Successful JASSM-ER Shot

Lockheed Martin and Air Force officials confirmed Wednesday that an extended-range variant of the joint air-to-surface standoff missile performed well in a recent flight test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. A B-1B bomber launched the JASSM-ER during the Sept. 24 test and the missile flew to its maximum range of about 500 nautical miles, Col. Steve Demers, head of the 308th Armament Systems Group at Eglin AFB, Fla., and USAF’s JASSM program manager, told reporters during a teleconference. During its flight, the missile successfully navigated through a preplanned route and then struck its intended target, Lockheed Martin said in its release Oct. 22. The test was the fourth flight of a JASSM-ER, which has about twice the range of the baseline JASSM model. All four of these tests have been successful, according to the company. The objectives of the Sept. 24 flight were to validate new hardware and software in the extended-range variant, including new wing molds and a component called the JAGR-S, which is an advanced Global Positioning System receiver that has anti-jamming capabilities, explained Lockheed Martin program director Alan Jackson. Demers said the missile was not exercised during this test in an environment where the GPS signal was disrupted. However, the performance of JAGR-S was tested in a GPS-jammed environment during the Sept. 18 flight of a baseline JASSM. The extended-range design leverages improvements, such as enhanced GSP guidance, that were incorporated into the baseline missile during the program’s recertification process to overcome performance deficiencies. The Air Force anticipates a production decision for JASSM-ER sometime in 2010, with deliveries of the weapon to commence in 2011. Demers said 21 operational test shots are planned for JASSM-ER.