Penguin (missile)

The Penguin anti-ship missile, designated AGM-119 by the U.S. military, is a Norwegian passive IR seeker-based short-to-medium range anti-ship guided missile, designed for naval use.

A U.S. Navy SH-60B Seahawk helicopter fires an AGM-119 missile off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, in July 2002.
Typelittoral anti-ship missile
Place of originNorway
Service history
In service1972-present
Production history
ManufacturerKongsberg Defence & Aerospace
Mass385 kg (849 lb) (MK2), 370 kg (820 lb) (MK3)
Length3.0 m (MK2), 3.2 m (MK3)
Diameter28 cm
Warhead120 kg (MK2), 130 kg (MK3)
delay fuze

EngineSolid propellant sustainer
Wingspan1.4 m (MK2), 1.0 m (MK3)
34+ km (MK2), 55+ km (MK3)
Flight altitudesea skimming
Speedhigh subsonic
pulse-laser, passive IR (MK2), passive IR, radar altimeter (MK3)
naval ships, helicopters (MK2), fixed-wing aircraft (MK3)


Penguin was originally developed in a collaboration between the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (NDRE; Norw. FFI) and Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk[1] starting in the early 1960s, with financial support from the U.S. and West Germany. US Navy test facilities and technical assistance were made available to facilitate development.[2] It was the first NATO AShM with an IR seeker (instead of the commonly used active radar technology) and both hardware and software has been updated since entering series production in 1972.

Initial installation was in 500 kg deck-mounted box launchers with snap-open doors. These were designed for minimal deck intrusion, so as to be retrofitted to existing small ships. The first such installations were on Snøgg- and Storm-class patrol boats of the Norwegian Navy. The first airborne installations were on F-104Gs of the Norwegian Air Force, the missiles being fitted to standard Bullpup rails on the two underwing hardpoints.

Fire-control was provided by a Kongsberg SM-3 computer which could cue the missiles based on either active radar or passive ESM data.[3]

The Penguin can be fired singly or in coordinated-arrival salvoes. Once launched the launching craft is free to turn-away as the missile is inertially guided until the autonomous terminal homing phase. Propelled by a solid rocket engine, latest variants of Penguin can perform random weaving maneuvres at target approach and strike the target close to the waterline.

Of NATO's inventory of such missiles, it is the only variant that performs a terminal bunt and weave manoeuvre (although the US Harpoon missile retains its ability to execute a terminal bunt). The 120 kg warhead (originally based on that of the AGM-12 Bullpup, built under license by Kongsberg) detonates inside the target ship by using a delay fuze. The MK3 when launched from high altitudes can initially act as a glidebomb, only firing its rocket engine to extend range, or ideally to achieve maximum speed before hitting the target; for better penetration.

In its various versions, the Penguin can be launched from a number of different weapons platforms:

KDA's successor to the Penguin is the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), offered from 2007 onwards. NSM features an imaging IR-seeker, GPS navigation, a turbojet sustainer engine (for much longer ranges: 150+ km), and significantly more computer performance and digital signal processing power.



  1. Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) was formerly a part of Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk (KV) (18141986) and Norsk Forsvarsteknologi (NFT) (19871994), and is now part of Kongsberg Gruppen (KOG).
  2. Bill Gunston, Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Rockets and Missiles, Salamander Books, 1979
  3. Jane's Weapon Systems, 1970 - 71
  4. "Diário Oficial da União".
  5. Rolleiv Solholm (2 October 2012). "Kongsberg to deliver missiles to Brazil". The Norway Post. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  6. "Royal New Zealand Navy selects KONGSBERGs Penguin anti-ship missile for Seasprite helicopters". November 29, 2013.
  7. Solholm, Rolleiv (3 December 2013). "New Zealand selects Norwegian made anti-ship missile". The Norway Post. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
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