By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
Photo Credit: Title Image: Lockheed Martin via Defense News
January 6, 2020
Last updated on 1/09/20.
Well, this year (2020) certainly started off with a very big bang (or several bangs, perhaps), when a US General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B weaponized drone/UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) sent what may have been multiple Lockheed Martin Joint Air-To-Ground (JAGM) Missiles into cars containing one Iranian Quds Force “General” Qasem Soleimani, one Iraq Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) militia”deputy commander” Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and some nameless, faceless others that were all apparently hell-bent on creating even more terroristic havoc on the United States, after attacking our embassy in Iraq. The JAGM basically ads millimeter wave radar sensor(s) guidance to the AGM-114R multi-purpose HELLFIRE II’s semi–active laser (SAL) seekers, or laser guidance system. By the way, it’s also possible that the Reaper in question was utilizing a Gorgon Stare electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) multi-camera system during the mission, unless an even more advanced system is now in use.
DefenseReview (DR) published a piece on the JAGM all the way back in 2010. DR’s a fan of the JAGM, even if it isn’t what turned Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (try saying that name 5 times really fast) into red vapor, flying skin flaps and bone shards, or wet biological confetti, if you will. We like it ’cause it’s very precise, highly destructive, and seems to work as advertised. As such, Lockheed Martin is justifyably proud of it. Frankly, what’s not to like (except perhaps the per-unit cost, but quality costs, particularly with regard to precision tactical ordnance). The following is from a 2018 Lockheed Martin press release on the JAGM:
The JAGM system hardware that demonstrated over 95 percent reliability in flight testing is built on the active HELLFIRE® missile family production line by the same team that has produced over 75,000 missiles with a fielded reliability exceeding 97 percent.
In other words, it’s got one HELL of an ancestry/pedigree, excuse the pun. In developing the JAGM, Lockheed Martin basically just made the best even better.
Mr. GQ: Qasem Soleimani giving a wry smile and showing off his nifty red-jeweled ring while he was still alive, completely intact, and his left hand was still attached to his left arm. Photo Credit: AFP
Again, Defense Review’s not saying that the JAGM is definitely what turned Soleimani and his fellow carpool compadres into human dust clouds. Maybe it was something else. Regardless, the JAGM’s pretty much the perfect weapon for that kind of job, provided one also desires to make a statement. Sure, smaller guided rockets could have been sent, or, HELLFIRE II’s or JAGM’s could have been sent without the detonators/explosives activated…but it wouldn’t have sent quite the same message to the enemy. It simply wouldn’t have had the same level of panache…and no drone-fired air-to-ground missile system has more panache (in terms of precision guidance and lethality) than the JAGM, at present, and it’s exquisitely effective.
Give the Man a Hand, and That’s One Tough Ring: Soleimani not looking so good, post airstrike. Amazingly, Soleimani’s hand AND ring both appear to be intact after the airstrike, which is fortuitous, as it makes his remains easily identifiable both visually, and through DNA analysis. Authorities should even be able to get fingerprints and a handprint from it. Photo Credit: Press Association (PA)
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
General Atomics (GA) Corporate
3550 General Atomics Court
San Diego, CA 92121-1122
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI)
14200 Kirkham Way
Poway, CA 92064
Phone: (858) 312-2810
Fax: (858) 312-2801
Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) System: Next-Gen HELLFIRE Missile with Tri-Mode Gudance/Tracking Scores Hit on Tank from More than 3.7 Miles Out at White Sands Missile Range, and Gets Closer to Landing U.S. Military Contract.
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