Weapon Systems

AGM-88 HARM plays key role in deterring Houthi attacks in Red Sea


The AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile is designed to home in on enemy radar systems. It can travel 150km in two and a half minutes.

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A US Air Force airman inspects a training AGM-88 HARM in South Carolina on March 22, 2017. [US Air Force]
A US Air Force airman inspects a training AGM-88 HARM in South Carolina on March 22, 2017. [US Air Force]

The AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM) used by the US military is playing an important role in preventing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

The US military on February 5 said it had struck uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) operated by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, days after a wave of joint strikes with Britain aimed at stopping continued attacks on international shipping.

"US forces identified the explosive USVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined they presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region," US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

The strikes against the two USVs, essentially explosive-laden drone boats, were carried out at 3:30pm local time, CENTCOM said, and follow repeated unilateral and joint actions taken by the United States against the Houthis, whose attacks have disrupted global trade.

US forces also launched air strikes against five missiles in Yemen on February 4, one designed for land attack and the others for targeting of ships, the US military said.

Late February 3, US and UK forces carried out their third wave of joint strikes, which hit 36 Houthi targets across 13 locations, according to a statement by the United States, Britain and other countries that provided support for the operation.

In their initial retaliatory strikes on January 11, the United States and United Kingdom attacked 28 Houthi targets across Yemen using more than 100 precision-guided weapons, including Tomahawk cruise missiles and the AGM-88.

The Houthis began targeting Red Sea shipping in November.

In addition to strikes against the Houthis, the United States has set up a multinational naval task force aimed at protecting shipping on the transit route, which carries up to 12% of global trade.

Destroying enemy radar

The AGM-88 air-to-surface missile is designed to seek and destroy enemy radar-equipped air defense systems.

The precision-guided AGM-88 can detect, attack and destroy a target with minimum aircrew input by homing in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile nose.

The warhead, propelled by a smokeless dual-thrust rocket motor, is approximately 68kg and breaks into high-velocity fragments to eliminate radar systems -- which then makes other systems vulnerable to a variety of attacks.

The AGM-88 has been in service since 1985 and is in its seventh major upgrade. Each unit of this highly efficient missile costs approximately $200,000, according to the Air Force.

The latest version, the AGM-88G, has a maximum operational range of 300km and can reach speeds of Mach 2.9 (3,600km/h).

That means it outranges the most sophisticated Russian air defense system, the S-400, as well as any system that could be potentially smuggled by Iran to the Houthis.

For example, Iran has claimed that its Khordad 15 air defense system can shoot down warplanes, drones and other threats since its unveiling in 2019.

Iranian officials have said that the system can detect targets up to 150km away and is able to track them within a range of 120km.

Equipped with the Sayyad-3 missiles, the system can find, intercept and destroy six targets simultaneously in less than five minutes.

But if the speedy AGM-88 is headed its way, the Khordad would be destroyed before it could react. The missile's maximum launch distance exceeds the radar capabilities, and its speed could propel it toward the system before it has time to power up.

At maximum speed, the AGM-88 can reach a target 150km away within two and a half minutes.

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Colonial states want the war to continue so they can try the US weapons and modern drones against Arab, African and Muslim countries, while depleting their financial resources and controlling them. They want Arab countries to remain in backwardness and to continue to import all of their needs from advanced colonial states. America encourages the continuation of this war against the people of Gaza. It has placed the ceasefire in the hands of this bloodthirsty Netanyahu, who is an unscrupulous criminal devoid of humanity.

Netanyahu talked about 1200 Jews so he can justify the war on Gaza to America, England, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada and others. The Zionist entity ignited the war in Sudan to control its natural resources, as France controlled Africa’s wealth.

They’re all criminals; they’re all colonisers, but in different forms. They’re colonisation at the end. If wars in African and Arab countries stopped, European and colonial states would lose because they wouldn’t find a market for their products, including weapons, and will lose financial resources from weapons sales. Allah suffices us and He is the best disposer of affairs against every oppressor and traitor!


[Unintelligible]. Allah Almighty said, “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power ...” This means to use all legitimate means with your thought and efforts for the renaissance of Islamic armies so you may force them to respect you. However, Arab rulers are focused on pleasures and forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Peoples are afraid of rulers rather than of Allah. We forgot, so He gave us cowardly rulers to humiliate their peoples. In fact, we deserve what’s happening to us. He has given you rulers based on your deeds!