Lockheed Martin has completed the first flight test of the Have Lite variant of the AGM-142 Have Nap/Rafael Popeye air-to-surface missile. A successful test is viewed as critical as the company steps up efforts to secure an international launch customer for the derivative missile.

The missile was launched from a US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 at 8,700ft (2,650m) against a stationary target on a Utah test range. The aircraft maintained a datalink connection with the missile, the F-16 pilot manoeuvring the television/ imaging infrared-guided Have Lite during the terminal phase. Development cost is shared by PGSUS partners Lockheed Martin and Rafael, with the former investing under $10 million.

Have Lite keeps the AGM-142's 360kg (800lb) warhead and 75km (40nm) range, but has lighter electro-mechanical actuators instead of hydraulic controls, a shortened rocket motor, reformatted propellant, a smaller electronics package and scaled-down wings, and rear control fins. Have Lite is 600mm (24in) shorter and 225kg lighter than the Have Nap.

The AGM-142's weight limits its use to larger and older platforms, with only the Boeing B-52 carrying the missile for the USAF, while Israel, South Korea and Turkey use it on the McDonnell Douglas F-4 and Australia the General Dynamics F-111. Israel carries Popeye on the Lockheed Martin F-16, but restricted to a narrow flight-envelope. South Korea and Turkey also want to equip F-16s with the weapon.

"We've developed the missile with an eye to foreign military sales and F-16 operators. Now we have demonstrated it, customers and potential customers are eager to be briefed," says Lockheed Martin. If launched, Have Lite production will be modelled on PGSUS with shared content and separate assembly lines in Troy, Alabama, and Israel.

Source: Flight International