Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 1999
By MICHELLE J. WILSON
Published Aug. 13, 1999
The successful unpowered test of the U.S. Air Force Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) verified the system’s anticipated aerodynamic performance.
The JASSM missiles are being produced at Troy’s Lockheed Martin facility, and were tested Thursday.
JASSM, a precision missile is being developed for the Air Force and Navy to destroy high-value, well-defended targets. Federal funding for the program was announced June 9 by U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. It is part of the Fiscal Year 2000 funding for Southeast Alabama’s defense programs.
The missile maneuvered high above the New Mexico desert under control of its on-board computer, said Nettie Johnson, the plant’s spokeswoman.
Launched from a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon 15,000 feet above the White Sands Missile Range, the advanced cruise missile deployed its wings and tail, then performed a series of maneuvers similar to those required during an attack mission, Johnson said. This test followed several separation tests conducted earlier in the program using a test vehicle. Thursday’s test did not require the missile to fly on top of a ground target.
"This is a great first step, and clearly reflects the hard work and professionalism of JASSM’s Air Force-Navy-Lockheed Martin team," said Richard B. Caime, vice president of strike weapon systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Fla. "Some very capable and committed people made this happen.
"This success underscores my confidence that the team will be up to the challenges ahead."
During the remaining months of the program, the JASSM system will proceed through increasingly complex flight tests. The first powered flight is scheduled for later this year, Johnson said.
Production is scheduled to begin in 2001 or 2002, said Randy Stevenson, plant manager at Lockheed Martin.
JASSM is the newest technology in cruise missiles, Stevenson said. It is expected to replace the Tomahawk, air-launch and surface-launch missiles.
"JASSM is different from missiles we have made before in that it is for precision attack, and it is able to travel long distances, which keeps our troops out of harm’s way," Stevenson said.
JASSM is the first Air Force program in which Lockheed Martin has been involved, Stevenson said. Previously, the plant has worked on U.S. Army programs.
"This is a new program that will implement new technology that has never been used before in the process," he said. "We are tickled to see this level of technology coming to Southeast Alabama.
"We are happy the Air Force was impressed with the competence of our people. We are pleased the program was approved and funded."
JASSM is an autonomous, long-range, conventional, air-to-ground precision strike cruise missile designed to destroy high-value, well-defined fixed and relocatable targets, Johnson said. Flown aboard U.S. Air Force and Navy fighters and bombers, the system will utilize advanced stealth technology, state-of-the-art mission planning, precise guidance and lethal target penetration technology.
The Air Force and Navy selected Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems in April 1988 to develop and build the JASSM system, she said. The program entered the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase the following November.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is an operating element of Lockheed Martin Electronics Sector based in Bethesda, Md. Lockheed Martin Corporation, which is also headquartered in Bethesda, is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s core businesses span space and telecommunications, electronics, information and services, aeronautics, energy and systems integration.