USA Issues JSOW Block III Production Contracts
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.
Contracts & Key Events
Note that other JSOW contracts have been issued within this time period. If they weren’t American contracts related to the Block III version, however, they’re not covered here.
Unless the entry says otherwise, Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ is the contractor, and all contracts are managed by US Naval Air Systems Command.
FY 2014 – 2017
October 18/17: The US Navy has declared the network-enabled AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 fully operational, with all US Super Hornet squadrons now fitted with the air-to-ground weapon, giving them the ability to attack stationary land and moving maritime targets. Since receiving initial operational capability (IOC) in 2016, the program team has participated in a series of four fleet-wide exercises—RIMPAC 2016, Valiant Shield 2016 SINKEX, Northern Edge 2017, and Talisman Sabre 2017— that demonstrated the capabilities of the weapon in increasingly complex scenarios. This latest JSOW variant includes GPS/INS guidance, terminal IR seeker and a Link 16 weapon data link.
June 24/16: The Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 has been delivered to the US Navy for operational use after the munition cleared the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) stage earlier this month. This newest iteration of JSOW is integrated with a Link 16 network radio, enabling the weapon to engage moving targets at sea. The radio allows the launch aircraft or another designated controller to provide real-time target updates to the weapon, reassign it to another target, or to abort the mission.
February 19/16: Raytheon and the US Navy have successfully commenced operational testing of the new Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW C-1) at China Lake. The AGM-154 Block III upgrade incorporates a new Link-16 weapon data link and a moving maritime target capability. This was the eighth successful test for the air-to-surface missile after seven deployments in the developmental and integration test phases. The latest test has been described by Raytheon as “a challenging battlefield scenario [which] included a well-defended target that used tactical countermeasures.” Once the free flight operational testing is complete, the JSOW C-1 will be released for full use by the Navy.
Dec 20/13: FRP-10. An $80.5 million contract modification exercises an option for 200 full rate production Lot 10 AGM-154C-1 JSOW unitary weapons, and a single AGM-154C-1 for a performance characterization test. All funds are committed immediately from US Navy FY 2014 weapon budgets.
Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%); and McAlester, OK (10%), and is expected to be complete in August 2016 (N00019-13-C-0011).
FY 2014: 200
Dec 17/13: ANAO Report. Australia’s National Audit Office releases their 2012-13 Major Projects Report, which includes some interesting notes concerning the JSOW-C1. Australia had to place an interim buy of AGM-154Cs in time for the Super Hornet’s planned December 2010 Initial Operating Capability, but they won’t accept the JSOW-C1s and their moving target capability until February 2016. Why?
“The JSOW C-1 has been affected by software integration issues leading to an impact on Australian Super Hornet capability. The USN has slipped the integration of the JSOW C-1 into the next build of software for the Super Hornet…. The JSOW C-1 FOT&E test event in September 2014 has been affected by the integration issues with the software build leading to [test cancelation and] an impact on Materiel Release of the JSOW C-1.”
“There is [also] a chance that USN/Raytheon have insufficient Telemetry Instrumentation Kits (TIK) to support Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) and Raise Train Sustain firings of JSOW C/C-1.”
Oct 27/13: Testing. At the US Navy’s Trident Warrior 2013 demonstration, Super Hornet fighters simulated the launch of an AGM-154C-1 JSOW precision glide bomb, while the E-2D directed the imaginary weapon toward the positively identified target and received status updates from the “weapon.”
It mirrors a 2009 simulation involving a JSOW C-1 with a Navy P-3 Orion and USAF E-8C JSTARS battlefield surveillance aircraft. Sources: Raytheon, Oct 27/13 release.
FY 2011 – 2013
OT&E: weapon’s great but the UI sucks; F/A-18 Super Hornet integration contracts and testing; Australia commits to JSOW for its Super Hornets and F-35As.
