The new Joint Air-to-Ground Missile system has passed the Defense Acquisition Board review and achieved milestone C, enabling it to enter low-rate initial production, Lockheed Martin said in a release.
Ten limited-flight user tests were conducted over a period of months, demonstrating the system’s combat effectiveness and technical maturity, the Tuesday, June 27 release said.
The program also conducted supplier and prime contractor production readiness reviews, establishing its readiness to move into LRIP.
JAGM is a multi-sensor air-to-ground missile ultimately intended to replace the Hellfire family of missiles and the U.S. Navy’s Maverick missiles.
The system employs multi-mode guidance – semi-active laser and millimetre wave radar sensors – giving the missile a precision and ‘fire-and-forget’ strike capability against stationary land and maritime targets.
The new missile is a U.S. Army-led program, but the system also includes requirements for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and is designed to be compatible with all rotary and fixed wing aircraft that can fire the Hellfire.
In 2015, the U.S. Army and Navy awarded Lockheed a contract for the engineering and manufacturing development phase the JAGM program, which included production, test application and integration on the AH-64E Apache and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.
The Navy completed its first flight test of the JAGM on December 5 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, and the Army has conducted a number of tests, including from MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft.
U.S. Army operational capability is expected in 2018, Lockheed said.