USAF approves JASSM-ER FRP

BLACKEAGLE

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Key Points
  • JASSM-ER is expected to enter FRP in 2017
  • Lockheed Martin is capable of producing up to 360 of the stealthy cruise missiles per year
The US Air Force (USAF) has approved full-rate production (FRP) for the Lockheed Martin AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range (JASSM-ER), the company announced on 15 December.

The USAF received the autonomous, stealthy cruise missile into its arsenal early this year following Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) flight testing in 2013. The low-rate initial production (LRIP) lots 11 and 12 of the JASSM contract awarded in December 2013 included 100 ER missiles; LRIP 13 and 14 are still being negotiated but are expected to include more than 100 ER missiles, company spokeswoman Melissa Hilliard told IHS Jane's . Lockheed Martin's production line can accommodate up to 360 missiles per year and is expected to begin doing so in 2017, she said.

JASSM-ER has more than two-and-a-half times the range of the baseline AGM-158A JASSM, meaning it can be launched from outside of defended airspace and the coverage of long-range surface-to-air missiles, and is intended for use against high-value, well-fortified, fixed and re-locatable targets. The baseline JASSM has a range in excess of 200 n miles, is powered by a Teledyne turbojet engine, and carries a WDU-42B (J-1000) 1,000-lb-class blast fragmentation/penetrating warhead. The JASSM-ER is powered by the Williams International F107-WR-105 turbofan engine, but is otherwise identical. It has a range of about 500 n miles.

Both variants use a combination of inertial navigation and GPS to navigate to the target area while allowing an infrared seeker to provide terminal homing. The infrared seeker allows the weapon to find its target even in areas where GPS signals are jammed.

The baseline JASSM is integrated on the Boeing (Rockwell) B-1, the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Boeing F-15E Eagle, and internationally, on the Royal Australian Air Force's Boeing F/A-18A/B Super Hornet. The JASSM-ER is integrated only on the B-1B Lancer, but there are efforts under way for F-15E, F-16, and B-52 integration.

COMMENT
As the Pentagon shifts emphasis from the Middle East to the Pacific, the JASSM-ER combined with the B-1 is seen as a crucial weapon for providing combatant commanders the ability to hold at risk targets behind sophisticated air defences from long ranges. The stealthy, supersonic B-1 will be able to carry up to 24 JASSM-ERs; twice the number of baseline JASSMs carried by the B-52. JASSM releases can be either mission planned against fixed targets or retargeted dynamically in flight with waypoints, a feature unique to the B-1.

USAF approves JASSM-ER FRP - IHS Jane's 360
 

Scorpion

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360 missile production per year is kind of a small number.
 

musicmonster

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Seeing news like this is making me a bit paranoid thinking a 3rd World War is about to happen soon enough. Countries are prepared with their stuff now.
 
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