AGM-65 Maverick

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With a first version that was operational in 1972, air-to-surface missiles of the AGM-65 Maverick family have a wide range of guidance and warhead options. They are of fairly short range: 17+ miles (12 nautical miles/27 km)[1][2] The 125 pound shaped charge warheads have less than half the explosive of the 300 pound penetrators, but the explosive force is directional.

Of the three forms of guidance, electro-optical television, passive thermal, and laser guided, each has an area where it is best. Experience proved that television is better at discriminating a target under hot desert sun, while passive thermal would work better against the same vehicle at night. It is expected that the pilot will do a "man-in-the-loop lock-on" (i.e., looking through the weapon's own seeker) before releasing the missile, which can hit within 1 meter.

Mavericks have been certified on over 25 aircraft of various countries. Current U.S. aircraft that use versions include the AH-1 Cobra, A-10, AV-8 Harrier II, F-4 Phantom II, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet, F-18 Super Hornet and P-3 Orion.

Guidance and warhead combinations

Version Guidance Major U.S. user & warhead
AGM-65 A/B electro-optical television Air Force, shaped charge
AGM-65 C laser designator Marine Corps, shaped charge
AGM-65 D passive thermal imager Marine Corps, shaped charge
AGM-65 E laser designator Marine Corps, penetrator
AGM-65 F passive thermal imager, anti-shipping Navy, penetrating
AGM-65 G passive thermal imager Air Force, penetrating
AGM-65 H infrared anti-shipping Navy, penetrating
AGM-65 K improved electro-optical Air Force, penetrating

General characteristics

  • Primary Function: Air-to-surface guided missile; attack and destroy armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation, and fuel installations[3]
  • Contractor: Raytheon Co.
  • Date Deployed: August 1972.
  • Unit Cost: $180,000.
  • Propulsion: Thiokol SR 109-TC-1 solid-propellant rocket motor; Thiokol SR 114-TC-1 (or Aerojet SR 115-AJ-1) solid-propellant rocket motor
  • Length: 98 inches
  • Diameter: 12 inches
  • Wingspan: 28 inches
  • Weight: 462 – 670 pounds, depending upon model
  • Speed: Supersonic
  • Range: 17 nautical miles


  1. AGM-65 Maverick,
  2. AGM-65 Maverick, Federation of American Scientists
  3. AGM-65 Maverick guided missile, U.S. Navy