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RAAF declares JASSM fully operational

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 29, 2014
An RAAF F/A-18A with JASSM at Woomera during the weapon's 2011 OT&E. (Defence)
An RAAF F/A-18A with JASSM at Woomera during the weapon’s 2011 OT&E. (Defence)

The RAAF’s AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile (JASSM) has achieved its Final Operational Capability (FOC), Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston has announced.

The weapon – which is built by Lockheed Martin and is also in use by the USAF – was acquired under Project AIR 5418 to give the RAAF’s classic Hornet fleet a 300km+ stand-off precision strike capability.

“The Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile is now fully in service and is an extremely capable, long range missile that meets the future requirements of Air Force,” Senator Johnston said in a statement. “Successful JASSM integration forms a key piece of the strike capability and ensures that Air Force can meet future operational demands.”

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Chief of Air Force, AIRMSHL Geoff Brown added, “This is a great achievement for Air Force and is a major milestone for our air combat capability. This long-range, highly accurate missile can be released far from enemy targets, keeping RAAF aircrew out of harm’s way without compromising mission objectives.”

The low-observable JASSM is operational on USAF B-1B, B-52H and F-16 aircraft, and has a 500kg warhead capable of destroying hardened or high-value targets. After a troubled integration program which saw AIR 5418 placed on the previous Labor government’s Projects of Concern list, the missile achieved an initial operational capability (IOC) in 2011 after a successful operational test and evaluation (OT&E) at Woomera.

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2 Comments

  • John N

    says:

    Well it been a very very long time coming, to say the least!

    If I remember correctly JASSM (and KC-30A too) were supposed to be in service in time for the retirement of the F-111C fleet by the end of 2010, anyway, better late than never!

    Obviously JASSM is capable of having further life (after the Classic fleet is retired by 2022), on the F-35A fleet, but I do wonder if at some stage JASSM might also be added to the Super Hornet fleet?

    It certainly made sense at the time of the Super Hornet purchase (operational for only 10 years) to not go down the path of integrating weapons that were not ‘standard’ kit on the USN Super Hornet fleet, but now that the Supers are planned to be in operational service for at least 20 years, maybe it is worth considering?

    It’s always a risk (time, problems and cost) going it alone to integrate weapon systems to a platform when no other users use that configuration, which was the case at the time when JASSM (a USAF weapon) was integrated onto the RAAF’s Classic fleet (a USN aircraft).

    Maybe if the USN does adopt LRASM (based on JASSM-ER) into it’s future inventory, that may go some way to an easier integration path for JASSM (or even JASSM-ER) into the RAAF’s Super Hornet fleet.

    Time will tell!

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Darren

    says:

    Agree John N

    Serious consideration needs to be given to the long term standoff weapon system for the Supers.

    Given JASSM is in service how much of what has been done can be transferred to the F/A-18F? Are we better educated now as to the overcoming the issues that may arise enabling quicker integration? Would the USN co-sponsor a RAAF led integration (doubtful)?

    It’s an obvious statement, but no matter what aircraft (F-35 or F/A-18F) I would rather be delivering a weapon as far from the reach of the other guy as possible.

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