JAGM hits a battle tank

Lockheed Martin recently scored a direct hit on a main battle tank during a multiple-mission firing of its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).

According to Lockheed VP Frank St. John, the complex flight test illustrated the ability of the imaging infrared (I2R) sensor in the missile’s cooled tri-mode seeker to lock onto a target at extended range before launch.

The test – which was executed 6km from the tank – also showcased the advanced millimeter wave (MMW) radar sensor, which simultaneously tracked a second, moving armored vehicle.

“This test was an extremely challenging first-time event, considerably more complex than any of the three [prior] tests,” St. John explained.

“In addition to confirming the ability of our cooled tri-mode seeker to detect and lock onto threats from safe standoff range, we also demonstrated multi-sensor correlation and high-fidelity target discrimination.”

So, how was the JAGM test conducted?

Well, the tactically configured missile was loaded into a static Lockheed Martin HELLFIRE M299 launcher. 

The cooled I2R sensor acquired and subsequently locked on to a stationary main battle tank – prior to launch – from a distance of six kilometers.

After JAGM was fired, the I2R sensor guided the missile to a lethal hit, while the MMW sensor (simultaneously) detected and tracked a secondary (tank) target.

Note: Threshold aviation platforms for JAGM currently include the AH-64D Apache, MQ-1C UAS, OH-58D CASUP Kiowa Warrior, Cobra helicopter, MH-60R Seahawk and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter.

Initial operational capability (IOC) of JAGM on the AH-64D, AH-1Z and F/A-18E/F is scheduled for 2016; with IOC for the MH-60R, OH-58 CASUP and MQ-1C slated for 2017.