By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
November 28, 2010
Speaking of HELLFIRE missiles, Lockheed Martin is reportedly looking to land a big U.S. military contract with the Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). JAGM, essentially the next logical step from the AGM-114R multi–purpose HELLFIRE II missile, features three (3) guidance/seeker modes: precision-strike semi-active laser (SAL), as on HELLFIRE II, passive fire-and-forget imaging infrared (I2R), as on Javelin, and all-weather fire-and-forget millimeter wave (MMW) guidance/tracking, as on on the LONGBOW HELLFIRE missile, making JAGM a tri-mode HELLFIRE missile.
Lockheed Martin recently passed a “big milestone” when a JAGM test missile scored a direct hit on a main battle tank (MBT) from six (6) kilometers (more than 3.7 miles) out at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
According to Lockheed VP Frank St. John, “this test was an extremely challenging first-time event, considerably more complex than any of the three [prior] tests.” St. John went on to explain that “in addition to confirming the ability of our cooled tri-mode seeker to detect and lock onto threats from safe standoff range, we also demonstrated multi-sensor correlation and high-fidelity target discrimination.” Try saying that 50 times in a row, real fast. We’ve tried it. It’s hard.
TG Daily explains the how the Lockheed Martin JAGM tank-kill test was conducted, as follows:
Well, the tactically configured missile was loaded into a static Lockheed Martin HELLFIRE M299 launcher. The cooled I2R sensor acquired and subsequently locked on to a stationary main battle tank – prior to launch – from a distance of six kilometers. After JAGM was fired, the I2R sensor guided the missile to a lethal hit, while the MMW sensor (simultaneously) detected and tracked a secondary (tank) target.
Lockheed Martin’s only competition comes from rival companies Raytheon Co. and Boeing, which are also gunning for the contract.
It will be interesting to see who wins this thing. All three are juggernaut military defense contractors and major components of the U.S. military industrial complex.
The following is a list of U.S. military aicraft systems capable of carrying and utilizing JAGM: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter aircraft, AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter, MQ-1C Predator UAS/UAV, MQ-9 Reaper UAS, OH-58D CASUP Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter, and MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
The following info comes from the JAGM web page on the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (LMMFC) website:
“The Lockheed Martin JAGM builds on an unmatched foundation of combat-proven precision air-to-ground missiles. We have successfully fielded missiles with all three of the JAGM seeker modes: precision-strike semi-active laser (SAL) on HELLFIRE, passive fire-and-forget imaging infrared (I2R) on Javelin, and all-weather fire-and-forget millimeter wave (MMW) on LONGBOW. To this firm foundation, we added the latest technology to give Warfighters expanded operational flexibility in addition to increased combat effectiveness and survivability with a single, low-cost next-generation advanced missile.
Fire-and-forget engagement modes, coupled with increased standoff employment ranges, significantly increase JAGM user survivability against threat defenses. The capability to actively or passively engage stationary and moving targets, day and night, despite adverse weather, battlefield obscurants and countermeasures greatly increases the employability of JAGM from multiple platforms against multiple targets. Point-designation engagement modes allow JAGM users to apply deadly force accurately across wide target sets with a single missile, thus avoiding fratricide and collateral damage. JAGM’s target sets include armor, air defense units, patrol craft, artillery, transporter erector/launchers, radar sites, C2 nodes, bunkers and other structures in urban and complex terrain.
Lockheed Martin’s single-missile configuration provides an affordable, low-risk solution that meets all Army, Navy and Marine Corps rotary-wing, fixed-wing and unmanned aerial system (UAS) requirements—with high modularity for rapid response to future requirements. This single missile for fixed- and rotary-wing platforms significantly reduces life-cycle cost, total system cost and logistics burdens with increasing operational flexibility ashore and afloat.
- Lock-on before and lock-on after-launch maximize operational employment
- Fire-and-forget engagements against moving and stationary targets in clear and adverse weather increase survivability
- Precision-point accuracy surpasses combat-proven HELLFIRE II
- Tri-mode seeker provides unmatched performance in adverse weather and robustness against countermeasures
- Modular design allows upgrades based on changing threats, providing operational flexibility on the battlefield
- Multi-purpose warhead defeats multiple heavy armor and soft land- or water-borne target sets
- Single IM rocket motor exceeds range and environmental requirements on both rotary- and fixed-wing platforms
- JAGM seamlessly integrates with F/A-18 E/F, OH-58 CASUP, AH-1Z, MH-60R, AH-64D and MQ-1C ERMP
- JAGM leverages mature technologies and early testing to reduce cost and risk
- JAGM significantly increases aircrew and aircraft survivability with its increased range, fire-and-forget and minimumsmoke characteristics”
Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin
Company Contact Info:
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
P.O. Box 650003
Dallas, TX 75265-0003
Media and Press Inquiries: 407-356-5351
Business Development: 407-356-4464