The US Air Force (USAF) has taken delivery of the first production lot of joint air-to-surface standoff missile extended range (JASSM-ER) missiles from the Armament Directorate at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, US.
The missile was jointly developed, tested and fielded by the JASSM Program Office and contractor partner, Lockheed Martin Missile Fire and Control.
Fielding began in April after nine years of testing,
Major general Scott Jansson said, "The initial delivery of the extended range variant of JASSM gives the combatant commander the ability to reach far deeper into contested areas with lethal precision."
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 USAF B-1B Lancer bomber, unlike the AGM-158A JASSM, which is mounted on the service’s four additional fighters and bombers.
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JASSM test and integration director Kenneth Bandy said JASSM-ER delivers a revolutionary capability resulting from close collaboration between the end item user, acquisition community and contractor team to the warfighter.
"JASSM can neutralise (targets) while keeping our nation’s combat aircrews safely outside the range of threats," Bandy said.
Efforts are underway to integrate the missile onto other aircraft, including the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and B-52 Stratofortress.
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.
Image: A USAF B-1 Lancer launches a joint air-to-surface standoff missile extended range missile. Photo: courtesy of the US Department of Defense.