Lockheed Martin to upgrade guidance and sensors of JASSM, LRASM, JAGM, and Hellfire air-launched weapons

June 10, 2024
Upgrades will involve sensors, multi-mode seekers, tube-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), autonomous weapons, and precision targeting.

RIDGECREST, Calif. – U.S. Navy air-launched weapons experts are asking Lockheed Martin Corp. to upgrade several different air-launched munitions to enhance precision, capability, and ability to launch from unmanned aircraft.

Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in Ridgecrest, Calif., announced plans Thursday to award a sole-source contract to the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla., for rapid technology development on four of the company's air-launched weapons. The value of the upcoming contract has yet to be negotiated.

Lockheed Martin will modify the company's Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) and Hellfire missile.

Modifications could include line-of-sight/non-line-of-sight (LOS/N-LOS) technologies for sensors and seekers, multi-mode seekers, tube-launched unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), autonomous weapons employment, precision targeting, aircraft and weapons integration, and similar applications.

Related: Raytheon to provide air-to-ground missile with imaging infrared seeker and autonomous guidance for Taiwan

Lockheed Martin will perform technology demonstration, product improvement, technology insertion, systems integration, mission analysis, architectures, concept of operations (CONOPS) development, military utility analysis, and traditional engineering analysis for the JASSM, LRASM, JAGM and Hellfire aerial weapons.

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.

Related: Air Force orders Kongsberg JSM air-launched missile with imaging infrared seeker and two-way communications

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 and UAVs.

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/products.html, or the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at www.navair.navy.mil/nawcwd.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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