U.S. Air Force Major Jacob Rohrbach releases the first JASSM-ER from an F-16 over the Gulf of Mexico on September 19, 2018, during a test on safe separation and software integration for the missile. Photo by Master Sgt. Michael Jackson/40th Flight Test Squadron/U.S. Air Force
Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $350 million contract for production support of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile low-observable long range cruise missiles and all of its variants.
Lockheed Martin will provide lifecycle support related to the JASSM, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile JASSM-Extended Range variants and any JASSM support concerning upgrades, production and logistics, according to a contract announcement Monday from the Department of Defense.
The award is an increase to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite quantity contract and is expected to run through April 2022.
The JASSM is a long-range air-launched cruise missile with a radar-evading airframe for penetrating enemy airspace. JASSM carries infrared seeker and GPS guidance to select and strike programmed fixed targets with a 1,000-pound penetrating blast warhead.
The standard model can be mounted on most Air Force and Navy fighters and bomber aircraft, while the JASSM-Extended Range is currently deployed on the B1B Lancer heavy supersonic bomber.
The ER version is being adapted for use with other aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning II, with the current version being too long for the stealth aircraft's internal bays. The JASSM is deployed by the United States and several allied nations, with Poland and Australia among them.
The XR, or Extreme Range, version of the missile is anticipated to have a range of 1,200 miles and carry a one-ton penetrating blast warhead. It would be deployed by heavy bombers and some strike aircraft for stand-off strikes against hardened targets in contested airspace.
The LRASM is an anti-ship version of the JASSM and has multi-modal sensors and a GPS guidance system with anti-jamming protection.
It is capable of detecting and selecting pre-programmed enemy vessels out of groups of ships without outside guidance using a form of artificial intelligence, providing greater standoff ranges in excess of 230 miles outside of friendly sensor networks.
The LRASM is currently under testing with several successful trials and is expected to be widely deployed by the U.S. and allied nations over the next few years