This article initially appeared in PS 802 (Sep 19), p. 35-37
HELLFIRE missiles can do serious damage if both the launcher and missiles are in fighting shape. But if either one is suffering from neglect, your HELLFIRE firing just went to zero. Keep your HELLFIREs fired up for firing with this PM!
Use shotgun connector covers.
If the covers are left sticking up, dirt and sand plug up the connectors and kill the electrical connections to the missiles. Make sure they’re working properly and are aligned right. If the covers aren’t completely sealing the connectors, tell your repairman. He can adjust them.
Make sure shotgun connectors close completely
Clean shotgun connectors.
The connectors still need to be checked for dirt before a mission. Use a flashlight to look for dirt in all four sets of connectors. If you find any, use a clean wiping rag dampened with water and detergent, NSN 7930-00-282-9699, to clean out the dirt. Remove dirt and debris from the exterior surfaces. Don’t clean inside the connector with water. Use low-pressure air to blow out any dirt in the connectors.
Clean connectors with cloth
Check for burrs and corrosion
. Burrs and corrosion on the inside of the launcher rails make it difficult to load missiles. Look for burrs and corrosion whenever the launcher is removed or installed. Eyeball each rail inner surface for roughness or notching. Damage to the inside of the rails can’t exceed a maximum of .007 inches. Clean off corrosion following the procedure in TM 1-1500-344-23. Never file or sand the launcher. The plating residue can be dangerous if it gets in your lungs. Filing and sanding also cause dirt and sand to collect on the rails, which causes more loading problems.
Check inside rails for corrosion and burrs
Don’t lube the launcher. That just causes dirt and sand to collect on the rails, which causes even more problems.
No jamming. If you slam a HELLFIRE into place on the launcher, you’ll probably damage the stop blocks or the intermediate shoe, plus the missile itself.
Load missiles slow and easy. Never jam missile on launcher
A HELLFIRE should slide easily into place. If it doesn’t, something is probably wrong with the launcher, missile shoes, or umbilical connector. Don’t try to load a different missile tell your repairman.
The correct way to load is to place the latch handle to UNLATCH. Slide the missile slowly down the rail until the forward shoe is engaged in the rail track and the missile contacts the stop blocks. Move the handle to LATCH while holding the missile in place.
Make sure the latching handle actually latches. The handles get beat up from feet and bumps and they quit working. When the missile is latched, the handle shouldn’t move more than l0 degrees. If it moves more, the handle may be damaged. Tell your repairman.
If missile is latched, handle shouldn’t move more than 10°
HELLFIRE missiles need all the protection you can give them. Keep them in their storage containers as much as possible. If you have access to dome covers, use them.
Don’t use the fins as handles.
They break and that puts the missile out of action. Hold the body of the missile to guide it into place on the launcher.
Fins are NOT handles!