Raytheon is working to modify the new AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) to better integrate the precision-guided munition with the US Air Force's Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter after the discovery of excessive wear on the tail resulting from extreme buffet.

The problem is confined to the F-16 and does not affect the carriage of JSOW by other platforms such as the US Navy's BoeingF/A-18C/D Hornet. Buffet is at its worst with the JSOW mounted on one of the F-16's outboard pylons and with fuel tanks mounted on the inboard stations.

"This environment is much harsher than we had anticipated. It affects the control section at the rear of the missile. We are working on a fix to be incorporated into JSOW from the third full-rate production batch onwards," says Steve Larson, Raytheon JSOW business development manager.

Raytheon has identified two design changes to the low-cost control section, which will undergo a critical design review in April and will be incorporated into munitions delivered in 18 months. The new design will be made common on all versions of the weapon, including JSOW-A, now in full-rate production for the USN and US Air Force, and JSOW-B, awaiting low- rate initial production approval.

The changes will also be common to the BAE Systems, Broach- armed JSOW-C version, which the USN plans to acquire. The USAF is believed to be interested in this hard target version of the weapon.

Broach is being developed by BAE Systems' Royal Ordnance subsidiary for JSOW-C and the France/UK MBDA Scalp EG/Storm Shadow stand-off weapon. RO managing director Clive Richardson says BAE is almost certain to establish a US supply chain for the warhead. "The question is can we establish a US source at the right cost."

Source: Flight International