Members of the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess AFB, Tex., are scheduled to conduct the final operational flight test of the JASSM-ER cruise missile aboard a B-1 bomber on Aug. 30. This upcoming test of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range will be a “significant step” toward the missile’s operational employment, according to an Aug. 7 Dyess release. Initial fielding is slated for next year, states the release. “As we shift our emphasis from the Middle East to the Pacific, as heavily defended as that region is, the JASSM, combined with the B-1, presents a top choice for combatant commanders,” said Capt. Philip Atkinson of the 337th TES. The B-1 is the first aircraft married with JASSM-ER. It already is cleared to carry the JASSM baseline missile, as are B-2s, B-52s, F-15Es, and F-16s. B-1s can carry 24 JASSMs, twice as many as the B-52. The extended-range JASSM variant has a reach of more than 500 nautical miles compared to the 200 nautical mile range of the baseline version.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.