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New Joint Missile Program Entering Flyoff for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin

by: Matthew Potter
July 20, 2010

Category: Alliant Techsystems, Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, production program, Raytheon, Services, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy | RSS 2.0

27 July – Updated to discuss the reasons for the JCM contract cancellation and to include more information on the Lockheed Martin proposal.

The Navy, Marine Corps and Army are attempting to develop a new air-to-surface missile that will replace the current Hellfire, TOW and Maverick systems. The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) will be launched from a variety of aerial platforms to attack vehicles and fixed targets.

The Army is managing the joint project and the next step in the acquisition process is a fly off this Summer at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Raytheon (RTN) and its partners Boeing (BA) and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) are proposing a missile with a new uncooled infrared sensor setting it apart from the Lockheed Martin (LM) competition which is using an advanced cooled sensor.

Lockheed had previously won the JCM development contract in a competition that included Raytheon and Boeing as separate competitors. That contract was canceled in 2007 by a Presidential Budget Memorandum (PDM). At that time the program was on cost, schedule and meeting performance requirements. The need for the new missile remained valid and two twenty-seven month development contracts were awarded in 2008 to the Raytheon-Boeing team and Lockheed Martin.

The Hellfire has had a great deal of use since 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan especially launched from AH-64 Apache helicopters and Predator and other UAV systems. The JAGM will be fired from these platforms as well as the F/A-18, SH-60 and the AH-1 Cobra used by the Navy and Marine Corps. Because much of the targets for the Hellfire have not been tanks as it was originally designed to counter but personnel and buildings special warheads have been developed for those missions. The JAGM will have a warhead capable of being able to attack a variety of targets without being changed.

The JAGM is one of the major contracts that will be awarded in the next few years as the military will need to buy thousands of the missile once production starts. The Apache and F/A-18 are fairly ubiquitous platforms in use by the U.S. and major Allies and the market to replace the Hellfire, TOW and Maverick is quite large. The winner of the contest should see a good deal of business from this program that might offset some of the potential cuts coming in the U.S. defense budget as fighting winds down and fiscal reality hits.

The use of a flyoff where each team demonstrates a fairly mature prototype used to be common in the past. The size of the defense budget in the Nineties and the decline in the U.S. industrial base meant the practice had become rarer. One of the recent reforms in defense acquisition is to try and have more competitions like this and it worked well with the new MRAP-ATV program for example.

Photo from mashleymorgan’s flickr photostream.

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  1. Army Takes Next Step with JAGM | Defense Procurement News on April 15th, 2011 2:29 am

    […] their capabilities. Now they released an RFP to support the production of a new missile. The two teams that participated in the technology demonstration have both said they would submit a proposal for the contract which could be worth several billion […]

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