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Antiradiation missile (ARM)


An antiradiation missile (ARM) is a type of missile specifically designed to detect, home in on, and destroy enemy radar installations and other electronic warfare targets. These missiles often utilize passive radar homing to track the sources of radar emissions. ARMs are commonly used to suppress enemy air defenses during an offensive mission, allowing attacking aircraft to operate with reduced risk.

Key Takeaways

  1. An antiradiation missile (ARM) is specifically designed to target and destroy enemy radar systems and radio frequency emitting sources, thereby degrading their surveillance and communication capabilities.
  2. ARMs can be launched from various platforms, such as fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and naval vessels, making them incredibly versatile weapons in modern warfare.
  3. These missiles use passive homing guidance systems, which allows them to detect, track, and home in on emitted radar signals from the target without the need for onboard radar, minimizing their chances of detection and improving their chances of successfully neutralizing the threat.


The Antiradiation missile (ARM) is a crucial component of military operations due to its unique targeting capabilities and strategic applications.

ARMs are designed to home in on enemy radio frequency emissions, primarily those emanating from radar systems, effectively detecting, suppressing, and destroying these critical defense assets.

Consequently, ARMs help neutralize adversaries’ early warning and air defense capabilities, while also minimizing risks to friendly aircraft operating in contested airspace.

As electronic warfare and radar technology continue to advance, the importance of ARMs in shaping modern battlefield environments cannot be underestimated, providing a decisive edge in maintaining air superiority and effectively countering sophisticated threat systems.


The primary purpose of an antiradiation missile (ARM) is to detect, target, and destroy enemy radar systems and air defense installations. As an essential component of modern aerial warfare, this missile plays a significant role in suppressing enemy air defenses, creating a safer environment for friendly aircraft to complete missions. ARMs are specifically designed to home in on radio-frequency (RF) emissions emitted by radar systems.

By disabling or destroying these radar systems, the enemy’s overall ability to track and engage attacking aircraft is severely diminished. This paves the way for a more successful air campaign whereby adversary territory can be infiltrated with minimal risks. Furthermore, the use of antiradiation missiles can have a significant psychological impact on enemy forces.

Knowing that their radar systems are vulnerable to these specialized missiles can compel defensive forces to either reduce the activity of their radars or shut them down entirely to avoid detection. In turn, this creates a window of opportunity for attacking forces to carry out operations with enhanced stealth and reduced risk. In combination with electronic warfare tactics and advanced technological advancements in aircraft and weapons, antiradiation missiles continue to evolve as a critical factor in shaping offensive strategies and securing air superiority during modern military operations.

Examples of Antiradiation missile (ARM)

AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM): The AGM-88 HARM is an American tactical, air-to-surface antiradiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. First introduced in the early 1980s, it has been used extensively by the United States and its allies in conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm (1991), NATO operations in Bosnia (1995), and Operation Allied Force (1999) in Kosovo.

Kh-58UShKE (AS-11 “Kilter”): The Kh-58UShKE is a Russian air-to-surface antiradiation missile designed to target enemy radar systems. The missile can be launched from various aircraft platforms and has a range of up to 245 kilometers. It has been in service since the late 1970s and was used by the Russian Air Force during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

ALARM (Air-Launched Anti-Radiation Missile): The ALARM is a British air-to-surface antiradiation missile developed by the Royal Air Force to neutralize enemy radar systems. Entering service in the early 1990s, the ALARM was used by the RAF during the Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War. The missile has a range of up to 93 kilometers and can be launched from various British and NATO aircraft.

Antiradiation Missile (ARM) FAQ

What is an Antiradiation Missile (ARM)?

An Antiradiation Missile (ARM) is a type of missile designed to target and destroy enemy radar systems and communication installations. These missiles are used to suppress enemy air defenses and create an environment that allows friendly aircraft to operate more freely.

How does an Antiradiation Missile work?

Antiradiation Missiles work by homing in on the radio frequency emissions produced by enemy radar and communication systems. Once launched, the missile detects these emissions and follows the source’s strongest signal to strike its target, effectively disabling or destroying the targeted system.

What are the advantages of using Antiradiation Missiles in military operations?

There are several advantages to using Antiradiation Missiles in military operations, including the ability to quickly neutralize enemy air defenses and communication systems. This provides friendly aircraft with greater freedom of movement and reduces the risk of being detected by enemy radar. Additionally, ARMs can potentially reduce collateral damage, as they are precisely targeted at specific enemy installations rather than more general areas.

Are there any limitations to Antiradiation Missiles?

While Antiradiation Missiles offer significant advantages, there are some limitations to their use. Firstly, the effectiveness of an ARM depends on the enemy’s radar and communication systems being active, as the missile relies on these emissions to locate its target. If the enemy turns off their radar or switches frequencies, it can render the missile less effective. Additionally, ARMs may be susceptible to countermeasures such as jamming and decoys that attempt to confuse the missile’s guidance system.

What types of Antiradiation Missiles are currently in use?

Various types of Antiradiation Missiles are used by military forces around the world. Some examples include the AGM-88 HARM, which is used by the United States and its allies, the Russian Kh-31P anti-radar missile, and the European-developed MBDA ALARM missile. Each of these missiles features unique specifications and capabilities to suit the specific requirements of the force employing them.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Electronic Warfare (EW)
  • Radar Jamming
  • Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)
  • Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)
  • Missile Defense Systems

Sources for More Information