Lengthy Testing

Lockheed Martin announced yesterday that it has received a $23 million contract to supply the Air Force with 12 extended-range JASSM cruise missiles for use in upcoming flight tests. Six of the missiles will be used to complete JASSM-ER’s developmental test flight program, while the remaining six will be flown in operational tests, the company said. A B-1B bomber will fire the missiles in these tests against a series of tactical targets, according to Lockheed. “These tests will demonstrate the maturity of the JASSM-ER design” and support a decision on whether to move this JASSM variant into low-rate production, said Alan Jackson, Lockheed’s JASSM and JASSM-ER program director. JASSM-ER has about two-and-a-half times the range of the baseline JASSM missile, which reportedly has a reach of about 200 nautical miles. Lockheed says JASSM-ER has a 100 percent success rate in its four developmental flight tests to date. However, as we reported last week, Bloomberg news wire service confirmed with USAF that the service had put the JASSM program on notice that future buys of the baseline missile would be derailed if reliability issues with it are not overcome.