Questions Rise On JAGM Missile

Questions Rise On JAGM Missile

It is one of the hottest weapons system contests around. The Raytheon/Boeing team has hit the target in the government-funded tests of the $5 billion Joint Air To Ground Missile three out of three times. Lockheed has missed two out of three times in the government tests, though they plan to pay for more tests. But DoD Buzz has learned that Raytheon and Boeing are not using the same missile they are likely to use for production should they beat Lockheed Martin out for the program.

This appears to raise questions about whether Raytheon is offering an integrated system at a high enough level of development to prove to the Army that the system is low enough risk and is ready to meet production requirements soon after EMD.

Raytheon dismisses those questions, saying they are meeting all requirements of the RFP. The current contest is a test of the seeker — not the missile. “The RFP very clearly states that the shoot-off will be done with a PDR level system, which is what we did. We met the requirements,” said Raytheon spokesman Michael Nachshen.

Here is what the RFP says: “The fly-off missile prototypes will represent PDR level configurations using a Warhead Replacement Telemetry Unit. It will include a series of Tactical Missile Air-gun and/or Rail Test Firings with a Warhead integrated into a non-functional Tactical Missile to gain insight into Warhead /Fuze functioning.”

And Nachshen says that the company has done component testing of its EMD missile, including the new nearly-smokeless fuel they have developed.

But Lockheed’s close combat systems director, Frank St. John, notes that their “JAGM test missiles are all production representative,” something company sources say should reduce risk later on. “The alternative was to use hardware that wouldn’t meet JAGM requirements. We felt it was in the best interest of our customers and the program to reduce EMD risk in advance. The lessons we are learning now are doing exactly that,” St. John said.

Much of this really boils down to what I fondly call the cooler wars, the debate about whether Raytheon’s uncooled infrared sensor – with lower costs, less weight, fewer parts and less chances for leaks – is superior, or if Lockheed’s cooled sensor – with superior discrimination — is the best approach for the weapon.

“Our cooled IIR technology provides 50% greater visibility and range than the alternative, allowing pilots and aircrews to engage threats at greater distances than other technologies. Simply put, cooled seeker technology will save lives,” Lockheed’s St. John argues. Lockheed also “selected dome materials compatible with our cooled seeker that are proven to have superior durability for captive carry on JAGM’s platforms. This will avoid costly dome replacement and dramatically reduce life-cycle costs for the services.”

Lockheed’s bottom line is that they think their system offers the Pentagon a “low-risk” system with “operational maturity.”

Raytheon thinks the same. Let the test results be known as soon as they are ready.

Join the Conversation

MIssing 2 out of 3 times is low risk? I guess this is the alternate universe of DoD acquisition.

What’s the difference between Raytheon’s prototype and the production weapon? Motor, casing, etc., …what? Hell with Lockheed, but I’d like to see a production representative weapon fly before handing Raytheon any money either.

I’ve got a rather simplistic view of this which may be very misguided.

The way I see it, Raytheon’s missile+seeker has gone 0 for 3 while Lockheed’s has gone 1 for 3. Raytheon’s seeker is 3 for 3 and Lockheed’s seeker is 1 for 3 or better (I’m not sure whether the two failures were due to the seeker performance).

No evidence presented to demonstrate that the Raytheon final missile+seeker will ever hit anything.

So far, advantage Lockheed (in my book).

And no, I don’t have any association whatsoever with either company.

Could some one tell me when the place the pilot sits in a single seater became a politically incorrect word? See what happens to the word cockpit in the Byron Skinner post above. We have perv all over the net and 1st amendment stuff everywhere but now the century old term for the pilot hole is not allowed.

Just commenting on what the heck is going on folks. Happened in one of my posts recently talking about pilot controls.

Spad Driver

Good Evening Folks,

A rather strange thing here with the JAGM program, who requested it?

I’ve been searching back through documents on this and for the life of me I can’t see where either the Army or Navy asked for such a weapon. In fact the weapon it’s to replace the Hellfire II seems to doing OK and the services who use Hellfire II appear to be happy with it. So who wants the JAGM?

It does appear that the JAGM is the product of the imaginations of people not in the military who’s only interest is economic, theirs.

There is no real need for this sure to be much more expensive weapon then to create orders for the defense industry. As the Army said a couple of weeks ago it’s tome to get rid of weapons that basically do the same thing. The best place to start id before they are bought I would think.