June 5/13: FRP-9. An $80.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 200 full rate production Lot 9 AGM-154C-1 JSOWs, including associated support equipment, plus 1 more AGM-154C-1 for testing.
Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%); and McAllester, OK (10%), and is expected to be complete in July 2015. All funds are committed immediately. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-13-C-0011).
FY 2013: 200
May 16/13: Australia. During Parliamentary hearings by Australia’s Joint Committee On Foreign Affairs, Defence And Trade, DMO’s New Air Combat Capability program manager, Air Vice Marshal Kym Osley, discusses the JSM and Australia, in response to a question from Sen. Fawcett. With Norway’s government fully finding the missile through F-35 integration in Block 4, Australia doesn’t need to be involved in that financially, and they haven’t made any commitments to JSM yet beyond discussing requirements etc.
Australia’s near-term plan is to use the AGM-154C-1 JSOW glide bomb as their initial maritime strike weapon, first on their F/A-18F Super Hornets and next on their F-35As. They believe that the USAF and US Navy will also make JSOW part of F-35 Block 4, which is planned to finish in 2020 and release to the fleet in 2021. F-35 software development remains very behind, but Australia hopes to have JSOW available on their F-35As by the RAAF’s own planned F-35A Full Operational Capability date, in 2023. Beyond 2023, Australia’s JP3023 program will be looking at a new maritime strike platform for use across its navy surface combatants and air force (F/A-18F, F-35A, P-8A). Hansard Australia [PDF].
April 26/13: Super Hornet. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $12.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to integrate the new AGM-154C-1 JSOW into the F/A-18E/F aircraft’s H10E Operational Flight Program (core operating system) software.
Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete in February 2015. $7.7 million in FY 2013 Navy Weapons Procurement funds are committed immediately, with the rest available as needed. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-10-G-0006, #2002).
Jan 22/13: Testing. Raytheon touts another pair of successful AGM-154C-1 integrated tests, this time against stationary targets with operationally realistic infrared and radio frequency countermeasures. Previous testing in the integrated test phase demonstrated JSOW C-1’s capability against 2 moving maritime targets, and those were also direct hits.
Jan 17/13: DOT&E report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The JSOW C-1 is included. Short version: the report is very complimentary about the weapon’s accuracy, but says that it isn’t ready for prime time.
Without being more specific, they say that reliability is well below specifications, largely because of software-driven problems. The software is also really poor as an interface for the pilot, “excessively complicated and could prevent successful mission execution.” Raytheon plans to update the software, but once it does, some of the previous integrated test data won’t be valid any more.
The program is headed for an Operational Test Readiness Review (OTRR) in Q2 FY 2013.
Testers not happy
Aug 21/12: Testing. Raytheon discusses the AGM-154C-1’s initial integration test using US Navy Super Hornets. The test presented 2 maneuvering ship targets, and involved a handoff from one fighter to another, followed by a successful retargeting from the smaller ship to the larger ship.
The firm says that the program remains on track for reaching initial operational capability in 2013.
Dec 19/11: FRP-8. An $84.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 226 more AGM-154C-1 JSOW glide bomb all-up rounds (in storage containers) with unitary warheads, including associated support equipment. This is full rate production Lot 8.
Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%); and McAllester, OK (10%), and is expected to be complete in June 2014 (N00019-11-C-0032).
FY 2012: 226
July 28/11: FRP-7. An $85.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 225 full rate production, Lot 7 AGM-154C-1 JSOW glide bombs with unitary warheads, including associated support equipment, and 1 AGM-154C-1 for performance characterization testing. The production lots involve all variants of JSOW, but new production lots have the Block III as the default version.
Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%); and McAllester, OK (10%), and is expected to be complete in June 2013. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-11-C-0032).
FY 2011: 225
Oct 15/10: US NAVAIR PMA-201 accepts an initial 11 JSOW-C1 production rounds. The JSOW-C1 is assembled at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK, and will be sent to the fleet once operational testing of its moving target capabilities is complete, in early 2013.
