Lockheed Martin to develop weapons interfaces to enable F-35 to fire JASSM, LRASM, JAGM, and Hellfire missiles

Nov. 15, 2023
Lockheed Martin will modify JASSM, LRASM, JAGM, and Hellfire missiles for firing from the F-35, which has not been able to deploy these weapons before.

RIDGECREST, Calif. – U.S. Navy aerial weapons experts are asking Lockheed Martin Corp. to integrate four advanced missiles onto the F-35 aircraft to enable the plane to attack high-value targets, enemy surface warships, moving targets in bad weather, and a variety of armored combat vehicles.

Officials of the The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in Ridgecrest, Calif., announced plans Monday to ask the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla., to integrate the four advanced munitions on the F-35.

This project will develop weapons interfaces to enable the land- and carrier-based F-35 to fire the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) and Hellfire.

The contract will ask Lockheed Martin to modify the JASSM, LRASM, JAGM, and Hellfire missiles for firing from the F-35, which has not been able to deploy these weapons before.

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The value of the upcoming contract to Lockheed Martin has yet to be negotiated, and will be awarded to Lockheed Martin sole-source because Lockheed Martin is the original designer and manufacturer of these four munitions.

Modifications to these missiles could involve line of sight and non-line of sight (LOS/N-LOS) technologies for seekers, multi-mode seekers, tube-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), autonomous weapons employment and precision targeting, aircraft and weapons integration, and similar applications.

JASSM, which has been in service since 2009, is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for U.S. and allied forces that is designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets. The JASSM has a range of 230 miles, while the extended-range JASSM-ER has a range of 620 miles. Only the U.S. B-1, B-2, and B-52 bombers, as well as the F-16 jet fighter, can fire the JASSM.

LRASM is designed to detect and destroy high-priority surface vessel targets within groups of ships from extended ranges in electronic warfare jamming environments. It is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER). Only the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter bomber and Air Force B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber today can fire LRASM.

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The Lockheed Martin JAGM has a multi-mode guidance section with semi-active laser (SAL) sensor for precision-strike and a fire-and-forget millimeter wave (MMW) radar for moving targets in all-weather conditions. The small missile is nearly six feet long, seven inches in diameter, and weighs 108 pounds. The weapon is designed to fire from combat helicopters.

The HELLFIRE II family of missiles includes four variations: the high- explosive anti-tank missile (AGM-114K), which defeats all known and projected armored threats; the blast fragmentation missile (AGM-114M), which defeats "soft" targets such as buildings, bunkers, light-armored vehicles and caves; the millimeter-wave (MMW) radar Longbow HELLFIRE (AGM-114L), which provides fire-and-forget and adverse weather capability; and the "thermobaric" HELLFIRE (AGM-114N). Hellfire is for combat helicopters.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control online at www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/who-we-are/business-areas/missiles-and-fire-control.html, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD)-China Lake at www.navair.navy.mil/nawcwd.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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