UK: Apache Hellfire missiles restocked in £15million deal

An Apache helicopter

An Apache helicopter - Credit: Archant

A £15million contract to replenish the Army’s stock of supersonic Hellfire missiles used by Apache helicopters has been signed by the Ministry of Defence.

The 100lb Hellfire precision missile is the primary weapon of the Apache helicopter, some of which are based at Wattisham Airfield.

It was used by crews in Afghanistan and in the Libya campaign when Apaches flew from the deck of HMS Ocean against Colonel Gaddafi’s force.

Each Apache can carry up to 16 Hellfires, each of which has its own guidance computer, steering control and propulsion system which helps to ensure precision targeting.

Colonel Andy Cash, Commander of the Apache Force, said: “The Hellfire missile has undoubtedly saved the lives of British and Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan and played an important role in the air campaign in Libya.

“It is an extremely reliable missile and without doubt the weapon of choice for the Apache pilot and Ground Force commander.”

The air-to-ground missile can accelerate at up to 425 metres per second – meaning it takes less than 20 seconds to reach a target at its maximum range of five miles.

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Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, said: “Hellfire has proved itself in Afghanistan and Libya, providing our Apache crews with state of the art precision firepower.

“This order will ensure the Apache’s attack capability remains in place for current and future operations.”