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AGM-88 High-speed Antiradiation Missile (HARM)

(United States)

Notes: One of the most impressive weapons in the world today, the HARM missile is a key component of American airpower.


(above: a 1985 Texas Instruments promotional flyer for HARM)

Project timeline

Initial studies for a follow-on to the AGM-45 Shrike (the AGM-78 Standard ARM was viewed as an interim system only) were started by the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake in 1969. In 1974, Texas Instruments was selected as the lead contractor for the project. The prototype was ready in 1979. In 1980-1981 a series of 80 test and evaluation firings was made. The first production model AGM-88 was delivered in 1982. By 1987 it had been fully integrated as the main American SEAD weapon.

The HARM programme was initially criticized for the missile’s high cost and for nagging quality problems. In early 1986, the US Navy and US Marine Corps briefly refused to pay Texas Instruments for any additional AGM-88s until the bugs were worked out.

The 10,000th missile was delivered several weeks before the start of operation Desert Shield in 1990. The AGM-88's success during Desert Storm in 1991 resulted in an additional $252 million contract to Texas Instruments for 1,328 more missiles on 4 February 1992. To compensate for export sales and firings during later operations, smaller batches have been ordered since. All told, 21,300 HARM missiles were built.

Texas Instruments has since sold it’s missile division to Raytheon. In 2009, Raytheon was awarded a $8.2 million contract for diagnostic tests and general upkeep of America's aging HARM stockpile.



Externally, the AGM-88 is of typical American missile body layout. It has double-delta fins squared off at the ends. The fins are made of a classified steel alloy to resist the tremendous aerodynamic forces in a high-speed maneuvering dive. The tail finlets are fixed, while the main fins are electrically gimballed and move cooperatively to affect movement. Internally the missile is divided into five parts: the dielectric nose cap section covering the spiral antenna, the seeker package section, the warhead, the guidance section (which also houses the DC battery and pylon interface), and the motor with it’s 303lbs of solid fuel.

The launcher rail is the LAU-118 which in turn mounts to the plane’s pylon.

One problem is that the HARM missile does not fit inside the F-22 Raptor’s or F-35 Lightning II’s stealth weapon bays. The F-35 can carry it externally (with a radar cross-section penalty), while as of June 2012 it doesn’t appear that the F-22 can use it at all.

The AGM-88 covers the C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J and part of K bands which would account for most of the world’s military radars in current use. The AGM-88 comes factory-delivered with many common threat radars already programmed in; others are added in the field as required. The onboard memory can store a huge number of potential targets, and squadrons operating HARM maintain a massive library of not only air defense radars but air traffic control radars, artillery radars, civilian radars, ECM jammers, and some datalink nodes; all of which can be attacked.

Compared to the AGM-45 Shrike, the HARM is on a whole different level. Shrike was limited to a single radar type which had to be selected before launch, whereas HARM is not, additionally HARM does not need to be locked on before launch. Shrike would crash if the targeted radar broke lock after being launched (North Vietnamese SA-2 "Guideline" troops learned to defeat Shrike by cycling their transmitters) whereas HARM can lose and reacquire the target an unlimited number of times. HARM is much longer-ranged, faster, and does not leave a smoke trail visible from the ground. HARM also does not temporarily blind the pilot at launch as Shrike did. The Shrike was retired in 1992.

Compared to the AGM-78 Standard ARM, the HARM has a much lesser drag penalty aboard the firing aircraft, and a greater number per plane can be carried. The Standard ARM was retired in 1984.

Compared to both, the Texas Instruments seeker was a generation ahead. It scans not only in frequency but also pulse-repetition (PRF) and other classified criteria; which means that modern frequency-hopping radars can be destroyed.


AGM-88A: Block I (1981): The basic version. Block II (1986): This version added fast-reprogrammable memory for adding new threat radars at short notice.

AGM-88B: Block IIA (1987): This was basically the Block II version with an improved seeker section. Block III (1990): After the end of the Cold War, the memory was expanded and non-Communist radars were programmed in. Additionally, land-based and shipboard ECM jammers could be directly targeted.

