AGM-114 Hellfire - Badly underperforming?

Yesterday I have fired a quite a few Hellfire missiles and I was quite surprised how they performed.
At 7km range Hellfire:

  • were unable to hit moving tank - very little maneuverability
  • were undershooting quite a bit - laser on a turret, missile hitting the track (side shot)
  • were hitting targets at very low angle
  • took forever to reach the target

So I did some more test firing and some research and I have identified these problems with Hellfire:

  1. They are unreasonably slow.
    In game it takes 22s to reach target 5500m away, however in this live fire exercise video Hellfire reaches target just in 16s. TADS range is redacted from vid but range of 5500 and even TOF 16 (Time of Flight) is mentioned over the radio.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Dtq95T2t3Q&t

So in game for missile with top speed 475m/s, average speed to target 5500m away is just 250m/s. In this live fire average speed is roughly 340m/s.

  1. Their flight trajectory is wrong.
    In game it looks they use their 3s booster to gain altitude and then they shallow glide towards their target.
    Irl it is probably quite opposite, they “shallow climb” then dive on target:
    image
    Trajectory should be bit flatter with newer models of the missile but profile should be more or less the same.

I have a feeling that whoever implemented hellfire was working with sources like this one where the Hellfire has TOF to max range 38s, like in game and it is obviously partially propaganda with Hellfire hit probability 0.5-0.6 while Vikhr 0.8-0.95 at ranges where Ka-50 cannot even properly lock&track the targets.

There are ten Ah-64 in game and there will always be underdogs with Hellfire crippled like this.

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I agree with everything you have said, however this post will most likely be ignored, the snail is too lazy to change the code , or make them reliable in any way

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Top attack missiles also seem to severely under-perform in terms of lethality.

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I was meaning to type out something along thoes lines, but usually the snail silences such claims rather quickly

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I have noticed this be a theme for years, and it is endlessly irritating.

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They can silence the truth, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

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Currently hellfires trajectory is a wonky “worst of both worlds” Where it lofts high, making the time of flight very long, only for it to then drop and hit the target at a shallow angle, negating the whole point of a high loft trajectory. So a high loft but shallow terminal flight. Instead of a top down or shallow loft option. If hellfire was actually hitting from top down it would be very strong as its large warhead would overpressure tanks by hitting the roof

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It won’t matter where it hits since ordnance using the (Tandem) HEAT penetration calculator happen to be hard capped at (30) 20mm of overpressure penetration. Can you guess how much roof armor most Russian Tanks have? (32mm or more), and that doesn’t take into account LoS thickness or any ERA that happens to be present.

This limit just so happens to only impact HEAT, and HESH warheads so Soviet AGM’s are mostly unaffected since they tend to use a HE warhead ( the 300lb warhead AGM-65 variants (80lb explosive mass) are still nowhere to be seen for balance reasons), which uses the whole value for their Fragment’s penetration.

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I have no clue what’s going on with those Hellfires. Occasionally they instant-kill everything but the majority they seem like to detonate right infront of the target. I had a quite frustrating encounter the other day where a Leopard 2 A4 ate several Hellfires like they are nothing… I leave the video to it here.

I read somewhere that the operator could choose from the trajectory mode, either top attack, or direct hit. I wish we had the option as well, that would bring all Hellfire carrying Helis at least closer to the performance of the Ka-50/52 and Mi-28 series.

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HEAT warheads dont really overpressure in WT which is the same reason why Mavericks with their 50kg warhead hit like wet farts while S-24’s with their 25Kg warhead instakill tanks with near misses.

Guess who uses a lot more pure HE warheads on their AT PGM’s…

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Maverics locks on grass in most cases too…

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Does the K Hellfires as bad as B Hellfires ?
This is B fired at target 7km away with good altitude advantage it barely glides and it still fell 100m short of target.

Not sure about B but K should have impact angle about 35deg.

I’ll probably try to bug report it, because it is a next to useless.

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In real life you can choose between direct and loal trajectories. Clearly they don’t let us pick that in game. If someone wants, go make bug report and find some apache manuals or something. Common knowledge.

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In deed, but this is to shallow even for the LOAL-FLAT or LOAL-DIR.
image

This is for Romeo but they say the older Hellfires are flying even higher.

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So I did analyze the one of the missile flight and …

  • WT Hellfire B never reaches maximum declared speed of 475m/s, I measured about 410m/s
  • WT Hellfire B reaches apogee about 1400m from launch point in T+4.4s while it should be later about 4000-5000m from launch point and probably in probably higher altitude
  • WT Hellfire B slows down significantly, speed before impact is about 150m/s and clearly missile does not have enough speed to generate lift

So in game Hellfire B trajectory looks like this:
image

Conclusion: Due to probably to high drag and low engine cutoff speed (410m/s instead of 475m/s) and over all low velocity if the missile, Hellfire is flying in to low trajectory in order to keep declared TOF (Time Of Flight) to designated ranges.
As result Hellfire does not have energy to maneuver in terminal phase of flight and impact angle is very low, if any.

I’ll do the trajectory analysis of K as well as I found out that I have access to them

Note: In contrast 9K127 Vikhr engine burns indefinitely and though it also never reaches declared top speed of 600m/s it maintains speed of 400m/s during whole flight regardless the range.

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Last time I tested, the AGM-114K is missing its “inertial guidance”. When I read about it, they mentioned it will use the angle of the seeker as where to head if it loses the laser. Currently in game, losing laser will make it go straight, this means that if you lose lock early, it’ll fly into space and unable to reacquire the laser.

Thing is, I definitely remember me testing the hellfire and it did have that

Yeah, I remember a while ago it did have that.

There’s a video of Hunter_i86 using it to take out a SAM he was dueling with.
(Launching with laser lock, then ducking LOS for about 7-10 seconds before hopping up to re-acquire and drop the SAM. Was quite a good tactic to see, and should be well within the capabilities of the missile with IOG)

It’s just a wholly nerfed missile.

Anyone make a bug report of this?

Yeah I bug reported it and I was told it was a duplicate of one from like 4 years ago even though the LOAL worked fine like 2 updates ago

I don’t know how it looks visually, but lofted trajectory is NOT fully modeled in WT. The missile travels like it has a lofted trajectory, yes, but when it strikes a target the strike angle is the angular difference between you and the target, and since usually missiles are fired from very long range, the actual angular difference is low.

If you use a direct fire ATGM and hit a tank’s roof it’ll hit it hard. This is why I don’t get why some players are so eager to get Spikes in ground vehicles. They won’t work and require workarounds to make use of.

Yes it behaves that way but that is incorrect. If the current mode suppose to simulate FLAT or DIR trajectories, than the missile should have reduced range and reach target much sooner.
I talked to AH-64D pilots this Sunday and they told me that general rule of thumb is 4s per 1km on HI trajectory and quite bit faster on the lower ones. (In first post there is video of 5500m in 16s) That means way higher average missile speed and therefore more energy and maneuverability in terminal phase of flight.
Now a tank would drive away from the Hellfire because it barely has an energy to glide to initial impact point.