Lockheed Martin unveils latest missile today

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Staff Writer

April 24, 2000 10 PM

Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations will unveil the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile today during ceremonies at the facility on County Road 37, just north of Troy.

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The JASSM is the premier autonomous, long-range, conventional air-to-ground precision strike missile produced by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control-Orlando.

The officials scheduled to participate in the "roll out" ceremony are: U.S. Rep Terry Everett of Alabama, Alabama State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, Air Force Program Executive for Weapons Joseph Diamond, U.S. Air Force Combat Command headquarters commander Gen. John Jumper, Lockheed Martin executive vice president of Systems Integration Bob Coutts, JASSM Joint Systems Program Office director Terry Little and Lockheed Martin JASSM program director Larry Lawson.

Those also in attendance will be: Undersecretary of the Navy Charles Nemfakos, U.S. Air Force director of global power programs Maj. Gen. Raymond P. Huot, U.S. Air Force director of combat weapon systems Brig. Gen. Randall Bigum, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control president Jim Berry, Lockheed Martin MFC-Orlando president Stan Arthur, Lockheed Martin MFC-Orlando strike weapons vice president Dick Caime and Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations plant manager Randy Stevenson.

As the new generation missile, the sleek, stealthy JASSM is designed to destroy high-value, well-defended fixed and relocatable targets. It was created following the Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile (TSSAM) Program because the Air Force and Navy needed a standoff weapon that could destroy the enemy even from outside the range of air defenses.

Developed for the U.S. Air Force and Navy, the flexible missile can be flown from fighters and bombers.

The system uses advanced stealth technology, state-of-the-art mission planning, precise guidance and lethal target penetration technology.

It has an infared imaging system capable of seeking its target under adverse weather conditions; an automatic target correlator that is insensitive to target area conditions; a proven, high performance anti-jam GPS receiver and a high probability of survival against double digit threats.

In April 1998, Lockheed Martin was selected by the Air Force and Navy to develop and build the JASSM weapon system. The program entered the engineering and manufacturing development phase in November 1998. Development and operational tests will start this fall and initial operational tests and evaluation are expected to start in early 2002.

Launched from U.S. Air Force F-16 aircraft, the JASSM successfully passed its first unpowered test flight in August 1999 and engine-powered test flight in November 1999.

"The success of the first powered JASSM flight test is a significant milestone," said Joe Diamond, the Air Force’s program executive officer for weapons. "Although more testing remains, the test raises our confidence that we will deliver a very capable weapon."

Lockheed Martin executives are pleased with JASSM’s overall performance.

"We took on some enormous technical challenges on this program and we did it in a wholly new acquisition environment," said Dick Caime, Lockheed Martin MFC strike weapons vice president.

Terry Little, JASSM Joint Systems Program Office director said the system "has demonstrated superior performance and is a model technology and acquisition reform program."

JASSM’s high performance guidance system and balanced warhead design, combined with insensitive munition and a WDU-42B warhead, make it lethally precise.

Randy Stevenson, plant manager for the Pike County facility, said employees are excited about JASSM and proud of the first engineering and manufacturing development production representative unit being rolled out today.

Located in Dallas, Texas and Orlando, Fla., Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a world leader in electro-optics, mart munitions, advanced combat, missile, rocket and space systems.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation headquarters are Bethesda, Md. It is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacturing, and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics and technology services.

As a final assembly facility, Lockheed’s Pike County plant is used to test articles for ability to withstand things, such as temperature and shaking. Those tests determine whether the design need improving before being used for real.