AGM-88C: Block IV (1992): This version incorporated lessons learned during Desert Storm. It has ECCM features programmed in, and the new warhead model. Block V (2000): Classified improvements to Block IV, reprogramming of existing missiles. Block V is not approved for export.

AGM-88D: Block VI (2003): This version bridged the gap between Block V and the AARGM. It enables use of the POS mode and has better range, plus some other classified improvements. Block VI also has a geography governor to help prevent friendly-fire incidents.

AGM-88D was the final version of HARM. The successor weapon is the AGM-88E AARGM which is a much-refined development but best described as a new weapon. It has it’s own DB Encyclopedia entry.

Low-Cost Seeker project

This was a never-fielded version. Due to Congressional frustration with HARM, the Reagan administration started the Low-Cost Seeker (LCS) effort in 1984. LCS intended to use the existing airframe but opened bidding to a cheaper seeker and rocket. Ford and Raytheon bid on the seeker (with Ford winning in 1988) and Hercules bidding on the motor. In the end, LCS was not proceeded with as Texas Instruments reduced the price of their seeker.

Modes of using AGM-88 HARM

1) Lock-on after firing: In USN/USMC terminology this is "Pre-Briefed (PB)", in the USAF it is "Pre-Emptive (PE)". This is the most common way to use HARM. In PB/PE, the plane programs a variety of target frequencies into the HARM and fires it down a bearing. The missile cruises down that bearing until it detects a target frequency, upon which it localizes and attacks it. If more than one threat type is detected, artificial intelligence onboard decides which is the most "juicy" target. If nothing is detected, the HARM self-destructs when the rocket’s fuel is used up.

A submode to PB/PE is Equations Of Motion (EOM). This allows the HARM to pick out specific threat radars at a specific location, overflying other radars of the same type if necessary. EOM is only available to USAF and Israeli F-16 Falcons with the HTS pod. The Luftwaffe has also modified some Tornadoes to use EOM. The USAF has even further refined EOM so that RC-135V Rivet Joint planes can real-time datalink new EOM targets to inflight F-16 Falcons if they are carrying the HTS pod. On the other hand, USN and USMC pilots are not trained in EOM at all (the USN now plans to introduce it for future EF-18G Growler crews).

2) Target of Opportunity (TOO): As it’s name suggests, in this mode the carrying aircraft detects an individual threat radar, classifies it, manually locks on the HARM, and fires. The advantage is that TOO allows the targeted radar almost no time to react, the disadvantage is that it exposes the firing plane to more danger. The TOO submode Home-on-Jam (HOJ) is available from the AGM-88B version onwards and allows HARM to attack ECM emitters in addition to radars. The submode HARM-as-Sensor (HAS) is basically TOO without firing; in this mode the missile is turned on and acts as an ESM system for the plane. HAS was mostly used on legacy types (A-6 Intruder, Kfir, A-7 Corsair II, pre-HTS F-16 Falcons) and is now less common as by 2012, most warplanes have robust ESM suites.

3) Self-Protection (SP): In SP mode, the HARM missile is given a list of threat radars (almost invariably tactical SAM radars or guided AA guns) before takeoff. The missile is left on and as soon as one of the pre-programmed threats is detected it attacks it. The obvious advantage is that precious seconds are not wasted. One disadvantage, at least with early-model HARMs, is friendly-fire risk. The AN/TPQ-36 radar in particular is said to electronically mimic various Soviet-built radars and a 1993 USMC training memo urged Marine pilots to use diligence when firing HARM in SP mode.

4) Position Known (POS): This is the newest mode (AGM-88D only) and is currently only available to the F-16 Falcon when equipped with the HTS pod; although the USN plans to integrate it with the EF-18G Growler. POS does not require the HARM to lock on at all; it is fired at a predetermined location (20' CEP). The location does not need to be down the same bearing as the plane’s course at launch. If a target radar starts radiating while the HARM is midflight, it switches to antiradiation homing, otherwise it simply impacts the original target coordinates.

Targeting a HARM

To use the basic (PB/PE and SP) modes, no elaborate system is needed at all. As long as the plane has a radar warner (such as the AN/ALR-67), NATO-standard pylon, and sufficient weight capacity; it can fire a HARM.

