The dual-mode seeker of Lockheed Martin-built joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) has successfully demonstrated its target tracking capabilities during high-speed captive flight tests at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, US.
During the company-funded tests, the seeker operated from a Sabreliner jet and successfully tracked intended ground targets while flying at tactical speeds.
The resulting test data was subsequently used to evaluate the seeker's millimetre wave and semi-active laser sensor modes against representative targets.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control business tactical missiles and combat manoeuvre systems vice president Frank John said his company was fully supporting the US Army's initiatives to restructure the JAGM programme for improved affordability in development and unit costs.
"Less than two months after receiving the continuing technology development contract award, we are already lowering risk by testing the dual-mode seeker our customer requires in a tactical scenario," John added.
Lockheed was awarded a 27-month $64m extended technology development contract in August 2012 for qualification of the JAGM guidance section, equipped with a dual-mode seeker, which is scheduled to be produced on the existing Hellfire production line.
JAGM's modular and open architecture design is expected to support a low-risk spiral to a tri-mode seeker, a capability that could be required by the army in future.
Equipped with a multi-purpose warhead, the JAGM is an advanced missile designed to destroy multiple heavy armour and soft land or waterborne target sets, with improved lethality, range, operational flexibility, supportability and cost-savings.
Intended to carrry out the JAGM are the army's AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system (UAS), and OH-58D cockpit and sensor upgrade (CASUP) Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter.
The JAGM initial operational capability (IOC) on the Apache, Viper and Super Hornet aircraft is scheduled for 2017.
Image: A US Army's OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter takes off from Forward Operation Base MacKenzie in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of SSgt Shane A Cuomo, US Army.