AGM-158 JASSM Cruise Missiles: FY 2011 Orders
The 2,000 pound AGM-158 JASSM is intended to be a stealthy, inexpensive GPS/IIR (Global Positioning system/ Imaging InfraRed) guided cruise missile that lets American aircraft attack well-defended targets – without putting them in the crosshairs of new long-range surface to air missile systems. JASSM has experienced a rocky development history, due to long-standing reliability issues. In 2005 it was threatened with cancellation following a series of poor test results. The program went through 2007 on an ongoing roller coaster of ups and downs, and by May 2009 it appeared the program was facing cancellation once again.
A production hiatus did take place between Lot 7 and FY 2010’s Lot 8, but test results have allowed the USAF to move forward with FY 2011’s Lot 9 on schedule – including the 1st production orders for a new variant.
FY 2011 Contracts & Key Events
JASSM is currently integrated on B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers, and on F-16 and F/A-18 family fighters. Customers include the USA, Australia and the Netherlands. F-15E Strike Eagle integration is proceeding as planned. JASSM will be carried by the F-35, but it will have to be carried externally because it’s too large for the internal weapon bay.
The missile has several competitors, with MBDA’s Storm Shadow leading the pack. MBDA & Saab’s Taurus KEPD 350, Raytheon’s powered JSOW-ER, and Boeing’s AGM-84K SLAM-ER also represent sub-sonic cruise missiles with some level of stealth, and similar range to the base AGM-158. Norway’s NSM/JSM could add itself to that mix, and may fit inside the F-35. Russian designs, and derivatives like the Russo-Indian BrahMos, don’t emphasize stealth to the same degree, and aren’t really competitors in the same niche.
May 9/11: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $45.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to increase the Lot 9 Joint-Air-to-Surface-Missile buy by 75 AGM-158 baseline missiles. At this point, all funding has been committed by the AAC/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL (FA8682-11-C-0001, PO 002).
In their June 1/11 teleconference, Lockheed Martin personnel said that funding under the Continuing Resolution would have meant a low number of JASSMs produced (125, vs. the Troy, AL plant’s current maximum of 360). That would have upped the price per missile, due to manufacturing inefficiencies. Once a budget passed, the USAF stepped in to remedy that by raising the order to 200, out of a maximum of 391 possible under the Lot 9 authority.
This order brings the Lot 9 contract to $208.5 million for 200 missiles (170 AGM-158, 30 AGM-158B JASSM-ER), plus warranty and continued systems engineering work. The FY 2011 budget is for $238.5 million, which also include USAF costs for testing, etc. Lot 9 brings the contracted total over the years to more than 1,300 missiles. Lockheed Martin has assembled approximately 1,100 JASSMs for testing and operational use at its Troy, AL facility, towards its total objective of 4,900 missiles. The USAF’s objective reportedly sits at 3,700 missiles, but that could change. See also Orlando Sentinel.
April 4/11: Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando, FL receives a $162.7 million firm fixed price Lot 9 production contract for approximately 95 JASSM and 30 JASSM-ER missiles, which also includes warranty, systems engineering, and test support.
The AGM-158B JASSM-ER maintains the same mold line and size, but substitutes a Williams International tubofan for the baseline JASSM’s Teledyne turbojet, and adds extra fuel within the missile body, without dropping payload or electronics capabilities. The result is an extension of the missile’s range from “over 200 nm” to “over 500 nm”. Its inclusion follows the Defense Acquisition Board’s January 2011 Milestone C authorization go-ahead. Testing will continue in 2011, and JASSM-ER LRIP-1 production will begin in Q3 2012.
According to Lockheed Martin personnel, some of the JASSM “systems engineering” efforts underway include reliability & producibility upgrades for the current fuze, as they try to automate some of the steps in its rather involved manufacturing. A new fuze type has been discussed, but isn’t funded in Lot 9. Lockheed Martin also acknowledged USAF interest in modifying JASSM to strike ships within the near future, though the approach for that is not set yet. Raytheon’s AGM-154C-1 JSOW Block III glide bomb has already made this transition for the Navy.
Officially, work will be performed at Orlando, FL, which is HQ for the firm’s Missiles and Fire Control division. In practice, the missiles are assembled at the firm’s Troy, AL facility, though about 135 Orlando jobs are tied to JASSM work, along with more than 2 dozen jobs at Lockheed Martin’s military electronics plant in Ocala, FL. The AAC/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, manages this contract (FA8682-11-C-0001).
January 2011: JASSM-ER Milestone C/LRIP. The US Defense Acquisition Board issues Milestone C authorization go-ahead for JASSM-ER to,allowing it to proceed into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), after the missile went 10 for 11 (91%, goal 80%) against a variety of targets and mission objectives. Source.
Dec 22/09: The USAF issues FedBizOpps pre-solicitation #FA8682-11-C-0001, “JASSM Lot 9 Production”:
“The 308th Armament Systems Group plans to award a sole source contract to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control-Orlando… The proposed contract covers JASSM production Lot 9 for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) , FMS, and/or Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) systems. Also included are Systems Engineering, Telemetry Instrumentation Kits (TIKs); Operational Safety, Suitability and Effectiveness (OSS&E). The Lot 9 quantity of up to 391 units will be authorized in first or second quarter of fiscal year 2011… Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando FL is the only known source to meet the government’s requirement under the SPS… Direct any questions to 676 ARSS, Attn: Bridget Smith, Contracting Officer, 205 West D Ave Ste 632, Eglin AFB, FL…”