JASSM-ER missile

The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully completed the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) programme of the Lockheed Martin-built joint air-to-surface standoff missile (JASSM-ER) extended range at an undisclosed location.

Comprising 21 test flights, the IOT&E programme was aimed at evaluating full operational capability for the B-1B/JASSM-ER weapon system against a broad spectrum of operationally representative targets at the full range of release conditions.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control long-range strike systems programme manager Dave Melvin said the test flight highlights the operational effectiveness, suitability and mission capability of the JASSM-ER system.

”The successful completion of the testing program was the final milestone before a planned full-rate production decision, expected later in 2013,” Melvin added.

The IOT&E testing follows several JASSM programme milestones, including completion of Lot 6 baseline missile reliability assessment testing in February, receipt of the letter of offer and acceptance from Finland for JASSM integration onto its F/A-18 C/D Hornet, as well as Lot 10 contract award from USAF, and installation on its F-15E Eagle fleet.

A long-range version of the baseline JASSM missile, the JASSM-ER features a new engine and greater fuel load capability, and is also able to function in heavily degraded GPS environments.

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Equipped with an infrared seeker and a GPS receiver to aim specific targets, the JASSM is a 2,000lb autonomous, long-range, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile, designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and re-locatable targets in the battlefield.

Currently installed aboard the USAF’s F-15E, B-1, B-2, B-52, F-16 aircraft, the missile is also certified for use on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter fleet.

More than 1,200 JASSMs have been manufactured by Lockheed to date, at its manufacturing facility in Alabama, US, for testing and operational use with a total objective of 4,900 missiles.

Image: A USAF B-1 Lancer launches a JASSM-ER missile during operational testing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, US. Photo: Courtesy of the US Air Force.

Defence Technology