Lockheed Martin’s Joint Common Missile (JCM) programme has won several victories in its six-month campaign to survive a threat of termination.

US House appropriators have approved a measure that would restore about half the funding the programme would have received next year. The $50 million add-on to the fiscal year 2006 budget now must be approved by the US Senate, where Lockheed have powerful allies in the Alabama delegation, the home state for JCM production.

The JCM was one of the key programmes proposed for termination last January by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose staff has criticised JCM as a redundant anti-tank capability. Some officials also expressed concern about the maturity and cost of the weapon’s tri-mode seeker. However, the House panel’s report on the budget called Rumsfeld’s decision on JCM “counter-intuitive” given that the weapon had been approved through the Department of Defense’s joint review process.

The JCM programme has also built a track record of success in the months since the termination proposal was announced. Lockheed has validated several key technologies, with the weapon’s 16km (8.6nm)-range rocket motor successfully tested two weeks ago. The programme is also on track, with its preliminary design review expected to close last week, says Lockheed JCM programme manager Rick Edwards.

In addition to the potential $50 million add-on proposed by the House, the programme has millions in surplus after several initiatives were halted this year due to the termination threat, says Edwards.

Source: Flight International