Original Date: 06/23/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Upround Sidewinder and High Speed Anti Radar Missiles
For many years, Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) had the mission and capability to test, disassemble, upgrade, handle class V explosives, reassemble, package and ship missile systems for the military services. The capability to upround (or put in a ready-to-fire configuration), store components, assemble and test in one location are essential for the effectiveness of modification programs such as the Sidewinder Aerial Intercept Missile (AIM)-9M, High Speed Anti Radar Missiles (HARMs), and Air to Ground Missiles (AGMs)-88C.
The Sidewinder is a supersonic, air launched, guided missile employing passive infrared target detection. The missile is 113 inches long, 5 inches in diameter, and is composed of five major components: guidance control; target detector; safety arming device; warhead; and rocket motor. HARM is a high speed, anti-radar missile capable of detecting, acquiring, displaying, and selecting a transmitting radar threat. HARM is made up of four sections: guidance; control; warhead; and rocket motor.
For the past 30 years, LEAD has been the maintenance and upgrade Depot for the Sidewinder missile. The current Air Force program to retrofit missiles to the AIM-9M configuration involves removing the guidance system, upgrading all components to the latest configuration, applying the latest Air Force Time Compliance Technical Orders, testing upgraded guidance assemblies from the prime contractor, reassembling the missile to an upround condition and testing. There is also a Navy retrofit program primarily involving an upgrade to the guidance system. The missile is packaged and returned to the customer with a disk containing all component serial numbers, dates, and other relevant data which are compatible with Air Force and Navy software systems.
The missiles are tested with the same test sets used by the customer’s facilities. LEAD is processing approximately eight to ten Sidewinders a day, and has completed about 3,000 for the present upgrade program.
HARM is a newer program for the Air Force and Navy, but involves many similar processes, procedures, and capabilities as the Sidewinder Program. The present Air Force program upgrades the missile to the AGMs-88C configuration with a new warhead and guidance system. The program includes disassembly, component replacement, assembly, test in the upround configuration, and collection of component data compatible with customer software. Present volume is four to six missiles per day. Approximately 500 of the 850 missiles scheduled under this program have been modified. In addition, LEAD has performed an x-ray/cold soak operation on selected AGMs-88 rocket motors. This involved placing the motor in an environmental chamber, chilling for 24 hours, and then x-raying the motor to detect any minute flaws. This special process was used to verify the acceptability of more than 2,000 rocket motors.
LEAD has many years experience with these kinds of programs, is a stock point for missile components, and has the facilities for handling class V explosives. The basic processes are readily adaptable to specific requirements of missile upgrade programs. LEAD’s experience and capability demonstrate effectiveness for testing and assembling missiles to an upround configuration.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.