Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $49.5 million contract to the Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, Ariz., to convert 500 GM-65A/B guidance control sections to an AGM-65E2 configuration.
The Maverick air-to-surface missile is one of the most widely produced precision munitions in the world, and has been in use as far back as the Vietnam war in the 1970s. The aircraft-launched missile is designed for use against armored vehicles, air defenses, surface ships, ground transportation, fuel storage facilities, and similar targets.
The early model AGM-65A/B use electro-optical television guidance systems. The AGM-65E2 version uses precision laser guidance for use against targets in cities and other densely populated areas with the potential for collateral damage. This version also is designed for use against rapidly moving targets in urban environments.
Raytheon completed testing of the latest laser-guided version of the Maverick missile in early 2012. The missile can be fired from Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18C/D Hornet strike fighters, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter-bombers, AV-8B Harrier jump jets, and other tactical aircraft.
AGM-65E2 is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps designation for the laser-guided Maverick, while the Air Force designates laser-guided Maverick missiles as the AGM-65L.
On the contract Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz.; Williamsport, Pa.; Orlando, Fla.; Ontario, Canada; Joplin, Mo.; and Grass Valley, Calif., and should be finished by January 2017.