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Have radar guided hellfires ever actually been fired in anger?


CrazyGman
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Just curious, it seems from all the material I've read that pretty much ever hellfire missile used in actual combat has been a laser guided missile? Which kind of makes sense if you think that most of the combat the Apache has seen in the last 2 decades has been CAS against insurgents. I was wonder if any radar guided missiles where used in Yugoskavia, or in the 2003 invasion of Iraq or anywhere for that matter?


Edited by CrazyGman
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  • CrazyGman changed the title to Have radar guided hellfires ever actually been fired in anger?
2 minutes ago, CrazyGman said:

Cool, do you have a source?

 

I'm afraid not.  There are pictures on the internet of them being used early in the conflict, but nothing I can link you that shows them actually being fired.  They were though.

r/MissilePorn - US Army armament crew specialist Michael Mayo, from Florida, loads the rocket pod of an an Apache AH-64D attack helicopter also armed with Hellfire missiles at left [2048 × 1333]

Afterburners are for wussies...hang around the battlefield and dodge tracers like a man.

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2 hours ago, Raptor9 said:

 

I'm afraid not.  There are pictures on the internet of them being used early in the conflict, but nothing I can link you that shows them actually being fired.  They were though.

r/MissilePorn - US Army armament crew specialist Michael Mayo, from Florida, loads the rocket pod of an an Apache AH-64D attack helicopter also armed with Hellfire missiles at left [2048 × 1333]

Yeah loaded it's pretty rate to see them, and from the accounts of British and American pilots I've read and listened to interviews i've yet to come across one actually being launched against an enemy. I'm hoping for a primary source.

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I wonder why they weren't used much. As opposed to the laser guided variants they're fire and forget, aren't they? Seems like you'd want that capability to fire over a ridge/building and then dive instead of waiting for impact.

Sure you can't get a radar lock on infantry, but a hellfire is a waste for that anyhow.


Edited by FalcoGer
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6 minutes ago, FalcoGer said:

I wonder why they weren't used much. As opposed to the laser guided variants they're fire and forget, aren't they? Seems like you'd want that capability to fire over a ridge/building and then dive instead of waiting for impact.

 

Every weapon has pros and cons in their applications, the Hellfire is no different.  But it's a topic that gets into sensitive areas, unfortunately.

 

7 minutes ago, FalcoGer said:

Sure you can't get a radar lock on infantry, but a hellfire is a waste for that anyhow.

 

It all depends on the tactical situation.  I have no problem "wasting" a Vikhr missile on a couple of infantry with MANPADS at max standoff if it keeps me safe and able to carry on my mission.  There are no absolutes in combat.

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Afterburners are for wussies...hang around the battlefield and dodge tracers like a man.

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The cost of a Hellfire is high, but when it compares to getting a $30 million dollar aircraft shot down along with two pilots, not to mention the loss of a battlefield "force multiplier" like an attack helicopter, using a Hellfire on such a target is way more cost-effective.

 

On another note, raw stats comparisons between modules is silly in my opinion, but while we're at it...Yes you can carry 12x Vikhrs on two Ka-50 pylons, but that's all you can carry.  I can carry 16x Hellfires on the Apache.  I have to drop my rocket pods to do that, but if I'm going for precision and/or standoff, losing the rockets isn't going to reduce my mission effectiveness since unguided rockets are only really useful against soft, area targets anyway.


Edited by Raptor9
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Afterburners are for wussies...hang around the battlefield and dodge tracers like a man.

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Radar guided Hellfires are not well-suited to target individual persons, on foot, in an AO - nor is the Radar for that matter. That is why you have not seen them used a lot in actual combat the last two decades. If the US had been fighting a near-peer, or heck a traditional military force, they would have been more prominent. 

It's the same reasoning why pilots don't use A/G Radar much in the GWOT. 

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11 hours ago, FalcoGer said:

I wonder why they weren't used much. As opposed to the laser guided variants they're fire and forget, aren't they? Seems like you'd want that capability to fire over a ridge/building and then dive instead of waiting for impact.

Sure you can't get a radar lock on infantry, but a hellfire is a waste for that anyhow.

 

I don't think they are. Although they can be lauched without the need of a continuous lock, it needs the aircraft's radar for final guidance. This way, the heli can track targets, hop up, launch a missile, get back to cover and get its radar back up in the few last seconds to track and guide the missile to its target.

