The U.S. military uses AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to penetrate armored vehicles such as tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs).
The Hellfire missile is the main air-to-ground weapon of the U.S. military. It is known as a precision weapon capable of striking targets when fired from air, sea or ground platforms. The Hellfire missile is primarily used against armored vehicles and fortifications such as tanks. However, the missile can also destroy bunkers, buildings and aircraft. The AGM-114 Hellfire missile has been in use with the U.S. military since the mid-1980s and is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Each Hellfire missile costs about $70,000.00 to purchase and is 64 inches long with a diameter of seven inches. The weapon is frequently fired from military fighter jets and fixed-wing aircraft, as well as helicopters. However, the missile can also be launched on land and from naval ships. Some aerial drones have also been used to fire Hellfire missiles. Since coming into active service, Hellfire missiles have been involved in most U.S, military actions around the world, including Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The AGM-114 Hellfire missile was developed in the late 1970s due to a U.S. Army requirement for a "tank buster" weapon. The original Hellfire missile was developed to be launched from attack helicopters and was classified as a "fire and forget" weapon, meaning it had its own internal guidance system and didn’t need to be controlled by a soldier after it was launched at a target. The U.S. military is planning to begin phasing out the Hellfire missiles beginning in late 2011. The Joint Common Missile (JCM) is scheduled to replace the AGM-114 Hellfire missile for combat operations.