Washington: Lockheed Martin's precision-strike missile, the Hellfire, is set for an upgrade that will make it even deadlier in performance. The Hellfire is the missile that rains down on al Qaeda and allied militants in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and the tribal areas of Pakistan, fired from unmanned drones, such as Predators, and helicopters.
The cylindrical, 108-pound (49-kg) missile, known as Hellfire II, is the principal weapon used by unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft, such as General Atomics MQ-1A Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper.
The upgraded Hellfire or the Hellfire Romeo will now encapsulate all the killer applications of the previous Hellfire II model into a single warhead and provide greater operational flexibility to users, according to Lockheed Martin Corp.
The manufacturer describes the upgraded version as "One missile for many missions."
The new missile is designated the AGM-114R, or Hellfire Romeo.
Tipped with a "multi-purpose" warhead it is designed to knock out "hard, soft and enclosed targets" with a single Hellfire missile load, says Lockheed.