Monster Machines: US Forces Will Soon Be Shooting DAGRs

Hellfire II missiles are accurate and powerful, but they're expensive. Hydra 70 rockets are relatively cheap but unguided and far less accurate, which increases the chances of incurring collateral damage. But by combining a Hellfire's guidance and launcher with a Hydra's warhead and propellant, Lockheed has created a deadly new hybrid in the Direct Attack Guided Rocket (DAGR).

The DAGR pairs the 70mm Hydra rocket with existing Hellfire II systems and launchers to create a small and cheap to produce presicion munition capable of taking out lightly armoured targets near civilians or friendly forces. The Hellfire II system delivers a 9kg payload of high explosive, which often injures those near the target.

The 70mm -- that's diameter, the rocket is 190cm long, 7cm wide and weighs 16kg -- Hydra rocket on the other hand only carries about 1kg of high explosives in its M151 warhead and therefore generates much less splash damage. The problem is getting the Hydra to actually go where you want it -- as an unguided munition, it only goes generally in the direction you're aiming.

"Pilots in theatre have expressed a desire for a guided rocket that hits the target and minimizes collateral damage," said Jerry Brode, DAGR program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. What's more, Hydra rockets are quickly becoming a legacy technology and is being replaced by the larger Hellfire II's. The DAGR, as you can imagine, solves all of these issues.

Lockheed equipped the Hydra 70 rocket with the Hellfire's Joint Air-to-Ground Missile system, which uses IR imaging, semi-active laser, and millimetre-wave radar for guidance. This allows the previously unguided rocket both lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) and lock-on-before-launch (LOBL) capabilities.

The DAGR can also plug-and-play with the M299 Hellfire launcher and all the vehicles that it attaches to -- potentially quadrupling the total number of munitions each can carry. Previous guidance systems like the LCITS, still relied on the older Hydra launchers. The DAGR system has already completed live fire testing on a host of rotary aircraft like the Apache, Cobra and Tiger helicopters, and the Little Bird UAV.

Most recently, Lockheed tested the DAGR from its prototype Joint Light Tactical Vehicle against a pair of Hydras at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The DAGR was launched first from a pedastle launcher atop the JLTV, it locked onto the laser designator within two seconds of lauch, then streaked down the 5km range and struck within a metre of the target. The Hydras were then launched -- one flew 500m, the other got just over halfway down the course before exploding. With results like that, Lockheed isn't worried about sequestration. [Lockheed - Defence Talk - Wikipedia]

Pictures: Lockheed


    So we can expect they will kill less innocent women, children, and goats with these then?

    NO, same number of goats....

    Politics aside, simple fact is that fewer and fewer civilians die in wars today because of advances like this. Mind you, these advances are driven by the fact that every civilian death is a potential global media outcry.

      Civilians shouldn't be dying in any case. Most wars are completely avoidable, and rubbish like the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions were not needed anyway. - Al Qaeda was NOT the Taliban...

        "most wars are completely avoidable" - yeah everyone is an idiot but you.. and yet, you clearly don't work in international politics.

        Go solve the worlds "easy" problems then come back and talk trash.

          Well I DO work in an area relating to international politics, and I agree with Ozonocean. USA is always too quick to test its new toys out on what they initially perceive to be defenceless third world countries with only the vaguest hint of a threat to its national security, then they act all surprised when the locals put up a bit of a fight after GI Joe has outstayed his welcome. Sure the Taliban is the personification of evil, but so are the leaders of North Korea. I notice the Americans are not so quick to deal directly with that country, even when they know that they have WMDs for sure. But again, the commenter you attacked as being naive is right on the button, sunshine. Iraq and Afghanistan were/are pointless wars. And how stupid to think that after the all the attempts to subdue Afghanistan throughout history (even by large powers such as the British Empire & Soviet Union), it was going to work this time. Especially USA who, let's face it, often ends up having trouble distinguishing friend from foe in either case, and too often attacks its own side (or worse, innocent civillians and bystanders). I am ashamed my country (Australia) has embarked on this mad little adventure with Uncle Sam.

          But no matter - in a few decades from now, the only tools the Americans will get to play with will be the rake and hoe as they do the gardening for the Chinese.

            Erm, pretty sure the Taliban trained and then paid for flight lessons for those asshats that crashed into the WTC, so the US was right to go there. They should have gone there instead of Iraq. Lets not forget though, how the Taliban was treating Afghanistan's women. Iraq was about oil, so no contest there but Afghanistan was a breeding ground for the worst of the worst.

