Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2003 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.

Photo: Hughes
Brazo (w/o wings and fins)

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.


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):

Length3.66 m (144 in)
Wingspan1.02 m (40 in)
Finspan0.81 m (32 in)
Diameter0.203 m (8 in)
SpeedMach 4
Range30 km (16 nm)
PropulsionRocketdyne MK 38/MK 52 solid rocket
Warhead30 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

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 7 May 2003