For the more complex modes and submodes, some type of help is needed. The best example of this was the impressive AN/APR-47 RHAWS system (see separate DB Encyclopedia entry) which the F-4G Wild Weasel was built around. The retirement of the F-4G left a big hole in the USAF’s abilities, so the HTS pod was developed. The AN/ASQ-213 HARM Targeting System (HTS) pod (see separate DB Encyclopedia entry) now enables the F-16 Falcon to perform the abilities of the retired F-4G.

For carrier-borne use, the EA-6B Prowler used it’s AN/ALQ-149 and AN/ALQ-99 systems; the latter could also coordinate a HARM attack with ECM jamming of the targeted radar. The Prowler’s replacement, the EF-18G Growler, will use it’s integrated EW suite to the same effect.

In all modes, HARM is capable of "over-the-shoulder shooting" behind the host plane, although range is less due to the missile having to execute a U-turn.

Lockheed Martin has developed a HARM-related device known as the Targeting Avionics System (TAS) which is a streamlined load-bearing antenna replacing one or more of the plane’s pylons. The TAS would allow any plane to have most, but not all, of the AN/ASQ-213 HTS pod’s abilities. (TAS can also be used to target AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles). A prototype TAS was successfully tested on a F/A-18 Hornet in 1996/1997. As of 2012 it’s unclear if it has entered service or to what extent. Lockheed Martin had originally marketed it towards the F-14 Tomcat, F-111 Aardvark, S-3 Viking, and AV-8B Harrier II; all of which except the Harrier have now been retired anyways.

German and Italian Tornadoes use the onboard T-ELS system, while Saudi Arabian F-15SA Eagles use the onboard DEWS system, to target their HARMs in the complicated modes.

Using HARM in an anti-ship context

The AGM-88 has never been used in actual combat against a ship but would make an ideal weapon to do so. In a battle group, area AAW defense would be difficult due to the HARM’s speed; it is almost as fast as top-line shipboard SAMs while older naval SAMs could not catch it at all, other than a direct head-on shot. The HARM’s flexibility would allow one to be fired against a ship’s air search radar and another against it’s ECM system, while a third could conceivably be targeted against the ship’s CIWS if it tried to engage the first two. As a completely passive weapon, HARM is immune to chaff or decoys. The HARM’s warhead would likely do little structural damage, even to small frigates or corvettes, but as many sensors are commonly packed onto modern warship masts a single hit would likely knock the ship out of the battle.

The first SINKEX using HARM was off the coast of California on 24 October 1982, with the ex-USS Savage (DER-386) serving as the target. The test showed that a HARM would not sink the frigate but would have disabled it from participating in combat.

(below: an AGM-88 proximity-detonates off the radar mast of ex-USS Savage.)


Miscellaneous notes about export of HARM

Export sales of HARM are hobbled by both the cost of the missile, and, political considerations due to it’s technology and extreme effect in war. The USA has seemed reluctant to sell the missile for fear of upsetting regional balances-of-power. Domestically, it makes a tough pitch to Congress as it’s hard to portray a weapon intended to obliterate a neighboring country’s radar network as "defensive only".

The flagship export customer was the (then-West) German Luftwaffe which placed a 1,000-missile order in 1986. Spain ordered 200 missiles for it’s F/A-18 Hornets; the missile is very popular in Spanish service and smaller supplemental orders followed. South Korea and Italy both initially received HARM as part of the post-Desert Storm procurement package; their missiles were mixed in with a larger USAF/USN order. The Italian missiles were delivered in the mid-1990s and said to have cost $145,000 each. The Greek and Turkish sales were done in unison to avoid upsetting the Aegean balance-of-power. The Egyptian deal was signed in 2001 as part of the "Peace Vector VI" agreement which also included the necessary upgrades to Egypt’s F-16C/D Falcons enabling them to fire HARMs. The Egyptian missiles were not actually delivered until 2004. The Saudi deal was signed in 2012, with the Saudi F-15SA Eagles being duly upgraded to fire HARMs. The cost of the most recent AGM-88 sale (the UAE in 2012) is unknown; the 163 HARMs were part of a $2 billion deal that also included 52 AGM-84 Harpoons, 1,163 AGM-65 Mavericks, 491 AIM-120 AMRAAMs, and assorted AIM-9 Sidewinders, 20mm aircraft gun ammunition, iron bombs, and spare F-16 parts.

