JASSM / JASSM ER (AGM-158A/B)

The JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a conventional, stealthy, air-launched ground attack cruise missile designed for the U.S. Air Force and international partners. An extended range version, AGM-158B JASSM-ER, was developed alongside the standard variant, and went into service in 2014.1

JASSM At a Glance

Originated From: United States
Possessed By: United States, Australia, Finland, Poland
Class: Cruise Missile
Basing: Air-launched
Length: 4.27 m
Wingspan: 2.4 m
Launch Weight: 1,021 kg
Warhead: 450 kg WDU-42/B penetrator
Propulsion: Turbojet (AGM-158A), Turbofan (AGM-158B)
Range: 370 km (AGM-158A), 1,000 km (AGM-158B)
Status: Operational
In Service: 2009-Present

prithvi JASSM utilizes a low-observable airframe designed to defeat various targets, to include enemy air defenses. The missile’s low-profile airframe is particularly important given the proliferation of sophisticated air defenses such as the S-300 (and newer variants). The JASSM-ER will eventually incorporate a weapons data link (WDL) into the missile allowing for course corrections after launch.2 This is a critical upgrade for road-mobile and maritime targets.

The missile is fitted to the B-1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52H Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, and possibly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The B-1B is considered the starting point platform, and can carry 24 missiles, and is currently the only one equipped with JASSM-ER.3 The B-2 can carry up to 16 missiles and the B-52H can carry 12 internally on rotary launchers. Fighter aircraft can carry one or two missiles under each wing. The F-35, if certified to carry the JASSM, would have to carry the weapon externally, because the missile would not fit in the main internal weapon bays the aircraft boasts.4

The standard variant has a range of 370 km, whereas the JASSM-ER has a range of approximately 1,000 km. Their airframes are identical, so the weapons cannot be distinguished merely by appearance. The primary differences lie in a larger internal fuel tank, and a more efficient turbofan engine.5 The airframe itself can be described as angular, similar to the Taurus KEPD 350, although more rounded and fluid. When the missile is carried by aircraft, the fins and wings are folded, and then unfolded by small explosive charges after released.6

Both variants are 4.26 m long, 550 mm in body width, 450 mm in height, 2.7 m in extended wingspan, and 1,023 kg in launch weight. The JASSM carries a 432 kg class WDU-42/B penetration and blast fragmentation type warhead.7 The JASSM is powered by a turbojet engine, while the ER variant is powered by a turbofan engine.8 The missile is guided by INS/GPS unit developed for the JDAM and JSOW bombs, and also a IR seeker for terminal guidance. It also incorporates three-dimensional targeting models of the intended targets, of which eight can be stored in each missile. The Air Force indicates that the missile is accurate within 3 m CEP.9

The manufacturing and production started in 1998 and it was certified to be operational in 2003.10 The JASSM-ER was first tested in 2006, with the first lot of missiles being delivered to the warfighter in March 2014.11 As of September 2016, 2,000 JASSM’s had been delivered to the U.S. Air Force. Internationally, Poland, Finland, Australia, are on contract to deploy JASSM onto their fighter aircraft.12


Sources

  1. “Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile,” Selected Acquisition Report, Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval, U.S. Department of Defense, April 16, 2014, http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/Reading_Room/Selected_Acquisition_Reports/14-F-0402_DOC_38_JAASMDecember2013SAR.PDF
  2. “AGM-158 (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile), United States of America,” Air Force Technology, http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/agm-158-jassm-standoff-missile/
  3. “AGM-158: Lockheed’s Family of Stealthy Cruise Missiles,” Defense Industry Daily, September 8, 2016, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/agm-158-jassm-lockheeds-family-of-stealthy-cruise-missiles-014343/
  4. Ibid.
  5. “AGM-158,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 214-216.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. “AGM-158 (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile), United States of America,” Air Force Technology, http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/agm-158-jassm-standoff-missile/
  9. “AGM-158,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 214-216.
  10. “AGM-158 (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile), United States of America,” Air Force Technology, http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/agm-158-jassm-standoff-missile/
  11. “Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile,” Selected Acquisition Report, Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval, U.S. Department of Defense, April 16, 2014, http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/Reading_Room/Selected_Acquisition_Reports/14-F-0402_DOC_38_JAASMDecember2013SAR.PDF
  12. “AGM-158: Lockheed’s Family of Stealthy Cruise Missiles,” Defense Industry Daily, September 8, 2016, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/agm-158-jassm-lockheeds-family-of-stealthy-cruise-missiles-014343/
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