Maverick has a cylindrical body, and either a rounded glass nose for electro-optical
imaging, or a zinc sulfide nose for imaging infrared. It has long-chord delta
wings and tail control surfaces mounted close to the trailing edge of the wing
of the aircraft using it. The warhead is in the missile's center section. A cone-shaped
warhead, one of two types carried by the Maverick missile, is fired by a contact
fuse in the nose. The other is a delayed-fuse penetrator, a heavyweight warhead
that penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is
very effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types
is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead.
A-10, F-15E and F-16 aircraft
carry Mavericks. Since as many as six Mavericks can be carried by an aircraft,
usually in three round, underwing clusters, the pilot can engage several targets
on one mission. The missile also has "launch-and-leave" capability that
enables a pilot to fire it and immediately take evasive action or attack another
target as the missile guides itself to the target. Mavericks can be launched from
high altitudes to tree-top level and can hit targets ranging from a distance of
a few thousand feet to 13 nautical miles at medium altitude.
and B models have an electro-optical television guidance system. After the protective
dome cover is automatically removed from the nose of the missile and its video
circuitry activated, the scene viewed by the guidance system appears on a cockpit
television screen. The pilot selects the target, centers cross hairs on it, locks
on, then launches the missile.
Although the Maverick B is similar to the
A model, the television guidance system has a screen magnification capability
that enables the pilot to identify and lock on smaller and more distant targets.
Maverick D has an imaging infrared guidance system, operated much like that of
the A and B models, except that infrared video overcomes the daylight-only, adverse
weather limitations of the other systems. The infrared Maverick D can track heat
generated by a target and provide the pilot a pictorial display of the target
during darkness and hazy or inclement weather.
The Maverick G model essentially
has the same guidance system as the D, with some software modifications that track
larger targets. The G model's major difference is its heavyweight penetrator warhead,
while Maverick A, B and D models employ the shaped-charge warhead.
Air Force accepted the first AGM-65A Maverick in August 1972. A total of 25,750
A and B Mavericks have been purchased by the Air Force.
The Air Force took
delivery of the first AGM-65D in October 1983, with initial operational capability
in February 1986. Delivery of operational AGM-65G missiles took place in 1989.
AGM-65 missiles were employed by F-16s and A-10s in 1991 to attack armored targets
in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Mavericks played a large part
in the destruction of Iraq's significant military force.
Function: Air-to-surface guided missile
Contractors: Hughes Aircraft Co.,
Power Plant: Thiokol TX-481 solid-propellant rocket motor
Weight: AGM-65A/B, 462 pounds (207.90 kilograms); AGM-65D, 485 pounds (218.25
kilograms); AGM-65G, 670 pounds (301.50 kilograms)
Diameter: 1 foot (30.48
Wingspan: 2 feet, 4 inches (71.12 centimeters)
Aircraft: Used aboard A-10, F-15E and
Guidance System: AGM-65A/B, electro-optical television; AGM-65D/G,
Warheads: AGM-65A/B/D, 125 pounds (56.25 kilograms), cone
shaped; AGM-65G, 300 pounds (135 kilograms) delayed-fuse penetrator, heavyweight
Cost: $17,000 to $110,000 depending on the Maverick variant