In March 2007, Raytheon received a contract to develop the AGM-154C-1 variant of the popular JSOW glide bomb family. This new version would add moving target capability via improved imaging infrared seekers, better seeker algorithms, and a 2-way Link-16 data link. That combination allows the missile to be used as a secondary weapon against enemy ships, with some capability against certain moving land targets. The 2-way link ensures that targeting commands can be received, and missile status and position transmitted back, right up to the moment of impact. Most of those options are currently found only at the high end of the cruise missile market, giving the AGM-154C-1 an interesting positioning as a cheaper short-range alternative.
That development effort was successful, and in late 2008, the US DoD gave the go-ahead for JSOW Block III, which will be integrated on US Navy F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and on the F-35 Lightning II. Now, the JSOW Block III system is the default version under the US Navy’s full rate production contract.