As a Raytheon/Boeing team seeks to capture the joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) contract, the team's first guided test vehicle launch struck a fixed target board "dead centre" from a 16km (8.6nm) range.
The self-funded, 2 April test demonstrated the Raytheon tri-mode seeker's ability to acquire and remain locked-on to the 1.2 x 2.4m (4 x 8ft) target board as the missile body pitches over at maximum altitude, says Mike Riley, Raytheon's JAGM programme manager.
The guided test vehicle used a semi-active laser to lock-on to an illuminated spot on the target board. The seeker also includes an imaging infrared camera and millimetre-wave radar, but relied on only the laser mode to maintain lock in the first test launch, Riley says.
The Raytheon/Boeing team is competing with Lockheed Martin for the JAGM contract to replace thousands of Lockheed AGM-114 Hellfire and Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick missiles fired from both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
JAGM intends to introduce a tri-mode seeker in the regular US Army and US Marine Corps munition inventory, as well as doubling the striking range of helicopters now equipped with Hellfire missiles to 16km.
Contract award for JAGM is expected in December 2010.