              Wrong Timm. The Taliban have been confused with Al Qaeda- they're completely unrelated, or at least they were back when the that invasion stuff happened.

              It's a common mistake to confuse these because the US administration at the time put out a hell of a lot of chaff to fudge the issue, but even they didn't even say the Taliban were responsible.
              The stated reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was to stop it "being a base" for groups like Al Qaeda. When the reality that they were well aware of was of course that Al Qaeda has no firm base and can and does operate from any country- Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, wherever.

              As to the treatment of women- The war was never for that and no one will ever have a war for that. And as for "Breeding grounds", no, all those terrorists came from outside Afghanistan. The only "breeding ground for the worst of the worst" is war, and that include combatants from all sides. War is the crucible that turns people into monsters.

              As to the "goal" of the war- With Afghanistan the main motive was showing the American people that something was being done and sending a message to the rest of the world that the US was not to be fucked with. Afghanistan was seen as a soft target. But there were other reasons, like having a strategic foothold in that area etc...
              Iraq was slightly similar in that. It's strategically very advantageous to have a base there in that region (against Iran, Syra, Lybia, protecting Israel, also a base for long range bombers to strike China for example etc), as well as having all that oil controlled by a client state- they still pay for it but can be sure it will never be cut off.

              Last edited 08/03/13 8:26 pm

              Domestic abuse sounds like a legit excuse for invading a country.

              By the way, the majority of those fly magnets that flew into the World Trade Centre were Saudis, not Afghans.

              The U.S. Government invaded the Middle East so large corporations could plunder its resources. Cut the bullshit kid, you're just making yourself look stupid.

              Last edited 09/03/13 12:52 am

            I'm not taking any side, but I think if you think ANYTHING is as cut and dry as one country is right and one country is wrong is incredibly naive - and the fact you claim to work in international politics probably just means you're part of the problem more than anything else.

              "if you think ANYTHING is as cut and dry as one country is right and one country is wrong is incredibly naive "

              Agreed. And I'm pretty sure I did not say anything contrary to this in my original post other than the omission of a detailed criticism of the opposing combatants. Just because I'm critical of American (and Oz) FP choices, that does not make me sympathetic to their enemies (pretty far from it, in actual fact). But Michael, this is just a forum post. I can't include a primer on t&c in IR, multiple disclaimers against generalisations (real or imagined), or qualifying statements on everything I say. Next you'll be saying I should include footnotes and citations, and a biblio. I'm just assuming people would consider what I have to say in the appropriate context without going all aspbergers on me.

              As for my ..." claim to work in international politics probably just means you're part of the problem more than anything else". Well, thanks for that extrapolation from so few words, but I didn't say I worked IN international politics, but in an area related to it...(actually an academic context). You REALLY should read these posts more carefully, Michael. But good luck anyway :)

                For someone who works "in an area relating to international politics" your analysis is facile and shallow. North Korea is actually contained and fairly harmless outside of sabre rattling, whilst the nutbags in the Taliban and Al Qaeda went out of their way (and continue to do so) to murder innocent western civilians in large numbers, of course we should focus on destroying them instead of wasting any time on North Korea. I'm not frightened of North Korea when I get on the tube in London, but I am concerned about Islamic fanatics. You probably work as analyst for a politician, because both your missives above are wordy but lacking any content or narrative.

                  It's extremely facile to confuse the Taliban and Al Qaeda. If you had followed what was happening when it was happening you'd know those two groups only began to corssover after the invasion. Before that the Taliban were ONLY a domestic military political force, far less harmful to outsiders than North Korea.
                  Whereas Al Qaeda were always based wherever they wanted to be, they had nothing to do with the Taliban. The Taliban didn't even use suicide bombers till well into the invasion.
                  It was the invasion of Afghanistan that turned the Taliban into the scary bogeymen they are today, before that they were just your common or garden hardline fascists, only a problem for their own people, much like the Junta in Burma.

                  Last edited 08/03/13 8:35 pm

    Andrew always posts weapons stuff when he's on his period....Which is about once a week.

    Check this war porn out Andy !

    Last edited 08/03/13 12:49 am

      Haha. Nearly as bad as Diaz and his fighter jets...

    gotta love it when they post these videos and flex the muscles

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