Lockheed Martin released the information on details of the contract related to the JASSM missiles, within the framework of which 36 AGM-158A JASSM cruise missiles are going to be delivered for Poland. On the basis of the same agreement, a number of examples of the newer variant of the missile – AGM-158B JASSM-ER – is also going to be manufactured. At the moment, the latter missiles will only be used by the United States Air Force.
Value of the contract, the purpose of which is to carry out the manufacturing process, modifications, integration and provide support for USAF, Poland and Finland is contained in a total amount of USD 302.2 million. Within the scope of the deal, 146 AGM-158A JASSM missiles are to be delivered, including 36 examples for Poland. 140 AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles are also planned to be manufactured, but all of these will be received by the US Air Force. The latter variant of the missile has extended range.
According to the information available, the standard variant of the JASSM missile is capable of neutralizing targets at distances of up to 370 kilometres, while the ER variant has a range of ca. 925 kilometres. The contract concluded by the Department of Defence at the beginning of December is related to the 14th production lot – the last lot within which the standard JASSM missiles are being manufactured. The whole agreement is going to be finalized until June 2019.
Currently, standard ‘A-variant’ JASSM missiles may be carried by F-16, F-15E, B-1B, B-52 and B-2A aircraft of the United States Air Force, as well as the Australian F/A-18A/B Hornet and Finnish F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters. When it comes to the JASSM-ER missiles, at the moment this weapons system may only be used with the B-1B bombers. However, the plans suggest that integration of the AGM-158B weapon with the B-52, F-16 and F-15E aircraft may be expected soon. Polish Ministry of Defence also expressed its interest in acquiring the extended range variant of the Missile.
In the future, integration of the JASSM-ER missiles is also expected in case of the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II fighters. However, the missile is too long to fit in the internal armament bay of this jet. Thus, the only way the F-35 could carry the missile could be realized by attaching the weapon to the underwing pylons. This would have a detrimental impact on the jet’s stealth properties.