The US Army has awarded a contract to Raytheon for the production and delivery of a next-generation guidance section, as part of its joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) continued technology development (CTD) programme.

Valued at an estimated $65m, the 28-month two phase CTD contract was awarded by the US Army’s Aviation Missile Command (AMCOM).

Under the initial four month CTD phase, the company will upgrade its design and complete a delta preliminary design review.

The critical design review, guidance section qualification and testing, and delivery are scheduled to be carried out in the second 24-month phase.

"With our JAGM solution, capabilities will grow, but costs will not."

Raytheon is planning to make use of its low-cost, uncooled tri-mode seeker, currently under development for the US Air Force and Navy’s small diameter bomb II (SDB II) programme, for guidance section development.

The company expects that similarity between the seeker heads of JAGM and SDB II could lead to cost and risk reduction for CTD programme, as some of the qualification testing has already been carried out with SDB II.

Raytheon Missile Systems Advanced Missile Systems vice president Tom Bussing said: "With our JAGM solution, capabilities will grow, but costs will not."

The CTD programme is scheduled to conclude with integration of JAGM guidance sections into the army’s existing qualified and fielded missile components, including the warhead, rocket motor and control actuation system.

Raytheon has partnered with Boeing for the JAGM programme, which is scheduled to replace three legacy army missiles, including the air-launched BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-65 Maverick.

The new missile is scheduled for integration on F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, AH-64D Apache Longbow, MH-60R Seahawk, AH-1Z Super Cobra, MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and the OH-58 CASUP armed reconnaissance helicopter.