Super Hornet and P-3 Orion.
Guidance and warhead combinations
|Version||Guidance||Major U.S. user & warhead|
|AGM-65 A/B||electro-optical television||Air Force, shaped charge|
|AGM-65 C||laser designator||Marine Corps, shaped charge|
|AGM-65 D||passive thermal imager||Marine Corps, shaped charge|
|AGM-65 E||laser designator||Marine Corps, penetrator|
|AGM-65 F||passive thermal imager, anti-shipping||Navy, penetrating|
|AGM-65 G||passive thermal imager||Air Force, penetrating|
|AGM-65 H||infrared anti-shipping||Navy, penetrating|
|AGM-65 K||improved electro-optical||Air Force, penetrating|
- Primary Function: Air-to-surface guided missile; attack and destroy armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation, and fuel installations
- Contractor: Raytheon Co.
- Date Deployed: August 1972.
- Unit Cost: $180,000.
- Propulsion: Thiokol SR 109-TC-1 solid-propellant rocket motor; Thiokol SR 114-TC-1 (or Aerojet SR 115-AJ-1) solid-propellant rocket motor
- Length: 98 inches
- Diameter: 12 inches
- Wingspan: 28 inches
- Weight: 462 – 670 pounds, depending upon model
- Speed: Supersonic
- Range: 17 nautical miles