The AGM-65 Maverick is a precision attack air to ground missile used in the US Air Force, the US Marine Corps and more than 33 countries.
This missile played a crucial role in the Vietnam War, Iran-Iraq, and the Persian Gulf Wars. The Persian Gulf War began with a massive US-led air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm. About 5,000 AGM-65 missiles of different variants were used to attack the armored targets of the Iraqi military.
The start of the development of the Maverick started in 1966 and took about six year to complete. The missile was originally designed to replace the aging radio guided AGM-12 Bullpup missiles that were first launched in 1959. The Maverick was deployed for the first time in 1972, also replacing the AGM-62 Walleye in the 70s.
Raytheon Systems (then called Hughes Missile Systems) won a contract worth $95 million from the US Air Force to produce 17,000 Mavericks in 1968. The AGM-65 A variant was developed with an electro-optical television guidance system. An improved version, AGM-65B, was developed next.
In 1983, version AGM-65D was developed and delivered to the US Air Force. This type contains an imaging infrared seeker. Subsequently, G, E, and F models were also produced. Currently, the Maverick H and K are the most modern missiles being produced by Raytheon with an AGM-65L under development which will contain a digital semi-active seeker.
The Maverick is one of the first fire-and-forget missiles, following the path to its targets autonomously. It also shares the same configurations as the AIM-4 Falcon and AIM-54 Phoenix. The missile also carries two types of warheads, a heavyweight warhead that penetrates targets before detonating, and a shaped charge warhead with a contact fuze in the nose.
The missile system is compatible with 25 jet fighter aircraft, including the F-16 and A-10 and they have been exported to countries worldwide including Australia, Japan, Israel, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, and more.