Taiwan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all lobbied unsuccessfully for many years before finally securing export permission. Meanwhile Pakistan, Brazil, and Thailand still have not been approved, despite numerous requests.

The Finnish AF has test-fired AGM-88s off it’s F/A-18 Hornets however the Finnish government felt the missile was too expensive and did not grant funding for a production order. The RAAF has test-fired AGM-88s from both F-111 Aardvarks and F/A-18 Hornets and urgently desires the missile, however as of mid-2012 it still had not been funded by the Australian government. India was offered access to purchasing HARMs as a "sweetner" if it selected the F-16 Falcon for it's 2010s fighter competition, which it did not.

Looking forward, Morocco and Poland are interested in possibly acquiring HARM in the future.

(below: Luftwaffe Tornado with HARM)



First use: The first known HARM firings in anger were on 24 March 1986. A Libyan SA-5 "Gammon" SAM battery near Sirte fired on F-14 Tomcats of USS America’s CAP, which were about 24NM offshore, in international waters. The SA-5s missed. USS America launched a flight of HARM-armed A-7 Corsair IIs which fired four AGM-88s at the Sirte site’s 5N62 ("Square Pair") radar post controlling the nearby "Gammon" battery. It’s unknown if the radars were hit but they stopped radiating.

Operation Prairie Fire: Immediately after the above incident, the USN launched a "pre-packaged" strike against Libyan naval forces. Operation Prairie Fire had been devised during late 1985 as the Reagan administration felt that it was more or less certain that Libya would eventually go too far in it’s harassment of USN ships in the Mediterranean, and wanted to have a response ready. During the early hours of 25 March 1986, USN aircraft sank a number of Libyan warships. The Libyan air defense assets along the coast tried to provide cover for their fleet, however all SA-2s and SA-5s missed. In turn, a second wave of HARM strikes destroyed another two "Square Pair" and at least one (most likely two) "Fan Song" radars.

Operation El Dorado Canyon: This was the 1986 major airstrike against Libya. A total of 36 AGM-88 HARMs were fired (along with 12 AGM-45 Shrikes). All were by USN carrier-borne planes; with 16 HARMs fired by A-7E Corsair IIs against radars around the capital Tripoli, and the other 20 HARMs by F/A-18 Hornets against radars in the Benghazi area. The goal was to clear a path for land-based F-111 Aardvarks. The planes came from USS Coral Sea and USS America. At about 10NM offshore, the planes climbed to about 700' altitude to ensure that the Libyan radars saw them and lit up, whereupon they fired their HARMs.

The official USN account of El Dorado Canyon states that six Libyan radars were confirmed destroyed, which seems low for the amount of HARMs fired. Anecdotal accounts mention "Flat Face", "Low Blow", "Straight Flush", and especially "Fan Song" radars being hit. The El Dorado Canyon experience was particularly useful for the United States, as it illustrated the great potential of the AGM-88 but also the need to fire greater numbers.

The official Soviet AF account of El Dorado Canyon (document GVS-No A-456-721, now declassified and released by Russia) was compiled by Soviet advisors in Libya during the raid and Soviet intelligence arms afterwards. It stated that 30 HARMs were fired (actually 36 were) of which 15 impacted a radar. The Soviet account stated that two SA-2 "Guideline" batteries were disabled (most likely by destruction of their "Fan Song" sets), one SA-3 "Goa", and one SA-6 "Gainful". The Soviet account also states that a French-supplied Crotale II SAM launcher was disabled; however this may have been with free-fall ordnance as it is not thought that any missiles were launched at non-Soviet radars. The Soviet account was also rather scathing in it’s analysis of the Libyan radar troops. It stated that a number of Libyan operators fled their radars in cowardice after the HARMs began to arrive, and that Soviet-supplied training literature on how to deal with American air raid tactics had been ignored.