 

Don't quote me on that tough... That's what I remember from playing "Jane's AH64D longbow" back in the day (but I believe this sim was pretty well documented, especially for its time).
 

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12 minutes ago, le troll des bos said:

I don't think they are. Although they can be lauched without the need of a continuous lock, it needs the aircraft's radar for final guidance. This way, the heli can track targets, hop up, launch a missile, get back to cover and get its radar back up in the few last seconds to track and guide the missile to its target.

 

Don't quote me on that tough... That's what I remember from playing "Jane's AH64D longbow" back in the day (but I believe this sim was pretty well documented, especially for its time).
 

Not correct. The aircrafts FCR is not needed for final guidance. The radar Hellfire is fire and forget, with its own radar seeker. You don’t technically even need the aircraft FCR to use radar Hellfire. The target location can come from the TADs or a datalink target location. 

Actually Janes has this modelled correctly at the time. Although obviously the whole thing was somewhat simplified. 

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Remember the good old Longbow 2 days. Single sweep from behind a hill or something. Descend behind cover again, make PFZ's. And handing them over to the other flight.

Then lobbing a barrage of LOAL Hellfires on all anti air units and giving the go for the rest of the flight to engage.

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1 hour ago, TZeer said:

Remember the good old Longbow 2 days. Single sweep from behind a hill or something. Descend behind cover again, make PFZ's. And handing them over to the other flight.

Then lobbing a barrage of LOAL Hellfires on all anti air units and giving the go for the rest of the flight to engage.

This....makes the LB a DEVESTATING weapon.  But is it actually considered a force multiplyer? 


Edited by Mower

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3 hours ago, Mower said:

This....makes the LB a DEVESTATING weapon.  But is it actually considered a force multiplyer? 

 

To the guy on the ground facing an enemy vehicular attack, YES!

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What bothers me about these discussions is the falsehood that you're going to get in serious trouble for firing a weapon that costs money. Listen, it's war. If you're loaded with something and the ROE is met you're going to fire that weapon after that hot call. 9 line brief's exist for a reason. No one cares that it took you more than one shot. Maybe you'll debrief and it'll end up on your sheet but no one's going to a federal prison for firing two Hellfire's instead of one. Mission first. Always. Working in a squadron and on a carrier I never heard or saw a pilot go before the skipper because he launched more than some imagined "allotment" of weapons. There's a huge difference between fog of war and variables that extend a mission or cut it short versus a "Class A/B/C" mishap.

In the Navy the Ault Report that spurred the creation of the Top Gun program was literally based off the fact that it on average took 10 missile shots to down 1 enemy. Those pilots weren't getting in trouble for that - but it was a training deficiency that got addressed.

 

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Still not hearing any real world examples of the AGM 114L ever being used in combat. I get that really the only time it could have been used likely was in the opening stages of the invasion of Iraq, but I wonder if the ROE prevented them from being used as the missile goes pitbull for final guidance and with the role the Apache was providing you want to have full control of where that missile goes in the terminal phase.

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32 minutes ago, CrazyGman said:

Still not hearing any real world examples of the AGM 114L ever being used in combat.

I think you misunderstood my post earlier.  They were fired in combat in Iraq in 2003 against Iraqi armor, however I could only link you pictures of them being mounted because those are the only open sources of proof I could provide.

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@CrazyGman also remember you're talking about a very niche group (who were in the specific units during the specific timeframe) of people simultaneously being in kind of a niche community here in DCS.  Not saying it's not possible there's more but just keep that in mind that this isn't the whole world. 


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2 hours ago, kgillers3 said:

@CrazyGman also remember you're talking about a very niche group (who were in the specific units during the specific timeframe) of people simultaneously being in kind of a niche community here in DCS.  Not saying it's not possible there's more but just keep that in mind that this isn't the whole world. 

 

I do understand that, but there are l enthusiastic members within the community and I was hoping someone would have come across an interview, or a book or article or video that describes or shows them being used, but I have been unable to hear a direct account of it.

2 hours ago, Raptor9 said:

I think you misunderstood my post earlier.  They were fired in combat in Iraq in 2003 against Iraqi armor, however I could only link you pictures of them being mounted because those are the only open sources of proof I could provide.

No I did understand, and I hope you don't take offense but mounting them and firing them are not the same thing. So I am looking for an account by a pilot/co-pilot gunner that mentions them being used, and I realize that due to the operations the Apache found itself in that even mounting them was rare, and even when they had them on which In your picture was 1 of the 3 (so probably 2 with the other stub wing) did the ROE situation come up where they would have been able to use it?

