Sep 9, 2014
US to convert older Mavericks into laser-guided missiles as strikes on IS continue
The conversion of 500 missiles will run through to the end of January 2017. The contract most likely arises from the current USN air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, where the Maverick missile is being used extensively.
The out-of-production laser-guided Maverick was recently reconstituted by the US Air Force (USAF) as a result of operational experience during Operation 'Iraqi Freedom', where it was used on the service's Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft. In USAF service, the laser-guided Maverick is designated the AGM-65L.
Following the USAF's example, the USN decided to re-introduce the 300 lb-class laser-guided Maverick to provide a precision strike capability against rapidly moving targets in urban environments. It is this niche capability that makes AGM-65E2 the weapon of choice for the current conflict in Iraq.
While the newer AGM-65E2 looks physically identical to the older AGM-65A/B, they are actually completely different missiles inside.
The conversion of the older TV-guided Maverick stocks into laser-guided weapons should provide the US Navy with a steady supply of precision-guided munitions until the replacement Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) enters service after 2016.