An A B comparison of the JAGM and Hellfire II shows that the only real difference is range with the JAGM having twice the range of Hellfire II. The issue of the sensor, hey it can be out on the Hellfire II, too. The only possible advantage is for the USAF who don’t want to go below 10K ft. and get mud on their jets. Which gives me a lead in.

It will be announced soon that the USAF has decided to buy the AT-6B for a Light Attack or COIN aircraft. Any of you who are interested can google and see the new cockpit and the proposed weapons package. The lack of a gun will be taken care of by a pod with a .50 cal., the AT-6B will have a two person air crew it’s weapons suite by the way includes Hellfire II and not JAGM.

A statement by an Air Force official says: “Right now we are paying a high cost to fly an F-16, in terms of fuel and wear and tear for missions that don’t require the full capabilities of the airplane.” The source goes on to say in regard to the AT-6B Light Attack plane: “In keeping with our 80% of capabilities at 20% of the cost of flying, the AT-6B over the A-10 and F-16, is better suited for the Close Air Support mission.”

The first order will be for 36 planes with a total of 100 expected to be ordered. The AT-6B is a transitional plane to be replaced in the Light Attack role by a high sub-sonic UAV.

I would think that this takes using the F-35 for CAS out of it’s mission package. Again why do we need the F-35?

Regarding the F-22, it seems that its radar lights up the F-22 to the enemy so the AF is suggesting tactically the F-22 should fly with an F-15C that will sweep for targets and the F-22’s sensors can pick up the reflected F-15C signals. It sounds like the F-15C and its pilot are expendable. But again following 737 around North American as is the F-22’s mission few of the 737’s are armed with air to air missiles so I guess the F-22 can fly alone for awhile.

For the money being spent by the American tax payer the JAGM like the F-136 is just needless spending. With out the AF using the F-16 or the A-10 for the CAS mission the JAGM is just a duplication of what Hellfire has bee doing for over a generation.

Well it looks like time is up folks.


Byron Skinner

Evening Byron, JAGM is the successor to the AGM-169 Joint Common Missile (JCM) and pretty much has the same specifications. The key benefits beside for the range increase are the tri-mode seeker, and cost savings from commonalty. JAGM is to replace air-launched Hellfires, Mavericks, and TOWs and may eventually find ground applications as well. Hellfire either has a laser seeker or the millimeter wave radar seeker. JAGM will feature both plus an imaging infrared mode. Like Hellfire it can almost certainly be fitted with different warhead configurations. Besides for versatility the tri-mode seeker should be more immune to “soft-kill” countermeasures such as laser scattering smoke/aerosol.

In truth JAGM is pretty much Hellfire III and will have many similar characteristics, most notably weight and size. It isn’t “replicating” the Hellfire as much as the next step for the missile.

Regarding the USAF, it seems this light COIN aircraft decision keeps going back and forth with no end in sight. Last I heard somebody shot down the idea. Personally I think a hundred or so such aircraft would be useful, but I wonder if the AT-6B is the right choice. I was leaning towards the OV-10X.

Even with such an aircraft we need something like the F-35 is/was supposed to be. But regarding the F-22 and it’s APG-77 radar, it is a LPI design meaning there is little chance of an enemy aircraft being able to determine the F-22’s location from the radar. Yet the USAF has shown interest in using upgraded F-15Cs (with the APG-63(V)3 AESA radar) to track targets while the F-22 uses that to launch missiles without turning on it’s own radar. It is related to tactical benefits as opposed to any flaws with the F-22’s avionics setup.

To the poster “William C.”

You wrote: “It is related to tactical benefits as opposed to any flaws with the F-22’s avionics setup.”

In an entirely SAM-less and PAK-FA-less World, maybe. In a more earthly surrounding,
1) the enemy stealth plane will just sneak up on TWO clueless U.S. American fighters instead of on one, lured to the exact spot by the radar-visible F-15’s position and radar emissions,
2) enemy S.A.M. batteries (plus the entire rest of their networked Air Defense…) are also precisely warned of an impending attack, as soon as the first radar-visible F-15 crosses the border.

