The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has called for a slowdown in the decision making process for low rate production for the Lockheed Martin JASSM-ER.
The decision on whether to commence low rate production of the 1000km range stand off weapon is due to be made in November, but the call comes amid claims the program’s costs are not under control. “A re-evaluation of the JASSM program, given that most of its costs have yet to be incurred, is warranted before the decision to produce the JASSM-ER is made,” the GAO’s October report reads, adding that while the baseline JASSM’s performance has increased markedly since the program was suspended in 2007 and JASSM-ER testing has gone well so far, there were still major cost concerns over the program.
Lockheed Martin responded to the GAO’s report, telling US media that “The JASSM program has successfully undergone a Nunn-McCurdy certification in which no viable alternatives were found to meet the performance objectives at less or even similar pricing. JASSM was certified to the US Congress as ‘essential to national security.’ That finding was recently confirmed by the US Air Force.”
The JASSM-ER is a longer ranging development of the 400km range JASSM which is operational on USAF B-52, B-1, B-2 and F-16 aircraft, and is currently being integrated to the RAAF’s F/A-18A/B Hornets.