The US Air Force (USAF) has conducted a captive carriage exercise with a joint air-to-surface standoff missile-extended range (JASSM-ER) at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas, US.
Carried out by the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron (337th TES) personnel, the testing was aimed at verifying the weapon’s ability to maintain functionality after logging approximately 100 total flight hours over several sorties with one single missile.
The 100-hour requirement was requested by the Undersecretary of Defense’s office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, following successful completion of the missile’s operational testing in November 2012.
JASSM test director Kenneth Bandy said the purpose of the captive carry effort was to complete the captive demonstration, followed by an employment of the missile during a future test mission.
”This will prove that the missile’s system design is adequate to satisfy the operational carriage requirements," Bandy said.
The 337th TES had already completed captive carriage testing extending to more than 300 hours during initial operational testing and evaluation, but used 21 missiles, each carried for not more than 30 hours.
A long-range version of the baseline JASSM missile, the AGM-158B JASSM-ER features a new engine and greater fuel load capability, and can also function in heavily degraded GPS environments.
The autonomous, long-range, air-to-ground, precision missile is solely employed by the US Air Force’s (USAF) B-1B Lancer, unlike the AGM-158A JASSM, which is mounted on the service’s four additional fighters and bombers.
Commenting on missile, Bandy said the JASSM-ER’s stealth design allows it to survive through high-threat, well-defended enemy airspace.
”While, the other long-range weapons may have the capability of reaching targets within the same range, they are not as survivable as the low observable JASSM-ER,” Bandy added.
”The B-1’s effectiveness is increased because high-priority targets deep into heavily defended areas are now vulnerable."
Image: A USAF personnel receives a joint air-to-surface standoff missile-extended range (JASSM-ER) at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, US. Photo: courtesy of USAF Senior Airman Peter Thompson.