—John A. Tirpak
Lockheed Martin's upgraded missile will be known as the JASSM-XR, for "Extreme Range," a development of the JASSM-ER, or "Extended Range," which is shown here. Courtesy photo via the Air Force.
Lockheed Martin will upgrade its stealthy JASSM conventional cruise missile, under a $51.08 million contract awarded by the Air Force's Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin AFB, Fla. The upgraded missile will be known as the JASSM-XR, for "Extreme Range," a development of the JASSM-ER, or "Extended Range."
A Lockheed Missiles and Fire Control spokesman said the new version is "part of a planned upgrade" of the JASSM "family of missiles" which includes the baseline AGM-158A JASSM, the AGM-158B JASSM-ER, and the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile AGM-158C. The Air Force could not immediately say if the most recent variant will carry the designation AGM-158D.
The upgrade includes a new missile control unit computer, "which will support the other planned capabilities," the spokesman said. These include "new wing designs to increase standoff range through aerodynamic efficiency, and a new GPS unit to further advance our level of protection." The Air Force will acknowledge only that the JASSM-ER has a range in excess of 500 nautical miles, so the XR's range will presumably be greater.
The contract noted the other work to be done as "all-up round system engineering and programmatic activities to align and phase the work necessary to design, develop, integrate, test, and verify component and subsystem design changes to the JASSM-XR baseline electronics, hardware, firmware, and operational fight software."
The Air Force switched from baseline JASSMs to JASSM-ERs several years ago, and has produced more than 2,000 of the longer-ranged weapon so far. The Air Force was unable to comment on how many ER models might be uprated to the XR configuration or when the change would be cut in at the production line in Troy, Ala., but the contract said that all XR-related development and test is to be completed by Aug. 31, 2023.
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