Dec 07 2015
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., the builder of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM®) and the extended range version (JASSM-ER), has received a U.S. Air Force $305.4 million contract to continue production of both models of the missile.
The Lot 13 contract includes 140 baseline JASSMs for U.S. and international partners and 140 JASSM-ER missiles, data, tooling, and test equipment. The Lot 13 award represents the largest JASSM-ER order to date and brings total missiles under contract to more than 2,300.
Jason Denney, program director of long-range strike systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, says Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 1,700 missiles to the U.S. Air Force though all production lots.
“JASSM and JASSM-ER have an important role in the United States’ and its allied partners’ long-term strategic defense plans,” Denney says. “The missiles delivered under Lot 13 will provide an effective and more affordable capability against anti-access/area-denial threats, thus providing a strategic deterrent for U.S. and international warfighters.”
JASSM is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed, and relocatable targets. The missiles are fully integrated and in service with the F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, F15E, B-1, B-2, and B-52 aircraft. JASSM-ER has been fully integrated on the Air Force’s B-1B.
“JASSM’s significant standoff range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems,” Denney observes.
JASSM and JASSM-ER share the same physical dimensions. Both are 168 inches in length and categorized as a 2,000-pound class weapon — subsonic missiles that operate at various altitudes depending on mission. Both versions carry a unitary 1,000-pound blast-fragmentation and penetrator warhead that employs an infrared seeker and enhanced digital anti-jam GPS receiver to dial into specific points on targets.
The range on the JASSM is greater than 200 nautical miles, Denney points out, while the JASSM-ER variant is capable of greater than 500 nautical miles.
In terms of propulsion, the JASSM uses a turbojet engine, while the JASSM-ER model gets its increased range from a turbofan engine, Denney says.
The contract represents the fifth production lot for JASSM-ER, which received full-rate production approval last year. The missiles are produced at the company’s manufacturing facility in Troy, Ala.
The next evolution of the JASSM-ER is under way in the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Denney says. “LRASM is a highly-precise, all-weather, day-or-night, stealthy and survivable cruise missile designed to engage maritime targets.,” he notes. “It offers new strike-weapon capability that enables deep strike in previously denied battle environments and effectiveness against robust target defense systems.”
In parallel with the JASSM and LRASM contracts, Lockheed Martin also is investing company dollars into a surface-launch variant of LRASM, Denney adds, to be used by the U.S. Navy Vertical Launch System currently in the fleet.
About the author: Alan M. Petrillo is a Tucson, Ariz., journalist who writes for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He’s the author of several books on historical military firearms; and two historical mysteries, Full Moon, and his latest novel, Asylum Lane, all available at www.amazon.com.