(JustPatriots.com)- This morning, Defense News reported that Lockheed Martin is debating the feasibility of converting its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, or JAGM, into a mobile, short-range air defense system.
Rita Flaherty, vice president of strategy and commercial operations for Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control division, told Defense News that the idea already exists. She said that they believe it will apply to various platforms.
An air-to-surface missile is the JAGM system, also called AGM-179. The JAGM has a 5-mile range with a semi-active laser and millimeter-wave radar guiding system. The 108-pound JAGM may be launched from fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.
Flaherty added that there is no reason it needs to be limited. It might have anti-armor capability or even ground-launch ability.
According to Jen Judson, the Hellfire Longbow missile, the JAGM weapon’s precursor, is already on the books for air-defense uses. It is a component of the first installation of an M-SHORAD Stryker-based system that the American Army quickly constructed and deployed to Europe.
The Hellfire missile, or AGM-114, has a variety of uses. It has been in use ever since the middle of the 1980s. The Hellfire was upgraded to be used in precise drone strikes and to attack high-value targets after being initially developed as an anti-armor weapon.
The Hellfire’s ability to perform in surface-to-air and surface-to-surface roles demonstrates its adaptability. The 100-pound missile can be fired from platforms on land, the water, or the air. The Hellfire cost $150,000 per unit, which was significantly cheaper than the JAGM successor.
But the JAGM ought to be adaptable, like the Hellfire. As Judson notes, it can engage many targets day or night in any weather, making it almost a plug-and-play substitute for the Longbow missile.
The JAGM should provide the armed forces with greater operational freedom while spending less on logistics. Of course, the JAGM will carry out these functions even more efficiently if it can be reconfigured to operate in entirely different roles, such as air defense.
The US Navy and Marine Corps will use the JAGM in addition to the US Army. The American Air Force is also talking with Lockheed about fitting the missile on its aircraft.