Raytheon is discussing co-development of a powered version of the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon with Dutch aerospace firm Stork Fokker, with the cruise missile design to offer a range of 555km (300nm).

The US company has launched the JSOW-ER programme without a launch order, but hopes the maritime and land attack weapon will attract domestic and foreign customers. The missile will have a unit cost of $350,000, excluding development charges.

Stork Fokker is holding "initial licensing discussions", although the nature of its role is not yet determined, says John O'Brien, Raytheon's JSOW programme director.

The new weapon is an outgrowth of the baseline JSOW missile that has sold 2,500 copies to the USN and 500 to the US Air Force, although the latter has dropped out of the programme.

The proposed cruise missile development retains the same dimensions and about 475kg (1,050lb) weight as the unpowered weapon, but adds a Hamilton Sundstrand TJ150 turbojet engine, flush inlet, exhaust cone and fuel.

Each added pound of weight must be offset with equal reductions elsewhere in the weapon. Raytheon has not settled on a firm configuration for JSOW-ER, but a priority is to keep the same amount of high-energy explosive fill in its blast/fragmentation-penetrator warhead, says O'Brien.

Hamilton Sundstrand has conducted two ground tests of the TJ150 - the same engine that powers Raytheon's Miniature Air-Launched Decoy. Those results, plus forthcoming ground tests, will help the manufacturer determine the new weapon's weight and thrust requirements to meet range goals.

The JSOW-ER also remains Raytheon's official alternative to the USAF's troubled Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense last year invited competitors to propose alternatives in case technical glitches forced the project to be cancelled. Lockheed has subsequently completed several successful JASSM tests, but the weapon's fate will remain undecided until at least April.

Source: FlightGlobal.com