JAGM Program Restructured; Development Continues

 - September 7, 2012, 12:55 PM
Raytheon’s joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) solution was developed with Boeing. (Photo: Raytheon)

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are moving forward with competing solutions for the guidance section of a future joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) under a continued technology development (CTD) phase. Restructured in response to reduced funding, the Army-led effort will initially focus on the missile’s front-end guidance section, leaving the warhead, motor and control actuation to a later phase.

On August 17, Lockheed Martin said it received a $64 million contract from the U.S. Army for a 27-month CTD program to design and demonstrate a JAGM guidance section, including seeker, dome and housing. The contract was initiated as an “undefinitized” contract action with a not-to-exceed value, which allows the contractor to begin work before contract terms are finalized. At the same time, Raytheon was negotiating a similar agreement with the Army’s Aviation and Missile Lifecycle Management Command (Amcom) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

The award of CTD funding extends the now five-year-old JAGM program to develop a single missile to replace the AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-65 Maverick and BGM-71 TOW missiles used by the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The CTD phase is using Army research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funding for 2011 and 2012. Lockheed Martin will continue development of a guidance section with a dual-mode seeker, incorporating a semi-active laser (SAL) and millimeter-wave radar (MMR) to guide the missile to its target. The company has fielded missiles with both JAGM seeker modes: SAL on the Hellfire and MMR on the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire.

Raytheon will develop a tri-mode seeker with SAL, MMR and uncooled infrared imaging sensor based on the system used in the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) under development for the U.S. Air Force. The Army has expressed ideas about “what a unit cost ought to be” for the missile under the restructured JAGM program, said J.R. Smith, Raytheon JAGM business development manager. “Our objective is to get to those unit costs by offering the same tri-mode seeker that we use with the small-diameter bomb.”

On July 17, the SDB II scored a direct hit of a moving target after being released from an Air Force F-15E during testing at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The SDB II engineering and manufacturing development phase “will be 75 percent complete by the time JAGM CTD is complete, and we’ll be in our second year of production for SDB II seekers,” Smith told AIN. “That leverages a lot of things, not only the unit cost but reliability and confidence in your solution.”