Staying on Course

The Air Force says the flight test of its JASSM cruise missile from a B-52 bomber on Dec. 20, 2007 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., went well. The exercise, the second of three planned Product Upgrade Verification flights was meant to prove out some hardware and software tweaks aimed at resolving the issue of GPS dropout that plagued the missile in three flight tests last April. “The test appears to be an unqualified success as the missile separation, control surface deployment, transition to stable flight, and engine start occurred nominally,” USAF’s acquisition office tells the Daily Report. “GPS acquisition occurred on the expected timelines, overall navigation performance appeared nominal, and no GPS dropouts were noted.” Further, it said, “Accuracy against the target appears to have been spot on, and the impact resulted in a high order detonation.” Lockheed Martin will analyze the data further at its missile facility in Orlando, Fla. An additional test objective, the Air Force says, was to demonstrate an updated operational flight program for the missile in preparation for the Characterization Flight Test program that is scheduled to start next month.