JASSM on the Chopping Block Again

Just when program officials must have thought the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile’s problems were over, the program once again is in a do or die situation. The Fiscal 2010 defense budget contains no new JASSM production money, but defense officials said the program isn’t canceled, yet, because it is urgently needed. However, JASSM’s survival likely depends on evidence during this summer’s testing that technical troubles have been resolved. According to a Reuters report, David Van Buren, acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition told reporters last week, “I think that if this next round of missiles does not perform well, that it will not be positive for the program.” Just a year ago, the Pentagon recertified JASSM after a Nunn-McCurdy breach. And, Air Force and industry program officials last fall completed an in-depth review of the program from its supplier base to testing practices.