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Missile flight test program targets new successes

by Staff Sgt. Amy Robinson
Air Combat Command Public Affairs

2/15/2006 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile flight test program added two more successes to its record during recent tests conducted at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The program, one of Air Combat Command's priority programs, flew successful test flights at the missile range Jan. 25 from a B-1B Lancer and Jan. 27 from an F-16 Fighting Falcon. The missile's record now stands at 11 successes out of 13 shots since January 2005, and an overall success rate of 33 out of 43 flights.

During the flights, which tested reliability and affordability, the missiles accurately navigated planned waypoints and struck their intended targets successfully, said Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, ACC director of requirements.

"The JASSM weapon system continues to demonstrate high reliability in flight and ground testing," General Catton said. "More and more units are gaining the capability to effectively employ the weapon system."

The continued development of the missile will add to the Air Force's capabilities to execute operations accurately and safely, he said. The missile is designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and re-locatable targets.

"The JASSM enables combat air forces to attack an adversary's heavily-defended targets that are being protected by next generation surface-to-air missile systems," General Catton explained.

The general said one of the keys to the missile is its long-range standoff capability, which is four to six times greater than other air-to-surface weapons in the current combat air force inventory. As a result, aircrews and their aircraft are kept well outside the lethal range of an enemy's air defense systems.

Within the Air Force, the JASSM has achieved initial operational capability on the B-1B and the B-52 Stratofortress, and is anticipated on the F-16 and B-2 Spirit by mid-March, ACC officials said.

The program is currently entering a test phase for the JASSM-Extended Range variant, which will allow a standoff range of two-and-a-half times greater than the current missile’s range.

Currently, the Air Force inventory contains more than 330 JASSMs and will increase to more than 4,700 missiles by 2020, officials said.

(Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)

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