Italy may be interested in joining a US programme to demonstrate a further upgrade to the Raytheon AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile.

The Quick Bolt advanced concept technology demonstration will involve the downlink of signal intelligence data from satellites direct to the missile before launch, and the uplink of missile seeker data via satellite, just before impact, to enable assessment of the weapon's effectiveness.

"We are having talks with the Italians," says a US Air Force programme official, who will travel to Europe this month. Italy, along with Germany and the USA, is funding the International HARM Upgrade Programme, which is integrating a global-positioning/inertial navigation system (GPS/INS) into the missile.

Quick Bolt will be a follow-on to the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile technology demonstration planned this year, which will test a multi-mode HARM seeker combining passive homing, GPS/INS and an active millimetre-wave radar for terminal guidance.

The programme calls for captive flights to start in 2002, leading to four test firings in 2003.

Source: Flight International