Curiously the Soviet AF account mentions that the HARMs followed "ship-launched drone decoys". No such system existed in the USN inventory and apparently the Soviets (like the Libyans) failed to recognize that the "drones" which goaded the Libyan radarmen into lighting up their systems were actually the firing planes themselves.

Operation Just Cause: Contrary to some media reports, no HARMs were fired during the 1989 invasion of Panama. The primitive Panamanian air defense network lacked suitable targets and it was decided to capture intact the civilian air traffic control radars.

Operation Desert Storm: Desert Storm was the AGM-88's finest hour. Primary targets included Iraqi "Bar Lock" and "Side Net" early-warning radars; "Thin Skin" heighfinders; "Spoon Rest", "Flat Face", TRS-2100, "Squat Eye", "Fan Song", "Low Blow", and "Straight Flush" SAM radars; Roland MTI-AR and "Land Roll" point-defense radars; and to a lesser degree tactical SPAAG radars and artillery battlefield radars.

The USAF had meticulously scoped out the Iraqi radar network during Desert Shield, with minor high-speed incursions into Iraqi airspace to provoke the Iraqis into lighting up fixed radars revealing their locations. This locating effort was also helped by an ill-advised training blitz Saddam Hussein ordered for Iraqi radar troops during the final four months of 1990.

HARMs figured prominently into the first wave of the attack, which came at about 03:00 local on 17 January 1991. USN and USMC EA-6B Prowlers guided HARM-carrying F/A-18 Hornets and A-7E Corsair IIs with Iraqi "Bar Lock" and "Side Net" systems receiving special attention, while at the same time a dozen USAF F-4G Wild Weasels proceeded from Saudi Arabia taking out radars in the central and western parts of Iraq, with their focus being SA-2 "Guideline"-associated radars (primarily "Fan Song" sets). Meanwhile EC-130 Compass Call and EF-111 Raven EW planes jammed intra-network communications between neighboring radars, forcing many to radiate unnecessarily or for inordinate periods of time and marking them for the second wave. About 200 AGM-88s were fired during the war’s opening minutes, with devastating results.

As part of the second wave, ADM-141 TALD decoys were fired from B-52 Stratofortress bombers into Iraqi airspace. The TALD had originally been designed as a Cold War self-defense asset for strike planes, but here it was used as an expendable tool. Iraqi radars which survived the first wave lit up and engaged the TALDs thinking they were more incoming aircraft, and were subsequently destroyed by HARMs from actual second-wave aircraft.

While the coalition SEAD effort was all-encompassing, a particular theory was the so-called "house of cards" strategy that sought to disable as many SAM and AAA sites as possible by kicking out one leg (early warning, target acquisition, heightfinding, SAM illumination, etc) even if others survived. The Iraqi radars, almost entirely of Cold War-vintage Soviet design, were mostly limited to a single function each so this strategy was effective.

By mid-February 1991, the Iraqi radar network had been so degraded that the HARM effort was scaled back due to lack of remaining targets. It appears that by this point, surviving Iraqi radar crews were simply refusing to radiate for fear of HARM attack. Additionally, the "house of cards" strategy meant that most surviving radars were now parts of an incomplete set-up; for example an operational SAM illumination radar degraded or made useless by destruction of it’s partner early-warning and heightfinder systems. During the final days of the war, USAF F-4G Wild Weasels went into combat armed with AGM-65 Mavericks instead of HARMs.

Of the carrier-borne HARM firings, 300 were fired by EA-6B Prowlers and the balance by F/A-18 Hornets, A-6 Intruders, or A-7 Corsair IIs. The land-based firings were almost exclusively by F-4G Wild Weasels. The total fired were 223 by USMC planes, 661 by USN planes, and 1,116 by USAF planes (the USAF’s figures also include Desert Shield training expenditures).

The December 1991 issue of Air Force Magazine reported that four AGM-88s were involved in friendly fire incidents. Two of the incidents were apparently over the Persian Gulf and involved HARMs locking on to shipboard radars, neither missile struck the mistargeted ship. The other two were over-ground incidents; in one instance a Marine was killed. This incident happened on 23 February 1991 and was the result of a EA-6B Prowler incorrectly classifying an American AN/TPQ-36 radar as an Iraqi "Flap Wheel" AA radar. The other incident was when an AGM-88 "frequency-flexed" and retargeted mid-flight from an Iraqi emitter onto a US Army AN/TPS-25 which was destroyed, but thankfully with no casualties.