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59 minutes ago, CrazyGman said:

No I did understand, and I hope you don't take offense but mounting them and firing them are not the same thing. So I am looking for an account by a pilot/co-pilot gunner that mentions them being used, and I realize that due to the operations the Apache found itself in that even mounting them was rare, and even when they had them on which In your picture was 1 of the 3 (so probably 2 with the other stub wing) did the ROE situation come up where they would have been able to use it?

Not exactly an ideal picture to prove the point, but these are the images of the Apache that was brought down from ground fire on 24 March 2003.  In this instance, the aircraft was carrying 7x radar-guided Hellfires and only 2x laser-guided Hellfires.  Granted, I don't know if the remaining empty rail was carrying an additional Hellfire that was fired, nor what type it was.  The mission was to go up against an armor brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guard, so the AGM-114L was the majority type of Hellfire intended to be employed that night.

Iraqi soldiers stand in front of an Apache military helicopter in the  Hindiya district, 120 km south-west of Baghdad, March 24, 2003. Iraq said  on Monday that Iraqi farmers had shot downIraqis pass an Apache military helicopter in the Hindiya district, 120 km  south-west of Baghdad, March 24, 2003. Iraq said on Monday that Iraqi  farmers had shot down two U.S. helicopters south

You have to understand that asking an Apache crewmember about first hand accounts of how this missile (or any missile variant) performs and the specific tactics used during such an attack starts getting into areas where specifics are prohibited, and only general terms are going to be used anyway.

Detailed Rules-Of-Engagement of specific operations or missions are also typically a restricted topic, and only briefed to the public by individuals authorized to release specifics on an event-by-event basis.

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56 minutes ago, Remco said:

You've gotten that in this thread 😉

Well no one has actually specifically said that they were an Apache pilot, and again while I don't doubt that some people here are pilots, I always prefer to have a healthy amount of skepticism. Now most of the accounts I've looked at are from US and British accounts, but I so far have practically no info from the Dutch side with their Apaches in Iraq on 2003.

Do you know of any published articles or books? 

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15 minutes ago, Raptor9 said:

Not exactly an ideal picture to prove the point, but these are the images of the Apache that was brought down from ground fire on 24 March 2003.  In this instance, the aircraft was carrying 7x radar-guided Hellfires and only 2x laser-guided Hellfires.  Granted, I don't know if the remaining empty rail was carrying an additional Hellfire that was fired, nor what type it was.  The mission was to go up against an armor brigade of the Iraqi Republican Guard, so the AGM-114L was the majority type of Hellfire intended to be employed that night.

Iraqi soldiers stand in front of an Apache military helicopter in the  Hindiya district, 120 km south-west of Baghdad, March 24, 2003. Iraq said  on Monday that Iraqi farmers had shot downIraqis pass an Apache military helicopter in the Hindiya district, 120 km  south-west of Baghdad, March 24, 2003. Iraq said on Monday that Iraqi  farmers had shot down two U.S. helicopters south

You have to understand that asking an Apache crewmember about first hand accounts of how this missile (or any missile variant) performs and the specific tactics used during such an attack starts getting into areas where specifics are prohibited, and only general terms are going to be used anyway.

Detailed Rules-Of-Engagement of specific operations or missions are also typically a restricted topic, and only briefed to the public by individuals authorized to release specifics on an event-by-event basis.

Fair enough and I do understand that, and I'm really not trying to ask for specifics, just a general idea like for instance you can read material on how much and what type of ordinance was dropped by units during conflicts.

I actually finally found a reference to it which is what I was looking for.

 

Screenshot_20211014-152930_Google Play Books.jpg

Screenshot_20211014-152801_Google Play Books.jpg

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On 10/13/2021 at 12:58 AM, FalcoGer said:

I wonder why they weren't used much. As opposed to the laser guided variants they're fire and forget, aren't they? Seems like you'd want that capability to fire over a ridge/building and then dive instead of waiting for impact.

Sure you can't get a radar lock on infantry, but a hellfire is a waste for that anyhow.

 

there has been plenty of footage where hellfires were "wasted"on individual runners. why? they may be setting up ieds, the chaingun ammo may be out, they may be in a position to ambush friendly forces. there are tons of scenarios where it's necessary to "waste" ordinances like that. do you know how many jdams were employed against infantry positions?

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