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A B-2 Spirit bomber delivering a JASSM at Eglin Air Force Base

The AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a low observable standoff cruise missile developed in the United States.



The JASSM project began in 1995 after the cancellation of the AGM-137 TSSAM project. The TSSAM was designed as a high precision stealthy missile for use at stand-off ranges, but poor management of the project resulted in rising costs. Since the requirement for such weapons still existed, the military quickly announced a follow-up project with similar goals. Initial contracts for two competing designs were awarded to McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed Martin in 1996, and the missile designations AGM-158A and AGM-159A were allocated to the two weapons. Lockheed Martin's AGM-158A won and a contract for further development was awarded in 1998.

The AGM-158A is powered by a Teledyne CAE J402 turbojet. While carried the wings are folded to reduce size, flipping out on launch. There is a single vertical tail. Guidance is via inertial navigation with updating from a global positioning system. Target recognition and terminal homing is via an imaging infrared seeker. A data link allows the missile to transmit its location and status during flight, allowing improved bomb damage assessment. Reliability has been questionable and the program has been over funded resulting in considerations to drop the program entirely. The warhead is a WDU-42/B 450 kg (1000 lb) penetrator.

The JASSM will be carried by a wide range of aircraft - the F-15E, F-16, F/A-18, F-35, B-1B, B-2 and B-52 are all intended to carry the weapon.

Test failures

In 1999, powered flight tests of the missile began. These were successful, and production of the JASSM began in December 2001. The weapon began operational testing and evaluation in 2002. Late that year, two missiles failed tests and the project was delayed for three months before completing development in April 2003. Two more launches failed, this time as a result of launcher and engine problems.

In July 2007, a $68 million program to improve JASSM reliability and recertify the missile was approved by The Pentagon.[1] A decision on whether to continue with the program was deferred until Spring 2008.[2]

Lockheed has agreed to fix the missiles at its own cost and has tightened up its manufacturing processes.[3]

On 27 August 2009, David Van Buren, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said that there would be a production gap for the JASSM while further tests were held.[4]

Foreign sales

Finland planned to purchase JASSM missiles for the Finnish Air Force as part of modernization plans of its F/A-18 Hornet fleet. In February 2007 the United States declined to sell the missiles, while agreeing to proceed as planned with other modernization efforts (the so-called Mid-Life Update 2, or MLU2). This episode led to speculation in the Finnish media on the state of Finnish - American diplomatic relations.[5]

The Defense Acquisition and Program Administration (DAPA) of South Korea has announced that it is planning to purchase and equip ROKAF's fleet of F-15K Slam Eagles with JASSM by 2010 to 2011.[6][7]


A mock-up display at Dutch Air Force Base Leeuwarden 2008


The Air Force is studying various improvements to the AGM-158. Mooted improvements include a submunition dispenser warhead, new types of homing head, and a new engine giving ranges in excess of 1,000 km (600 mi).

The JASSM-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) received the designation AGM-158B in 2002. Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the same external dimensions as the JASSM, the JASSM-ER is intended to have a range of over 500 nautical miles (930 km) as compared to the JASSM's range of about 200 nautical miles (370 km). The first flight test of the JASSM-ER occurred on May 18, 2006 when a missile was launched from a U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. As of 2006, JASSM-ER was scheduled for introduction into the operational inventory in 2009.


  • Length : 4.27 m (14 ft)
  • Wingspan : 2.4 m (7 ft 11 in)
  • Weight : 975 kg (2,150 lb)
  • Speed : Subsonic
  • Range : 370 km+ (230 mi+)
  • Propulsion : Teledyne CAE J402-CA-100 turbojet; thrust 3.0 kN (680 lbf)
  • Warhead  : 450 kg (1000 lb) WDU-42/B penetrator
  • Production unit cost : $700,000
  • Total program cost : $3,000,000,000

See also


External links


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