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US F-15 Fighters Can Now Fire New Stealthy Standoff Cruise Missile

 
 

Lockheed Martin’s subsonic, turbofan-powered AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) cruise missile has achieved full operational capability (FOC) on the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle multirole strike fighter, according to a February 8 company statement.

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) had already declared FOC for the new weapon system on the F-15E in late 2017; however, this was only publicly revealed this month, IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets reports.  The introduction of the new missile adds a significant boost to the U.S. military’s standoff air-to-surface strike capabilities.

“With completion of integration and the fielding of JASSM-ER’s Suite 8 Operational Flight Program, the F-15E Strike Eagle becomes the first Universal Armament Interface (UAI)-compliant platform to field JASSM-ER,” Lockheed Martin notes in a press release. “UAI-compliant aircraft feature standardized interfaces to support future weapon integration.”

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The integration of the missile on the new fighter jet was led by the U.S. Air Force Seek Eagle Office. The USAF currently operates 219 F-15E Strike Eagles.

“Fielding on the F-15E Strike Eagle expands JASSM-ER’s mission flexibility,” said Jeffrey Foley, program director of Long-Range Strike Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “With its greater than 500 nautical-mile standoff range and planned block upgrades currently in work, JASSM-ER provides an impressive tactical advantage for U.S. and allied warfighters.”

In comparison to the JASSM, the extended range variant has more than double the range. The USAF approved full-rate production of the JASSM in December 2014.  The U.S. military plans to buy over 2,400 JASSMs and 2,978 JASSM-ERs. The cost per missile is around $1 million for the former and $1.75 million for the latter.

Both the JASSM and JASSM-ER are long-range, radar-evading cruise missiles designed to destroy hostile air defenses and well-defended fixed and relocatable targets while keeping strike aircraft safely out of range from enemy air defense systems.

“Armed with a penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead, JASSM-ER and JASSM can be used in all weather conditions,” according to Lockheed Martin. “These highly accurate cruise missiles also employ an infrared seeker and enhanced digital anti-jam GPS to dial into specific points on targets.”

The JASSM-ER is already integrated on the B-1B Lancer and is in the process of integration on the B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, F-16 Falcon F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and the F-35 Lightning II.

The U.S. Navy has also been working on an anti-ship variant of the JASSM, designated Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), which will be available in air-launched and ship-launched variants. The LRASM was successfully test fired from a B-1B Lancer over Point Mugu Sea Range in California on December 12.

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