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RAAF AGM-142 Raptor/Popeye/Have Nap

Last updated 08 August 2002


Article from ADM • JUNE 2002


by Gregor Ferguson Adelaide

Recently discovered outer wing fatigue problems on the F-111 may result in a further delay in the introduction of the AGM-142 stand-off missile under Project Air 5398. Integration difficulties had already delayed service entry of the weapon by a couple of years until late-2004, although progress has been made by Boeing Australia Ltd, which is prime contractor for the integration work at Amberley. To launch and guide the AGM-142, the F-111C requires integration of the missile's own software and associated data link pod with the aircraft's mission computer as well as additional wiring to the under-wing hard points. The likely combat configuration will see a missile and datalink pod on adjacent weapons pylons under each wing of the aircraft (see photo).The first tranche of hardware, consisting of inert missiles and data link pods for training purposes, has now arrived in Australia, allowing aircraft integration to advance a significant step. The design phase was due for completion around the time ADM closed for press, with prototype hardware modification due to start immediately after. This will be followed by ground testing by Boeing and ARDU.

Flight testing of the prototype is scheduled to begin early next year, followed by a test firing at Woomera.   

This is the first time such a complex platform/weapon systems integration task has been carried out entirely in Australia.  Not withstanding the delays thus far, this project represents an important investment in the development of the hardware and software engineering and integration skills required to supportand upgrade the F-111s through their life of type and to carry out similar upgrades on the F-111 and other aircraft down the track when new weapons such as the Follow-On Stand-Off Weapons (FOSOW) are acquired. However, the DMO says that the full impact of the F-111 wing fatigue issues recently discovered by DSTO during static testing at Fishermens Bend is yet to be quantified. There has been no suggestion that the F-111 will be retired prematurely and that the AGM-142 program should be cancelled , but the wing issue had already had a slight effect on the project schedule. According to the DMO, early indications are that some further delays will be incurred if a F-111C wing replacement program goes ahead -this is likely to divert key personnel during Air 5398 prototyping activities.

The RAAF ordered the AGM-142 under an FMS arrangement from the US Air Force which also operates the weapon, as does the Israeli Air Force. The RAAF variant employs an imaging IR seeker which provides a 'fire and forget' capability and can also be steered to target impact by the navigator via the data link. The missile also comes with a choice of blast/fragmentation and penetrating warheads, which can be selected and fitted to the weapon before take-off.

F-111 carrying AGM-142 missile CAPTION: Integrating the AGM-142 with the F-111 has been a lengthy process, likely to be further delayed by recently-discovered wing fatigue problems.

(Photo: Sgt Tanya Baldwin/RAAF 92 Wing Photographic)


Source: Janes' Air Launched Weapons Issue 22, Oct 95
Image : Carlo Kopp.

More of Carlo Kopp's proposed F-111 camouflage gif's are
at /Carlo/gallery.htm

AGM-142 on first display with RAAF F-111C at Avalon Airshow 1997 See Carlo Kopp's 'AGM-142 Raptor - The RAAF's New Standoff Weapon' article published in Australian Aviation (Dec 96).


RAAF F-111 to get AGM-142


JERUSALEM, April 22 (UPI) -- The Australian air force has purchased some 20 Popeye air-to-ground missiles from Israel's largest arms manufacturer, Raphael, for $13 million, the Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported Monday.
Raphael received the tender after outbidding two American missile manufacturers. High precision tests showed the laser-guided Popeye to be more accurate than its American competitors, the report said.
The Israeli firm is negotiating a similar Popeye sale to the Royal British Air Force, competing with America's largest arms manufacturer McDonnell Douglas and major European companies.
For our announcement about news from UPI and AP, see our posting in, or see our web page


See also : Australian Defence Force PR Release


Length 4.82 m (~ 15.8 ft)
Launch Weight 1360 kg (~ 2992 lbs)
Warhead 340 kg
Guidance Inertial, TV and IIR
Range 75 km (~ 42 nm) LOGO

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