Maverick missiles first entered service in 1972 and are the most widely manufactured precision guided munitions among NATO and Western nations. The missile was produced for close-air support and can be attached to A-10 Warthogs, F-16 Vipers, Harrier “jump jets” and F/A-18 Super Hornets.
A new upgrade package for the missiles has been ordered by the military, but they remain incomplete, a US Air Forces spokeswoman told Scout Warrior. “Several hundred” Laser Maverick E2 (LMAV-E2) are slated to be delivered to the military in the first six months of 2018, Capt. Emily Grabowki said, adding that “the US Air Force is currently in negotiations with Raytheon for additional” LAV-E2 missiles.
The missiles feature a few notable additions that previous missile variants lacked, including a “point detonation fuse” that explodes at the moment of impact with targets and a delayed fuse to allow the munition to explode after penetrating targets such as buildings.
Further, the missile will also be capable of using either infrared or electro-optical guidance to hunt targets with better accuracy. If those methods are not optimal for tracking, the weapon can also follow a guidance path determined by a semi-active laser that tells the missile where to go.
Weapons specialists told Scout Warrior the missile was a preferred option for attacking agile ground targets. The weapon carries 300 pounds of explosives instead of 500 pounds to mitigate collateral damage.