Unusual AGM-88 fratricides during Desert Storm

There were two more friendly fire instances, both very unusual, regarding the HARM missile during operation Desert Storm.

The first happened on 17 January 1991. A F-4G Wild Weasel detected what it thought was an Iraqi AA gunnery radar, but in fact, was a B-52 Stratofortress’s AN/ASG-15 tail gun radar. The B-52 was flying at a lower altitude but similar speed when the F-4G fired an AGM-88 HARM. The missile detonated just above and behind the bomber’s unmanned tail gun; blowing it off; and also perforating the rudder and tail with shrapnel and deforming ("beer-canning") the aft fuselage. The bomber’s landing chute door was blown open, and the chute was shredded (the bomber was traveling 400kts+) but remained attached. The B-52 made an emergency landing at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with no injuries. It was later repaired and returned to service with the nickname "In HARM’s Way". This instance was so unusual that for some time, many defense observers refused to believe it but it has since been confirmed, most noticeably that the shrapnel perforations were downward-facing which would be impossible by a SAM hit. After the incident was publicized, the Iraqi AF claimed that a MiG-29 "Fulcrum" of the IrAF’s 9 th Fighter Squadron had actually done the damage with an AAM but this seems quite improbable.

The second was not only one of the most bizarre happenings of the war, but of the entire missile age, and even today is not fully understood or explained in the unclassified realm. Apparently at some point in February 1991, a Saudi Arabian patrol ship, most commonly quoted as the Faisal, broadcast a SOS that it was under friendly-fire attack by rocket-firing helicopters. The United States confirmed that no rocket-armed helicopters (or any helicopters, for that matter) were in the area and the SOS was duly ignored. However, when the Saudi ship returned to port, it had substantial fragmentation and blast damage centered around it’s radar mast area. Years after the conflict, independent researchers noted that a USAF F-4G Wild Weasel had encountered a "hangfire" (the HARM armed but failed to ignite it’s motor) that same day; the F-4G pilot followed proper procedure and jettisoned the AGM-88 off the LAU-118. Apparently as the armed HARM was tumbling to earth, it’s motor did finally ignite and as the missile happened to be pointing east at that moment, it headed out over the Persian Gulf searching for a target; in this case, apparently, the Saudi warship’s surface search radar. The whole incident was immediately censored by the Saudi navy as it feared public opinion if an American plane had damaged a Saudi warship. The Saudis have never offered an explanation as to what happened. Even today, the whole incident is unclear but based on the few accounts, the damage to the Saudi ship was consistent with a small missile proximity-detonating above the ship’s radar; and the most likely weapon which would fit this criteria is an AGM-88.

Post-Desert Storm: In January 1993, EA-6B Prowlers of USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)’s air wing fired HARMs against Iraqi radars in the southern no-fly zone which were attempting to paint them for SAM attack. Later that year, a USAF F-4G Wild Weasel destroyed a "Straight Flush" radar in the northern no-fly zone with an AGM-88.

Operation Allied Force: About 950 HARMs were used by the United States against Yugoslavia during the 1999 air campaign. It’s believed that Spanish F/A-18 Hornets also fired a small number of HARMs during March 1999, reportedly the Spanish HARMs were amongst the first missiles fired on the opening night of the conflict. A particular target were Serbia’s AN/TPS-70 radars (sold to Yugoslavia by the USA in happier times); however despite numerous Wild Weasel missions none were destroyed. The Serb AN/TPS-70 crewmen were quite knowledgeable about American SEAD tactics and devised a system where one AN/TPS-70 would radiate until a predetermined time, when it would shut off and another AN/TPS-70 in a different area would simultaneously start up; meanwhile the previous radar would relocate and the cycle would start again. This "whack-a-mole" strategy was very effective in keeping tabs on NATO planes without sacrificing the AN/TPS-70s. The total number of radars destroyed by HARMs is unknown but the Allied Force effort is not remembered as the weapon’s shining hour. At least one "Straight Flush" radar was destroyed with a HARM. Experiences over the former Yugoslavia hastened development and deployment of the HARM Targeting System (HTS) pod for American F-16 Falcons.

