Joint Air-to-Ground Missile Faces Tough Tests

Contributed by Aviation Week’s Aerospace Daily and Defense Report

The next significant air-launched weapons battle is about to heat up with the U.S. Army’s forthcoming solicitation for a single Hellfire, Javelin and TOW missile replacement called the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).

JAGM could be worth billions of dollars, and will be integrated onto six platforms – including fixed and rotary wing – for the Army and Navy : the Boeing F/A-18E/F and Apache Block III, Bell AH-1Z and OH-58D, Sikorsky MH-60R/S and General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle .A request for proposals is expected by the end of October.

Meanwhile, two industry teams are wrapping up work on separate $125-million technology demonstration contracts, each of which lasted 27 months. JAGM grew out of the defunct Joint Common Missile effort, which was led by Lockheed Martin prior to termination.

This time, the company is pitted against a Raytheon/Boeing team.During the JAGM technology demonstration phase, both teams were required to conduct three tests, each designed to prominently feature the capabilities of a single mode of the tri-mode seeker required.

The three modes are the semi-active laser (SAL), imaging infrared (I2R) and millimeter wave (MMW) radar, and the tests were conducted in that order. The Raytheon/Boeing weapon, which did not include a new solid-rocket propelled motor under development for the JAGM requirement, scored all three hits. 

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  • Byron Skinner

    Good MOrning Folks,

    I’m not really sure of any cost benefits of the JAGM come in. Although both the TOW and HELLFIRE are aging systems they have been up graded constantly over the years, both have an established maintenance infrastructures with in all of the services and most of all are Combat proven and relative to the JAGM very inexpensive.

    I would like to know what advantages the JAGM has over BGM-71 TOW-Wireless and the AGM-114R Hellfire II?

    I personally can see none other them some small incremental advances in technology which will have little or no effect on the current battle fields. Both the TOW-Wireless and the Hellfire II have the M warhead and the AGM-114R the N warhead also. The BGM-71 TOW Wireless is also programed to be used over water and in the open ocean, it could and should be part of the Navy’s solution to a GM for the Littoral/Green water mission.

    The JAGM appears to be just needless costly technology that will not significantly increase the combat power of the United States Military. In times of economic stress the country can ill afford these gold plated costly weapons systems that don’t address any current tactical operational needs.

    Byron Skinner

  • STemplar

    It’s replacing 3 systems but multiple variants of those 3 systems. It carries 3 targeting modes in a single weapon, gives better range than some of the systems, has a selectable multi function warhead for armor and soft targets. Boeing’s was three for three in testing and the LM missed once but said it wasn’t the seeker that failed but “mechanical anomaly”, so I would assume some kind of failure with steering or the motor. In any event the tests were too evaluate all 3 seeker modes.

    If it works, and the targeting tests sounds like it is, the savings logistically will be substantial I would think.

  • STemplar

    I think it is just the fact that what the Maverick does can be accomplished by lighter systems that we can carry more of now. JAGM will have the same range as Maverick but the footprint of a Hellfire. SBDs are just as accurate as a Maverick and have a better range. I think technology has just advanced that we can do the Maverick’s mission with a new system we can carry more of.

  • William C.

    JAGM has plenty of potential and will certainly improve the capabilities of any platform it enters service on. I don’t see why a ground vehicle launched version wouldn’t be possible.

  • jhm

    You don’t need the Mavericks warhead to take out tanks, its inefficient. For buildings, just use JDAMS or Paveways. If the JAGM can score ceiling hits on tanks, it’ll only need a small warhead.

  • roland

    The JAGM should be integrated with gps guidance system to suceed, I heard it was laser guidance.

  • @Earlydawn

    Is the Air Force keeping the Maverick, or can we extrapolate that the anti-vehicle role has been completely subsumed by other weapons?

    • jhm

      Teh maverick will be around for years. Itll be a fail safe in case the JAGM suffers any snags like most US systems.

  • Mastro

    I wonder how superior it would be to the Brimstone? Maybe we could expand that or do a joint upgrade with the British?

    • blight

      Brimstone has a published range of ~12km (versus 16+ for JAGM. However it outranges the Hellfire missile).Guidance is radar/INS, whereas the JAGM is supposed to have IR, radar and laser.

      This begs the question of how important is it for each warhead to have all three guidance modes available in the same missile.

  • blight

    I’m re-reading my notes on the Mavericks; and I’m curious if JAGM can replace the Navy Maverick (-F), which has the larger warhead and is probably the reason why Maverick has longer range than proposed JAGM.

    I mean, plinking tanks, bunkers and Toyotas is one thing, but ships are probably going to be better prepared against missile attack, so JAGM design will probably have this as part of their consideration?

  • blight


    Is there an extended-range variant of the JAGM like the AGM-130? 40km+ range is not something to sneeze at…


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