Lockheed Martin has successfully conducted the second internally funded flight test of its joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) dual-mode guidance section at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, US.

The rail-mounted JAGM flew 6.2km before acquiring the target using its precision strike, semi-active laser during the test, which represents a risk-reduction milestone critical to the company’s performance on the US Army’s 27-month continued technology development (CTD) contract.

The dual-mode guidance section then used its millimetre wave radar to destroy the moving target.

"This second flight test success demonstrates that Lockheed Martin’s JAGM solution is a proven, low-risk capability."

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control tactical missiles and combat manoeuvre systems vice-president Frank St John said: "This second flight test success demonstrates that Lockheed Martin’s JAGM solution is a proven, low-risk capability.

"Our risk-reduction activities support the US Army’s goal of using a demonstrated guidance section that minimises cost and risk and eliminates the need for additional development efforts during the engineering and manufacturing development phase."

The $65m CTD contract was awarded by the army in 2012.

Lockheed had successfully demonstrated the JAGM dual-mode guidance section during a flight test in February at the same location. It engaged a laser-designated moving target 6km downrange.

In addition to the low cost, all-weather, fire-and-forget next-generation millimetre wave radar, the dual-mode seeker also features an improved semi-active laser sensor.

Scheduled to be manufactured on the existing Hellfire production line, the JAGM guidance section’s modularity and open architecture will reportedly support a low-risk spiral to a tri-mode seeker, if requested by the army’s incremental acquisition strategy in the future.

Furthermore, this approach supports the Department of Defense’s Better Buying Power Initiative, which encourages defence contractors and the US Government acquisition community to produce new and innovative methods to lower the cost of their goods and services.

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

It is expected to replace the BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-65 Maverick legacy army missiles.

Defence Technology