US defence prime Lockheed Martin will continue to produce Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGMs) and Hellfire missiles for the US Army and Navy and other global customers in a new $483m follow-on production contract.

This is the third follow-on award, part of a multi-year deal, that commenced in March 2023 when the Army had initially procured the missiles. The total contract award value is for up to $4.5bn through 2025.

The AGM-114 Hellfire II is an air-to-ground, heavy anti-armour missile used for attack helicopters. It is a 100-pound weapon delivering multi-target capability and precision strike lethality. The Hellfire II missile is in service with the armed forces of the US and 16 other nations.

On 5 February 2024, the US State Department approved a $150m Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 386 Hellfire missiles to the Royal Netherlands Air Force, for use from its two new AH-64E Apache attack helicopters acquired from Lockheed Martin in January.

Hellfire currently has more than 30 FMS customers with new Hellfire international customer Poland included in the PY3 contract.

Likewise, the JAGM is also and an air-to-ground missile that was originally designed to replace the Hellfire. It is also precision-guided, with two new seekers that replicate and combine the capabilities of the existing laser-guided Hellfire Romeo and radar-guided Longbow Hellfire missiles.

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Army and Marine Corps commanders employ JAGMs from rotary-wing and uncrewed aircraft to engage enemy combatants in stationary and moving armored and unarmored vehicles, within complex building and bunker structures, in small boats, and in the open.

In December 2023, Lockheed Martin announced that it had successfully conducted a guidance flight test for the JAGM Medium-Range missile, demonstrating the target discrimination capability of the missile’s tri-mode seeker.

“[T]he enhanced tri-mode seeker provides a new level of precision guidance and defence capabilities, allowing JAGM-MR to lock onto the selected target even when there [are] multiple targets in the field,” the company informed.

This latest contract provides flexibility to facilitate the procurement of both systems to multiple domestic and international customers, especially as the JAGM programme anticipates a significant increase in international demand for the weapon system in coming years.