Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Faces Tough Tests


Contributed by Aviation Week's Aerospace Daily and Defense Report

The next significant air-launched weapons battle is about to heat up with the U.S. Army’s forthcoming solicitation for a single Hellfire, Javelin and TOW missile replacement called the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).

JAGM could be worth billions of dollars, and will be integrated onto six platforms – including fixed and rotary wing – for the Army and Navy : the Boeing F/A-18E/F and Apache Block III, Bell AH-1Z and OH-58D, Sikorsky MH-60R/S and General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle .A request for proposals is expected by the end of October.

Meanwhile, two industry teams are wrapping up work on separate $125-million technology demonstration contracts, each of which lasted 27 months. JAGM grew out of the defunct Joint Common Missile effort, which was led by Lockheed Martin prior to termination.

This time, the company is pitted against a Raytheon/Boeing team.During the JAGM technology demonstration phase, both teams were required to conduct three tests, each designed to prominently feature the capabilities of a single mode of the tri-mode seeker required.

The three modes are the semi-active laser (SAL), imaging infrared (I2R) and millimeter wave (MMW) radar, and the tests were conducted in that order. The Raytheon/Boeing weapon, which did not include a new solid-rocket propelled motor under development for the JAGM requirement, scored all three hits. 

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