U.S. Army declares long-range missile now ready for production

The U.S. Army as well as the Marine Corps and the U.K. have signed up to receive the missile.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Lockheed Martin has announced that its Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is ready for full rate production, according to a press release by the company.

The decision has been approved by the U.S. Army. Now, Lockheed Martin will be able to produce the JAGM system in higher quantities for its customers without restrictions. 

Tested on the U.S. Army's helicopter fleet

The event also marks the successful completion of the operational testing of the missile on the U.S. Army’s AH-64E Apache and the Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Viper helicopters.

The Army has repeatedly stated it requires longer-range munitions across the board, but particularly for its helicopter fleet. Now, JAGM will meet those needs.

“JAGM has repeatedly proven that it can be counted on when it matters most, providing mission-focused offensive and defense capabilities and maintaining a competitive edge against any potential adversaries,” said Jerry Brode, vice president of Close Combat Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. 

“The program’s full rate production milestone speaks volumes to how JAGM’s precision and combat effectiveness continues to provide 21st Century Solutions in an ever-evolving threat environment.”

The key milestone means that JAGM will now replace the legacy Lockheed Martin-made HELLFIRE Romeo and HELLFIRE Longbow missiles.

“JAGM’s advanced capabilities and increased commonality positions its users to maintain a competitive advantage over the threats of today and tomorrow,” says Joey Drake, program management director of Air-to-Ground Missile Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. 

“The full rate production decision demonstrates that the program has not only reached a maturation point, but it also is a vote of confidence from the Army in the product.”

Lockheed Martin is also working on increasing JAGM’s range to 16 km in the JAGM-Medium Range (JAGM_MR) variant. JAGM-MR nearly doubles JAGM’s current range without impacting JAGM’s length or diameter, substantially increasing the missile’s capabilities for multi-domain operations.

High capability low costs

This development will now allow Lockheed Martin to provide this additional capability at a cost that remains very close to current JAGM production.

The U.S. Army and the Marine Corps are the first adopters of the new weapon. However, the United Kingdom has also signed on to receive JAGM, committing to the new missile in 2021.

The 1,000th JAGM was produced last February at Pike County Operations and it was then delivered to the U.S. Army, marking another step toward the full rate production decision.

“This decision represents the hard work by many to continue to not only deliver performance excellence by building a transformative product with modernized capabilities, but to also integrate a long-term growth mindset for the program,” said at the time Brode. 

“The increased JAGM production supports the program’s efforts to increase its inventory and also paves the way for future discussions on how the company can position the program to potential international customers.”

JAGM has over 95 percent reliability in flight testing making it the weapon of choice in critical, precision engagement opportunities.