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Lockheed Martin's very clever (and deadly) Joint Air-to-Ground Missile closer to deployment

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January 4, 2012

JAGM fit check (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

JAGM fit check (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

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With the announcement of the successful testing of a sophisticated Pneumatic Cooling System (PCS) by Lockheed Martin and industry partner Marotta Controls in December 2011, the very capable Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is a step closer to deployment in the field.

The JAGM is a highly versatile weapons system which builds on the technology of the widely-deployed Hellfire, Longbow and Javelin missiles. It can therefore be said that the elements which have lead to JAGM have been very rigorously tested, including extensive battlefield use. The JAGM is intended for use on a range of platforms for the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The missile fits standard US Navy triple rail launchers and is suitable for use on rotary and fixed wing aircraft, ranging from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to the fast moving Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The PCS makes use of a miniature compressor and air filtration system to cool the missile's infrared sensor. This enables US aircraft to passively acquire and track targets at safe standoff range before the missile is launched. The cooling system is based on Marotta's M-PACT® (Pure Air Compression Technology) of which 1,000 units have already been delivered for use in cooling the Navy's AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles.

The fact that the system is able to passively acquire and track targets has far reaching implications for US aircraft and crew survivability: users are able to detect threats to the aircraft such as surface-to-air missiles well outside their lethal engagement envelope.

Lockheed Martin's Tri-Mode seeker for JAGM, now in its 4th generation, has undergone some 8,600 hours of testing over the last decade. Lockheed Martin claims the seeker offers "unmatched performance in adverse weather and robustness against countermeasures."

In addition to its ability to acquire and track targets passively, its increased range and "fire and forget" capability, the JAGM also features a reduced smoke rocket motor, making it more difficult to visually acquire the source of the launch. JAGM is suitable for use against both moving and stationary ground targets.

Perhaps most importantly, JAGM's modular design, based on tested and mature technologies, allows for upgrades in response to changing threats. This allows for greater operational flexibility, especially considering the diverse range of targets able to be defeated by the systems multi-purpose warhead.

Source: Lockheed Martin.

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8 Comments

I am always looking forward to updates about advances in technology involved in expunging other human beings. Thank you!

SpaceBagels

the one percent will sleep easier in their beds after reading this great news.How much per missile ?

robinyatesuk2003

Better weapons make for more cautious enemies. And when they decide to be incautious, who would you rather have \"expunged\"- some of them or some of ours? Maybe you shouldn\'t answer that.

Duane Phillips

Just a quick clarification for those wondering what a \"Longbow\" missile is - that\'s actually a specific variant of Hellfire. The AGM-114L is a variant of the Hellfire designed for use by the variant of Apache equipped with the \"Longbow\" radar - and is a radar-guided missile.

Reapers, Predators, and the ilk use Hellfire II\'s, which are IR-guided.

Matt Alioto

Actually Matt, the Hellfire II (and Hellfire I for that matter) are laser guided, not IR. And Apaches need not be equipped with a \"Longbow\" radar (technically an FCR - Fire Control Radar) to use the \"L\" model Hellfire. They can be passed a target from a FCR equipped AH-64D, JSTARS aircraft, or they can use the laser designator in the targeting system to pass the necessary information to the missile with no radar required.

Christopher Wilson

Whoops, shouldn\'t have missed that IR vs. laser.

Passing the target info around sounds reasonable - what\'s FCR?

Matt Alioto

@robinyatesuk2003 - According to Defense Industry Daily (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/joint-common-missile-program-fired-but-not-forgotten-0229/) "A 2010 GAO document estimates total JAGM's total 20-year program cost at about $6.4 billion: $1.64 billion for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation; and $4.74 billion to build 33,853 missiles".

So once they figure out how to make them, they're a modest $140,017.13 each. Gizmag, you've had a real run on these sorts of weapons lately - perhaps you could work on a few articles from more interesting sources?

Marcus Carr

Matt, The Fire Control Radar or FCR is the mushroom looking thing on the top of some AH-64D helicopters. It\'s a millimeter wave radar built specifically for targeting. Most radars find airborne radar returns for air traffic control purposes. The FCR, however, is built specifically for air to ground targeting. It scans for targets, it identifies and prioritizes them, then sends that information to the Weapons Processor for targeting. It not only works with the radar guided Longbow Hellfire missile, but can also be used for engaging with rockets and the 30mm chain gun. Radar targets found with the FCR can be digitally sent to any other AH-64Ds for them to engage without the need to be exposed to the enemy.

Marcus, What price do you put on human life? Sorry that isn\'t interesting to you. Maybe you would like more articles about cell phones or xbox.

Christopher Wilson
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