HUNTSVILLE, Ala., April 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army conducted the first test launch of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile Eglin Air Force Base in Florida using a modified Avenger weapon system from Boeing.
Boeing said the test launch would help it continue development of its Avenger-derived Adaptive Force Protection System which can fire various types of missiles.
"The Avenger turret's ability to launch Hellfire missiles offers the warfighter another choice of weapon, one with significant ground firepower," said Phil Hillman, Avenger program manager for Boeing Network and Tactical Systems. "We continue to integrate and test additional capability on this system.
"Since Avenger is already in the Army inventory, upgrading Avengers instead of developing and fielding new systems has obvious cost advantages -- something that we believe is critically important in the current budget environment."
Avenger was designed as an air defense system but other ground defense capabilities -- such as Hellfire -- are being considered to expand the system's range and versatility.
The Avenger gyro-stabilized turret can be mounted on a variety of vehicles, including Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or used as a stand-alone, fixed-mounted weapon station.
Boeing said the test evaluated the feasibility of adding the Hellfire missile and Hydra 2.75-inch rocket capabilities to the Army's Avenger system.
Boeing designed, built and installed the mechanical integration equipment to mate the Hellfire and rocket launchers to the Avenger and supported the live firing at the test site.