Smart. The enemy expresses his SINCERE gratitude to the U.S.A.F. for henceforth placing these “F-15 lighthouses” on top of their super-stealthy F-22s (on B-2s, too?). As Byron Skinner, who is / was not an aviator, correctly hinted: I hope you produced enough F-15 baits (including pilots) for all the expected F-22 duels with enemy 4 – 4,5th generation fighters…

Doesn’t it disquiet you sometimes that only the U.S.A. come up with such (literally) luminous ideas?

Low Probability of Intercept is not *NO* Probability of Intercept. The bad guys always get a vote, or at least you’d better assume so. How’d those Growlers get those “kills?”

Anyway, I thought the issue b/w the F-15 and the F-22 was the proprietary data link nonsense. Has that been fixed?

1) Everything you said goes for the enemy and his stealthy planes too. (The Russian S-300 PMU-2 missile also uses a L.P.I. radar)

2) If L.P.I. radar beams were really so hard to intercept and to interpretate correctly, why does a F-22 still need a 34 years old F-15 as its scout and human shield?

3) How to defeat L.P.I. radars, in great scientific detail:

(From page “113 / 123” on downwards: Chapter “V. Conclusion”)

I think NORTHCOM commander’s recent comments about the value he saw in a COIN prop plane for various homeland missions, probably breathed life back into the idea. Of course the comparison of $600 a flight hour as opposed to $15,000 sure doesn’t hurt either.

I wonder if JAGM is envisioned as an alternative for NLOS on the LCS? The USN had talked about looking at options after NLOS was ditched by the Army.

It has nothing to do with using the F-15 as a human shield. The fact of the matter is that it is a tactic that allows the F-22 to get and launch closer to the target thus increasing probability of a kill. And the S-300 is not some unbeatable air defense system. It is no worse a threat than a Patriot SAM, which while deadly is hardly enough to ensure you own the skies.

I’d like to see Byron’s source on this, because what he said– “…the F-22’s sensors can pick up the reflected F-15C signals.” –sounds like bistatic radar, in which case, I’d have to say that’s a pretty neat trick. Maybe he’ll clear that up…

I’m assuming though that Byron meant data linked radar, which is no different than what the F-22s were doing between each other anyway. We just don’t have that many F-22s. So the F-15s get to play mini-AWACS.

Bistatic radars need to be fixed installations, so that their exact position in space is known to each other ( = as the name “static” implies). This, and the physical law that says that the outgoing reflection angle ( = the radar echo) is always identical to the incidence angle, allows them to deduct a flying object’s tri-dimensional position and movements, using each others’ beams.
However, an airborne F-22 and its F-15 “target illuminator” are constantly moving in all three planes (and fast) and also in relation to each other, so I don’t quite see how this “flying bistatic radar” should work, at least not with overly precision.

…Hence, why I said it’d be a “pretty neat trick.” As in, damn near impossible.

One of the misses was initially blamed on the motor. So by your logic they’re either 1 for 3 on seeker or 1 miss each with seeker and motor faults. Raytheon’s “less capable” seeker is 3 for 3 while LM’s “more capable” has at least one miss. I’d give you a tie, but there’s no way LockMart is ahead.

Actually, not that impossible– if the 22 and the 15C’s computers are in communication with each other, combined with GPS of each plane’s location that updates frequently (or at least enough for each plan to know the relativistic location compared to itself) they could easily make these calculations on the fly, knowing the other’s position, direction and speed.

I would like to see the USAF taken totally out of the CAS mission altogether. Leave the mission to the Marines and the Army who use it day in and day out, deal with their own folks and know how to do the job.

The USAF wanted out of the mission in around 1990 when they wanted to ditch the A10 and give it to the Army who gladly would take it. WOOPS said the USAF — we might be giving up something here and let people who know how to use the A10 actually do the job. “The law is on our side” Our EGO will be bruised. Oh my goodness. Our funding line cut.…Someone else do a better job, Ah!!!!! Yes the Army and Marines will fly below 10000 feet and in the weeds.

For those folks on the ground that work with the USAF — they would love to see the USAF disappear, crew day and everything else they stand for. ie they are a PIA to work with. Then DFC, Silver Stars and Air Medals to go with it. Go get your 8 hours sleep in your air conditioned spaces, fly your 40 hours month and stay the heck out of the way. They will get their 100 airplanes but the result will be the same. A waste of time and money.

Go with a proven aircraft the OV 10 x or what ever you want it to be, but leave the USAF at home. The Army and Marines know much better what they need and will use them appropriately. Hear the song Mr. Gate? Make a game changing decision for the good of everyone. The USAF needs grass in their inlets.

