JASSM - Strength from a Distance

JASSM - Strength from a Distance
October 01, 2020
By the time the B-1 bombers were in position to fire, the F-22 Raptors had already done their job, picking off enemy radar and air defense missile systems. F-16s had followed, engaging in fierce air-to-air combat with enemy fighters.

But the B-1 safely kept its distance, free from any trace of enemy fire. Then, with the push of a button, the B-1 simulated the release of its Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM), designed to drop out of the sky like a bomb, sprout wings and then race to their appointed target with pinpoint accuracy from more than 200 nautical miles away.

Target found. Target leveled. Enemy neutralized. The precision of JASSM effectively brings an end to an Air Force training run, dubbed Operation Chimichanga, over the skies of Alaska on April 4, 2012. The future gold standard for long-range missiles had been tested and passed with thundering success.

Strength from a Distance

The aim of the JASSM program, initially contracted to Lockheed Martin by the Air Force and Navy in 1998, was to develop a long-range cruise missile capable of being deployed against heavily defended targets without putting aircrews at risk.

Lockheed Martin’s answer was a missile that blended stealth and precision. Versatile enough to be deployed from a host of airplanes, from B-1s, B-2s and B-52s to F-15s, F-16s and F/A-18s, a JASSM cruises to its target autonomously. Its stealthy airframe eludes air defenses while an infrared seeker and anti-jam GPS guides the weapon to its target, delivering a powerful 1,000-pound warhead with unparalleled precision.

Long Range Firepower

While undergoing reliability tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico from September 10-October 4, 2009, baseline JASSMs successfully completed 15 of 16 flights.  Integration testing for its extended range version which can accurately reach targets greater than 500 nautical miles away, proved 10 of 11, paving the way for a low rate initial production decision, and entering into Operational Flight Tests.