NAVAIR adds that the C1/Block III variant was “recently” tested during a 3-day Joint Surface Warfare Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, where the weapon was used in conjunction with an E-8C JSTARS ground surveillance aircraft, 2 F/A-18 Hornets, and 2 instrumented target ships. So far, about 3,500 JSOWs have been delivered to the fleet since 1998, with more than 400 used in combat. US NAVAIR.
FY 2007 – 2010
From development to full rate production; F/A-18 Super Hornet captive test.
March 26/10: FRP-6. A $101.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-07-C-0093) for 313 full rate production Lot 6 (FRP-6) AGM-154C-1 Unitary Joint Stand-Off Weapon missiles, including associated support equipment. In addition, this modification provides for one extra AGM-154C-1, which will be used for performance characterization testing.
Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%); and McAllester, OK (10%), and is expected to be complete in March 2012.
FY 2010: 333
March 4/10: Testing. Raytheon’s AGM-154C-1 JSOW Block III glide bomb hit a milestone by completing its first captive-flight test on an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter, and demonstrating Link 16 compatibility. NAVAIR | Raytheon release.
Super Hornet flight
Feb 15/10: Testing. Raytheon announces that its AGM-154C-1’s Strike Common Weapon Datalink (SCWDL) communicated via Link-16 nodes with a Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft. The test demonstrated the weapon’s ability to function as a node on the network and moved the system one step closer to engaging moving maritime targets. The test was part of the Navy’s Joint Surface Warfare Joint Capability Technology Demonstration.
Feb 1/10: FY 2010 budget. The Pentagon releases its FY 2011 budget request. The USAF stopped participating in JSOW in 2005, but the US Navy continues.
The FY 2010 budget is $152.2 million (incl. $10 million RDT&E) for 357 weapons. The FY 2011 request is a slight procurement drop-off, to $143.9 million (incl. $12.9 million RDT&E) for 333 JSOW unitary glide bombs.
March 13/09: FRP-5. A $106.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-07-C-0093) for Full Rate Production of 280 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) unitary warhead AGM-154C-1s, plus 1 additional unit for performance characterization testing. Work will be performed in Dallas, TX (44%); Cedar Rapids, IA (24%); Tucson, AZ (22%), and McAllester, OK (10%), and is expected to be completed in March 2011.
The FY 2009 budget of up to $164.9 million covers 280 weapons, and includes $21.8 million in RDT&E finding.
FY 2009: 280
Dec 19/08: Testing. A $17.9 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract for the special tooling and special test equipment required to maintain Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOW-C) production rate requirements, and to support the transition to production readiness activities for the AGM-154C-1 Variant.
Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete in March 2010 (N00019-07-C-0093).
Sept 19/07: Datalink. Rockwell Collins announces an $18 million contract by Raytheon Missile Systems to design, develop, and produce the Strike Common Weapon Data Link for the JSOW Block III precision glide bomb and the next generation of Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Strike Common Weapon Data Link Program is ultimately sponsored by the U.S. Navy’s PMA-201 program management office.
The 2-way, anti-jam, dual waveform (UHF and Link 16) datalink will add the ability to provide target updates from the launcher to the weapon or vice-versa, retarget the weapon while in flight, abort if desired, and provide bomb hit indication (BHI).
March 8/07: Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $93.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued broad basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0008), that covers multiple systems. This order will be used for the Joint Standoff Weapon AGM-154C-1 Block III Network Enabled Weapon Moving Target Capability and Seeker Obsolescence Redesign. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be complete in July 2009. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
Efforts under this delivery order will include the design, development, integration, test and delivery of an AGM-154C-1 network enabled weapon moving target capability and qualification and production of a replacement for the obsolete seeker processor and detector components (Phase I). In addition, this order provides for delivery of a validated engineering change proposal (Phase II). See also Raytheon release.
JSOW C1 development