Lockheed Martin completed the first flight test of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) after a two-year hiatus caused by reliability problems with the baseline missile programme.
Conducted at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on 24 September, the test shot demonstrated only the second maximum-range attempt for the more than 925km (500nm)-range missile, says US Air Force Col Steve Demers, commander of the service's 308th Armament Systems Group.
The test validated hardware and software changes required by the baseline JASSM programme's reliability programme. The revised configuration includes new wing molds and the Joint Advanced GPS Receiver (JAGR), which also includes a selective-availability anti-spoofing module. The test clears the JASSM-ER programme to resume a two-year series of development and operational tests ahead of a production start in fiscal year 2010.
The USAF recertificated the programme earlier this year after reliability glitches that resulted in a 58% success rate in flight tests prompted the Department of Defense to consider terminating the contract.
The JASSM-ER integrates a Williams International turbofan engine and expanded fuel tanks, more than doubling the range of the baseline missile. "JASSM's penetrating and blast/[fragmentation] warhead in a long-range package is a unique capability in the DoD inventory, combined with its precision," Demers says.