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Just wondering because I know AGM cant pull any g's but if the target is straight ahead of you and they cant see you i think AGM would be more effective because of Radar lock ping.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that most AGMs are guided via Lasers and not via Radar $\endgroup$
    – U_flow
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 8:12

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Not really. Someone or some thing would have to maintain a laser point on the target for the missile to track to. With ground targets, this is comparatively easy. They don't move that fast, if at all. The target is lased by a wingman, or even a person on the ground.

An aircraft would be continuously jinking.

Better to let the missile guide itself, via IR or radar. The shooter can then go off and do something else.

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While possible (a 2000lb laser-guided bomb once took out a Mi-24 Hind), it would not be as practical as conventional air-to-air missiles.

A problem with laser-guided weapons is that you have to limit your maneuvers in order to keep the laser on the target, instead of fire-and-forget weapons where you can do whatever is appropriate next.

Visibility is also a problem - Radar works though clouds, lasers are much more limited.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good find on that story $\endgroup$
    – U_flow
    Commented Dec 6, 2022 at 22:29
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Air-to-ground missiles (AGMs) can't pull a lot of Gs because they are designed and built to track and destroy ground targets, so why spend the money, (and reduce other performance capabilities), by designing them to pull high Gs? Maneuverability is required in order to react to maneuvers by a target. An aerborne target, is generally capable of maneuvering at high G-Loads, at medium to high velocity. This is what requires an intercepting missile to be able to maneuver at high G-Loads.

The second characteristic is driven by the target's apparent Line-Of-Sight rate (LOS rate). A target with a medium (on or near 90 degrees) of aspect or heading crossing angle, requires the greatest amount of Lead. In order to intercept the target, most missile guidance systems use what is called Proportional Navigation, which basically means the missile pulls lead until it is on the collision course (measured by the lead required to cause the LOS rate to be zero. The faster the missile to target velocity ratio, the less lead is required, the slower the missile or the faster the target, the more lead is required. All missiles seeker heads (the part that has to point directly at the target to track it), have gymbal limits. If the missile can only point its seeker head a maximum of 30 degrees away from its boresight, then if it needs 31 degrees of lead it goes dumb (breaks track and goes ballistic). This was a major cause of launch envelope restrictions for early AIM-9 missiles.

Because AGMs are designed against ground targets, which are generally not moving, or moving at considerably slower speeds than the missile, they do not need to turn to lead the target by very much and therefore generally do not have very large gymbal limits.

So, if you are thinking of using an AGM against a slow, non-maneuvering aircraft at very low (tail-on) aspect angles, where little or no lead is required, an AGM might be able to hack it, otherwise, no.

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