Brazo/PAVE ARM missile
TypeAnti-radiation missile
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States Air Force; United States Navy
Production history
ManufacturerHughes Aircraft
Length12.0 feet (3.66 m)
Diameter8 inches (200 mm)
Wingspan3.3 feet (1.02 m)
WarheadContinuous rod
Warhead weight65 pounds (29 kg)

EngineRocketdyne Mk 38
PropellantSolid fuel
16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
Maximum speed Mach 4

The Brazo (/ˈbrɑːs/) missile was an American project of the 1970s, intended to produce an anti-radiation missile for air-to-air use. Developed by Hughes Aircraft and based on the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile, the Brazo underwent a series of successful test firings; however, the program was terminated at the end of its test program.

Design and development

A joint development project between Hughes Aircraft and the United States Navy,[1] the Brazo missile (named as a pun by one of the project's Navy developers, a Hispanic; "Brazo" is Spanish for "Arm", the acronym for an Anti-Radiation Missile[2]) project was initiated in 1972, as a proof-of-concept demonstration of the utility of an air-to-air, anti-radar missile.[1] In 1973, the United States Air Force's Pave Arm project, a program with similar goals, was merged into the Brazo program, with the Air Force assuming responsibility for testing the missile.[3]

The first air-to-air anti-radiation missile developed by the United States,[4] the Brazo utilised the airframe of the existing AIM-7E Sparrow air-to-air missile, fitted with a new, Hughes-built passive radar seeker head developed by the Naval Electronics Center.[5] The seeker was intended to detect and home on enemy radar emissions, such as those on interceptor and AWACS aircraft.[6]

Operational history

The first test firing of the Brazo missile was conducted in April 1974, with the missile, launched from a USAF F-4D Phantom II,[7] successfully shooting down a BQM-34 Firebee drone; four follow-up tests over the following year continued the missile's successful record, with none of the test shots failing[1] despite difficult test conditions.[3] However, despite the Brazo's success, the follow-on ERASE (Electro-magnetic RAdiation Source Elimination) project was cancelled,[8] and no air-to-air antiradiation missiles would enter service in the West.[9]

See also



  1. ^ a b c Parsch 2003
  2. ^ Stevenson 2001, p.18.
  3. ^ a b Friedman 1982, p.179.
  4. ^ Morison and Rowe 1975, p.282.
  5. ^ Fitzsimons 1978, p.425.
  6. ^ Gunston 1977, p.96.
  7. ^ International Aeronautic Federation (1974). Interavia volume 29, p.603.
  8. ^ Bidwell 1978, p.165.
  9. ^ Sweetman 1987, p.160.


  • Bidewell, Shelford (1978). World War 3: A Military Projection Founded on Today's Facts. London: Hamlyn Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-600-39416-7.
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare. Columbia House. ISBN 9780839361756.
  • Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Naval Weapons: Every gun, missile mine and torpedo used by the US Navy from 1883 to the present day. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-735-7.
  • Gunston, Bill (1977). F-4 Phantom. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-15298-1.
  • Morison, Samuel L.; John S. Rowe (1975). The Ships & Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet (10th ed.). Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-639-2.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2003). "Hughes Brazo". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
  • Stevenson, James Perry (2001). The $5 Billion Misunderstanding: The Collapse of the Navy's A-12 Stealth Bomber Program. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-777-8.
  • Sweetman, Bill (1987). Advanced Fighter Technology: The Future of Cockpit Combat. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0-87938-265-0.