Operation Enduring Freedom: Afghanistan’s extremely primitive air defense network presented few targets and only a handful of HARMs were used during the 2001 US invasion.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the HARM saw much less use than in 1991. The Iraqi radar network had been crippled during Desert Storm and the subsequent no-fly zone raids of the late 1990s, in addition, the years of sanctions had taken their toll maintenance-wise. None the less, a total of 408 HARMs were fired during the war. They were effective and by the time US Army troops reached Baghdad the Iraqi air defense system had been completely destroyed. On 25 March 2003, a US Army MIM-104 Patriot’s AN/MPQ-65 fire-control radar was destroyed by a USAF F-16 Falcon with a HARM in a friendly-fire incident. There were no casualties.

Operation Odyssey Dawn: During the 2011 airstrikes against Libya, HARMs were used fairly extensively. Both USAF and USN planes fired them, while Tornadoes of the Italian AF’s 50 Stormo fired a number. The total fired in not known. The missiles were extremely effective; by the end of the Libyan civil war the entire western half of Libya was basically devoid of any radars.

(below: Italian AF Tornadoes with HARMs en route to Libya in 2011)


USERS: United States, Egypt, West Germany/Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE

COMPATIBLE WITH: A-6 Intruder, EA-6 Prowler, A-7E Corsair II, F-4 Phantom, F-4G Wild Weasel, F-117 Nighthawk, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, EF-18G Growler, F-35 Lightning II, Kfir C.10, Tornado

The Royal Australian Air Force successfully tested HARM aboard F-111 Aardvarks but never operationally fielded it on that plane. Likewise the US Navy successfully tested it with the F-14 Tomcat but never operationally fielded it on that plane; same with the USMC and the AV-8B Harrier II. The F-20 Tigershark was designed with HARM in mind and would have carried it had it entered service; for a while it was even pitched as a dedicated Wild Weasel plane.

The civilian media often inaccurately credited HARMs to the EF-111 and A-10. The Raven never carried air-to-ground weapons of any type, while the Warthog uses the AGM-122 Sidearm for anti-radar missions.


57NM (80NM in AGM-88D)

Flight speed:

Mach 2.91


146lb HE-Frag:

AGM-88A/B: WDU-21 (25,000 preformed steel cubes)

Later versions: WDU-37 (12,800 preformed tungsten alloy "shapes")


Motorola DSU-19 laser-proximity fuze with FMU-111 detonator, impact back-up


Inertial cruise in PB/PE modes, GPS cruise in POS mode, anti-radiation terminal in all modes

Weight at launch:



Length 13'9" Diameter 10: Finspan 3'6"


x1 Thiokol YSR113-TC-1 low-smoke solid-fuel single-stage rocket


$145,000 (original per-unit estimate) / $189,759 (original actual averaged cost, 2012 inflation-adjusted is $284,000)

$203,000 (later versions per-unit estimate) / $477,000 (D-version per-unit cost 2012 inflation-adjusted)



Entry created by: Jason W. Henson

Related database records

AGM-88 HARMHutchDB 0.9 (1980-2015 Alternate)
AGM-88A HARM (1984)1965-1979 Database 1.08
AGM-88A HARM (1985)DB2000(1980-2015)
AGM-88B HARM (1990)1965-1979 Database 1.08
AGM-88B HARM (1990)DB2000(1980-2015)
AGM-88B HARM Blk IIIB (2003)1965-1979 Database 1.08
AGM-88B HARM Blk IIIB (2005/Cancelled)DB2000(1980-2015)
AGM-88C HARM (1994)1965-1979 Database 1.08
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AGM-88D HARM (2003)1965-1979 Database 1.08
AGM-88D HARM (2003/Cancelled)DB2000(1980-2015)
AGM-88E HARM (2008/AARGM)1965-1979 Database 1.08
AGM-88E HARM (2008/AARGM)DB2000(1980-2015)
AN/ASQ-213 Harm Targeting PodHutchDB 0.9 (1980-2015 Alternate)

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