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Gray Eagle UAS

Lockheed Martin’s joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) dual-mode guidance section has demonstrated its ability to engage a laser-designated moving target during a flight test at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US.

During testing, the rail-mounted JAGM guidance section flew 6km, engaged its precision-strike, semi-active laser and prior to hitting the moving target.

Forming part of Lockheed’s internal research and development programme, the test flight also represents an important risk reduction milestone critical to the company’s performance on the $65m, 27-month continued technology development (CTD) contract awarded by the US Army in 2012.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control tactical missiles and combat manoeuvre systems vice-president Frank John said: "We will continue risk reduction activities to ensure that our JAGM system is affordable and provides significant performance advantages to meet warfighter needs."

"We will continue risk reduction activities to ensure that our JAGM system is affordable and provides significant performance advantages."

The company also completed JAGM’s critical design review (CDR) prior to the flight test, which demonstrated that the dual-mode design meets all customer-specified requirements.

The dual-mode seeker features the Hellfire precision-strike semi-active laser and the all-weather fire-and-forget Longbow millimetre wave radar sensors demonstrated in the previous JAGM guided flights.

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By GlobalData

Expected to be manufactured on the existing Hellfire production line, the JAGM guidance section’s modularity and open architecture readily support a low-risk spiral to a tri-mode seeker, if it is sought by the army’s Incremental Acquisition Strategy in the future.

Primarily intended for the army’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system (UAS), the JAGM is also compatible with other Hellfire platforms.

The JAGM programme is scheduled to replace three legacy army missiles such as the BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-65 Maverick.

Image: The JAGM is scheduled to be integrated with the US Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system. Photo: courtesy of US Army.

Defence Technology