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Brazo
American air-to-air missile. American guided missile, full scale development begun 1974, project cancelled in 1978.

Status: Operational 1978.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

Hughes Brazo

In 1972, Hughes and the U.S. Navy started the Brazo program to test the concept of an air-to-air ARM (Anti-Radar Missile). The project name Brazo was actually a kind of pun, because "brazo" is the Spanish word for English "arm". The Brazo missiles were AIM-7 Sparrow airframes modified by Hughes with a new broad-band passive radar seeker developed by the Naval Electronics Center. Brazo was to home on the strong radar emissions of enemy interceptors like the MiG-25 Foxbat.

In 1973, the USAF merged its own similar PAVE ARM program into Brazo and became responsible for test and evaluation. In April 1974, the first test flight of a Brazo against a BQM-34A Firebee target drone was successful. Four additional tests between October 1974 and January 1975, which included maximum-range head-on engagements, were also fully successful. However, the Brazo/PAVE ARM project did not result in a follow-on program to build an operational missile. One reason may have been that a pure passive radar guided missile is of somewhat limited utility. If the enemy uses fighters without a permanently emitting radar, Brazo would be useless.

Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Brazo (based on AIM-7E Sparrow airframe):

Length 3.66 m (144 in)
Wingspan 1.02 m (40 in)
Finspan 0.81 m (32 in)
Diameter 0.203 m (8 in)
Speed Mach 4
Range 30 km (16 nm)
Propulsion Rocketdyne MK 38/MK 52 solid rocket
Warhead 30 kg (65 lb) MK 38 continuous rod
Main Sources

[1] Bill Gunston: "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rockets and Missiles", Salamander Books Ltd, 1979
[2] Norman Friedman: "US Naval Weapons", Conway Maritime Press, 1983
[3] R.T. Pretty, D.H.R. Archer (eds.): "Jane's Weapon Systems 1972-73", Jane's, 1973


Development Cost $ 2,300,000 in 1974 dollars.


More at: Brazo.

Country: USA. Agency: Hughes.

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