Congress Suggests JASSM-ER Bulk Buy

Lawmakers want the Air Force to study whether it could buy multiple years’ worth of Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range at once to save money. The service looks to boost that stockpile for potential conflict with faraway and advanced enemies like Russia and China.

By the end of March 2020, the Air Force secretary should tell Congress whether multi-year contracts are feasible starting in fiscal 2022 and how that would affect the defense industrial base as well as the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile program, a Navy and USAF variant based on JASSM.

“The report requires the Air Force to examine multi-year contract scenarios, including one that is an annual quantity of 550 missiles for five years,” according to the joint fiscal 2020 defense policy bill.

Authorizers also want to know how such a contract would affect the Air Force’s ability to upgrade the JASSM-ER. The provision carries over from the Senate’s draft National Defense Authorization Act.

“The Air Force quantity requirement for the JASSM-ER has recently increased and that procurement utilizing multi-year contracts versus annual contracts could provide significant cost savings,” documents accompanying the legislation state.

Appropriators are giving the Air Force $483.4 million to buy JASSMs in 2020. The service asked for 430 units this fiscal year, and plans to buy as many as 10,000 missiles over the life of the program.