Lockheed Outlines Test Plans For JAGM Bid

Amy Butler/Orlando, Fla. abutler@aviationweek.com

Lockheed Martin is planning a series of three flight-tests next year of its entrant into the U.S. Army's Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) design competition.

These three test vehicles and three spares are being manufactured now, says Frank St. John, director of the company's JAGM program, which is managed by the company's Missiles and Fire Control unit here.

JAGM is to be a 100-pound class small weapon designed for use against small moving or fixed targets by rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. It will replace the Maverick, Hellfire, Hellfire Longbow variant and TOW weapons now in use by the Army and Navy and will be required to engage and destroy tanks, armored personnel carriers and fast boats, among other targets.

Lockheed Martin, the incumbent winner of JAGM's ancestor program, the Joint Common Missile (which was terminated during a budget drill), is taking on a team of Raytheon and Boeing. The two teams received competing technology development contracts worth about $120 million last fall.

St. John says by the time of the downselect in January 2011, Lockheed will have built nearly 50 tri-mode seekers, which are considered to be the most technologically complex element of the system. These units have been developed under the JAGM program as well as earlier technology contracts with the research labs.

Also, Lockheed is teamed with Boeing, its JAGM rival, on a bid for the U.S. Air Force Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II, a 250-pound weapon designed to hit moving targets in all sorts of weather. Lockheed is providing the seeker for the SDB II bid, with Raytheon the sole competitor against the pair. A downselect is expected on that program this fall.

JAGM, with a 7-inch diameter, however, requires a smaller seeker head than SDB II.

St. John says Lockheed has already acquired experience developing each of the three modes separately, with the Longbow using millimeter-wave radar, the Hellfire using a semi-active laser and passive imaging infrared on Maverick, St. John says. He says that experience will allow the company to integrate the three at low cost, though he declined to give the price of the proposed JAGM system.

Already 14 sensors have been built under the JCM program by Lockheed. Another seven have been built for the SDB II risk reduction, he says. The team is using about 120,000 lines of software that were developed under JCM prior to its termination.

The warhead, at roughly 20 pounds, will have two kill mechanisms - blast fragmentation for targets such as trucks, boats or buildings, and a shaped charge for armored targets like tanks.

Preliminary design review is set for the middle of 2010. Platforms expected to carry the system include the AH-64 Apache family of helicopters, AH-1Z Super Cobra, SH-60 Seahawk, and the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

Artist's concept: Lockheed Martin

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