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    AGM-130 Missile: Pinnacle of Precision Strike Evolution

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    F-15E Strike Eagle 004” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The AGM-130 missile has come a long way since its inception in 1984, evolving into a precision strike weapon that encapsulates the pinnacle of military technology.

    Las Vegas, United States - 15.11.2019 F-15 Strike Eagle during the Aviation Nation Airshow in Nellis Air Force Base in 15.11.2019 in Las Vegas, United States
    Las Vegas, United States – 15.11.2019 F-15 Strike Eagle during the Aviation Nation Airshow in Nellis Air Force Base in 15.11.2019 in Las Vegas, United States

    Developed as a significant upgrade to the GBU-15 guided glide bomb, the AGM-130A missile is a rocket-powered air-to-surface missile capable of high- and low-altitude strikes at extended ranges against diverse targets.

    USAF F-15E Strike Eagle
    USAF F-15E Strike Eagle

    At the core of the AGM-130A’s design is the modular concept, allowing for a rocket motor that extends its range and an altimeter for altitude control. This setup enables the missile to provide a significantly increased standoff range beyond that of the GBU-15, making it a formidable weapon for strategic strikes.

    Las Vegas, United States - 15.11.2019 F-15 Strike Eagle during the Aviation Nation Airshow in Nellis Air Force Base in 15.11.2019 in Las Vegas, United States
    Las Vegas, United States – 15.11.2019 F-15 Strike Eagle during the Aviation Nation Airshow in Nellis Air Force Base in 15.11.2019 in Las Vegas, United States

    The missile’s ability to be equipped with either a television or an imaging infrared seeker and data link adds to its versatility. The seeker affords the launching aircraft a visual presentation of the target as seen from the weapon itself, allowing for precision engagement.

    F-15 Eagle in high Attitude
    F-15 Eagle in high Attitude

    It offers options for both direct and indirect attack modes, where the pilot can either lock the weapon guidance system onto a target before launch or guide it remotely post-launch.

    USAF F-15 Eagle tri
    USAF F-15 Eagle tri

    The original development contract for the AGM-130 missile was awarded to Rockwell, which is now part of Boeing. The missile’s initial flight tests took place in late 1985, with operational tests concluding in 1989.

    F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492d Tactical Fighter Squadron launching for a training sortie from RAF Lakenheath in April 2019.
    F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492d Tactical Fighter Squadron launching for a training sortie from RAF Lakenheath in April 2019.

    Subsequent upgrades included a new CCD seeker and a GPS/INS (GPS-aided Inertial Navigation System) for mid-course guidance, with the Initial Operational Capability being achieved in 1994.

    Eagle pair taking off
    Eagle pair taking off

    The AGM-130 missile series utilizes the “short chord”-type wings and fins of the GBU-15(V)/B but offers a range of warhead types, enhancing its adaptability to different mission requirements.

    McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15E ‘Strike Eagle’ assigned to the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron” by aeroman3 is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The AGM-130A variant, for instance, uses a 2000 lb MK 84 blast-fragmentation bomb, while the AGM-130C variant employs a BLU-109/B penetrator warhead of equal weight.

    KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 335th Fighter Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, drops a flare while providing overwatch during the demolition of the “Taliban Hotel,” a safehouse utilized by insurgent figh” by ResoluteSupportMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Although the proposed AGM-130B version with a submunition warhead was never procured, it demonstrates the missile’s potential for diverse payloads.

    F-15E Strike Eagle 48FW LN 91-311 USAF” by Ignacio Ferre is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The missile’s first official combat use occurred during 1999 against Iraqi air-defense installations and was later used in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001.

    F-15E Strike Eagle 011” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Despite the proposal and testing of several revised variants, such as the turbojet-powered AGM-130E, these models were never put into production.

    F-15E Strike Eagle 003” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    With between 700 and 1000 AGM-130 missiles procured by the U.S. Air Force, the current carrier aircraft for the missile is the F-15E Eagle. The production of the AGM-130 is achieved by retrofitting existing GBU-15(V)/B bombs.

    F-15E Strike Eagle 010” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    The AGM-130 represents a critical aspect of contemporary military strategies and hardware, encapsulating the evolution of military technology that excites enthusiasts of military tech and politics.

    USAF F-15E Strike Eagle” by matt.hintsa is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Its precision strike capabilities are a testament to decades of technological advancement, serving as a crucial asset in the modern battlefield.

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