While I don't usually cover the military beat, I find myself at Eglin Air Force base in Florida today, covering a variety of topics including CV-22 and F-35 simulators -- and missiles -- as part of a Lockheed Martin sponsored media blitz on the panhandle.
We learned that the big brother of the standard JASSM (Joint air-to-surface standoff missile) , of which there are more than 1,000 in the field (for several fighters and the B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers) and which have not yet been called upon for bunker-bursting duty, could be finished with testing and deployed to the field in mid-2013.
The JASSM ER (extended range) has a 500nm range, up from 200nm with the standard unit. It's a bit longer and weighs more, but is 70% common with the existing unit with respect to hardware and 95% common in software.
The Air Force just today gave us a video of the ER going about its business on six test flights on the B-1 to date. A series of five more shots are slated for this summer, with another 16 on tap as part of the test program that could see a military decision to buy by year's end, with deployment to the troops 2.5 years later, after a great deal of testing and evaluation.
When this baby hits, there's no need for an ER (emergency room)....Enjoy!