For the record the USAF SAR, Spookie and A10 drivers are great folks dressed in the wrong uniform!

“In an entirely SAM-less and PAK-FA-less World, maybe. In a more earthly surrounding.“
since there are no PAK-FA, thats one less thing are clueless American fighters have to worry about. And
should not have to worry about for another 5 — 8 years.

Interestingly, the draft RFP came out on Friday and is silent to how the prototype test flights will be evaluated for the proposal. The Pk etc. scoring will be based on simulation apparently without regard to whether or not that really squares with reallity. Like I said, alternate universe. Where else would someone pay $250M and ignore the results.

just what do they mean by “miss”?

Part 1 / 2

I-F … your idea works:

It would have to be the F-15 incessantly communicating its own G.P.S. readings to the F-22, allowing the passive F-22 to determine both their positions, NOT the other way around, to keep the F-22 electronically totally silent (the F-22 can NEVER tell the F-15 where both are, or what it intends to do next, or it denounces itself to the enemy, too).

This has certain practical drawbacks, for example at night or in bad weather, when both planes don’t fly along straight lines (a wet dream for every A-A gunner and missileer!) but search targets of opportunity: How can the situationally aware, but electronically mute F-22 inform the F-15 where both should head next, or how to avoid collisions?

Even if all these details got solved, I still fail to understand completely why a stealthy AND L.P.I.-equipped F-22 (“L.P.I.” = NON-detectable radar!) needs a HIGHLY detectable radar mounted on an inferior plane next to it to see anything …

Experts, “speak now or forever hold your peace” !


Part 2 / 2

And in a war against dangerous enemy 4th, 4,5th and 5th generation fighters, why use such a vulnerable ( DOOMED ) flying radar like a F-15 so close to the stealthy hunter, the F-22 ? Why not use for example
1) an extremely distant ( = safe) A.W.A.C.S.’ radar beams for the same intent,
2) or at least an expendable drone ( = UNMANNED + CHEAP ! ) to be the “Eagle’s Beagle” (am I funny), since they’ve got such long loitering times?

The objections in my first two comments above also still remain entirely afoot…

I’m slowly beginning to suspect subconsciously, without being really able to express in words why: Are we maybe looking at an embarassing flaw in stealth warfare here…?

Thanks God I’ll never have to worry about suffering buyer’s remorse: We brave European soldiers insist on showing ourselves to the enemy… unlike your pilots!

Scratch what I said the other night. I have some reason to believe they can operate a fighter radar simultaneously in mono– and multistatic mode. Unclassified info is out there on the web.

OK, can someone post an article or website talking about using F-15s to spot for F-22s? Because from everything that I’ve read, it goes the other way. The F-22 uses its stealth, LPI AESA radar, and passive receivers (which give it comparable capability to the RC-135 Rivet Joint) to detect enemy aircraft and act as a force multiplier by guiding 4th gen US and allied fighters. This is capability that will make the F-22 deadly even after it has expended all of its missiles, as well as something to offset the reality of the F-22’s limited numbers.

At the moment it’s not possible for the F-22 to communicate via data link with anything besides other F-22s. The Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) is due to be equipped, but apparently is delayed. The tactics that I’ve seen floated around consist of spotters hanging back, actively searching and handing off targets to silent shooters who press forward and make the kills. This makes sense based on the detection range of an AESA radar compared to the range of AAMs.

Better yet, short range laser communication; some laser beams are not detectable unless pointed directly at you. With the guidance control we have now days, the laser would never miss the receiver.

If Raytheon had gone 1 for 3 as well the entire program would be in jeopardy. I give Raytheon the advantage.

Well, it appears to me that Raytheon sucks, and Lockheed has won hands down. Cooled seeker head for the win.

Why spend so much money when UK already has a JAGM missile in service in Afghanistan on Fast Jets already ?
UK took the Hellfire missile, redesigned it to make it robust for fast jets … and recently added multi-mode seeker performance.
It meets all the JAGM Performance criteria … today.
Oh, and 85% of it came from Boeing.

I worked for Raytheon Missile Systems once upon a time. None of their stuff actually works. I am convinced the whole company is just a red herring to distract the enemy from the real defense contractors.

I don’t know about their newer stuff but their older designs like the AIM-120, ESSM, and JSOW seem to work fine.


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