The US Navy has successfully completed developmental and operational testing (DT/OT) of the new variant of the Raytheon-built laser-guided Maverick missile, which will now enter production for use by the US and coalition war-fighters.

The Navy and Marine Corps aviators test-fired four AGM-65E2 laser-guided Maverick missiles from F/A-18C/D Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and AV-8B Harriers during the four DT/OT tests. Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air Warfare Systems product line vice-president Harry Schulte said: "In numerous conflicts, Maverick has proven its effectiveness against ships, tanks, fast-moving vehicles and fortified personnel."

The laser-guided Maverick, the AGM-65 E2/L, is a weapon designed for urban combat and high-speed manoeuvring targets, both on land and at sea, and is also used by the US Air Force (USAF) and Marine Corps in combat operations. The AGM-65E2 is the US Navy and Marine Corps variant of the laser-guided Maverick, while the AGM-65L is the USAF variant.

Equipped with a state-of-art digital laser seeker and new software, the AGM-65E2 will reduce the risk of collateral damage and enable pilots to use onboard aircraft lasers to designate targets. The missile can provide stand-off capability and high probability of strike against tactical targets, including armoured vehicles, air defences, surface ships, ground transportation vehicles and fuel storage facilities.

The accurate, direct-attack, air-to-ground precision munition is used to conduct airborne precision engagements of rapidly moving targets in urban environments and high-speed manoeuvring targets such as swarming boats. The guided weapon has a modular design construction, enabling various guidance packages and warheads to be incorporated into its rocket-motor section to produce a different weapon.

The Maverick family of missiles is integrated on over 25 aircraft and is in use with more than 33 nations.