The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOW) is part of a family of low-cost, air-to-surface glide missiles manufactured by Raytheon. It was developed primarily for the US armed forces. It is also operated by armed forces in Australia, Finland, Greece, Poland, Singapore and Turkey.
More than 400 JSOWs have been used in combat operations, of which more than 300 missiles were launched during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The AGM-154 was also deployed in Operation Desert Fox, Operation Southern Watch, NATO’s Operation Allied Force, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Development history of the Joint Standoff Weapon
The JSOW was originally developed by Defence Systems & Electronics division of Texas Instruments in 1995, under a joint programme between the US Navy and the US Air Force. Texas Instruments was acquired by Raytheon in January 1997.
Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) of the JSOW was commenced by the US Navy in February 1997. The missile entered operational service in January 1999.
AGM-154 JSOW variants
The JSOW family includes a range of weapon variants. The AGM-154A is a baseline variant equipped with 145 BLU-97 sub-munitions. The missile variant is capable of engaging stationed aircraft, trucks, armoured vehicles and surface-to-air missile platforms.
The AGM-154A-1 is an improved version of the AGM-154A, which additionally carries a BLU-111 warhead.
The AGM-154B is equipped with six BLU-108B/B canisters, which can launch four anti-armour sub-munitions against mobile area targets.
The AGM-154C version employs a 500lb Broach multi-stage warhead against fixed-point targets. The missile variant was authorised for full-rate production in December 2004 and accomplished initial operational capability in February 2005.
The JSOW C-1 is a modified variant of JSOW C. The US Navy successfully completed the first free-flight test of the C-1 in August 2011. The C-1 achieved the initial operational capability in 2016.
AGM-154 design features
The JSOW incorporates a low-signature/stealth design. The modular weapon body allows the integration of new sensors, warheads and sub-munitions. The stealth features enhance the survivability of the missile to strike actively defended targets. The payload bay can house lethal and non-lethal loads.
The missile can be launched during both the day and night, as well as adverse weather conditions. Its long standoff range ensures launch from outside the lethal envelope of most hostile air defence systems. The missile can reach up to a kinematic range of 130km when launched from an altitude of 40,000ft.
The JSOW has a length of 4.1m, wingspan of 2.69m and a diameter of 33.02cm (box-shaped, on a side). The weight of the missile is about 475kg.
Guidance and navigation
The JSOW is guided towards its targets by a highly integrated global positioning system (GPS) or inertial navigation system (INS). The AGM-154C variant is additionally equipped with a terminal imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance.
The missile can be launched from both high and low altitudes. It accurately navigates towards the target through selected waypoints. It receives the targeting information in preplanned mode from the cockpit of the launched aircraft. Onboard sensors or other third-party targeting assets provide information after the launch.
The JSOW C-1 variant is equipped with a two-way strike common weapon datalink (SCWDL) for striking moving marine targets.
The JSOW-ER, a powered version of the JSOW, is operated by a Hamilton-Sundstrand TJ-150 engine. The engine can be easily integrated on the back section of the JSOW, and provides an extended range of 300nmi. The free-flight demonstration of the missile was successfully completed in November 2009.
The JSOW can be launched from air force, navy or marine aircraft. The missile is integrated on the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18, AV-8B Harrier, B-2 Spirit and B-52 bomber, and A-10 aircraft.
The JSOW is also being integrated with the base F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter and the carrier-based F-35C aircraft. The missile can be carried in the internal carriage bay of the F-35 aircraft. The aircraft-compatible design of the missile reduces integration costs for future aircraft.
AGM-154A (baseline JSOW)
The warhead of the AGM-154A consists of 145 BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb (CEB) submunitions. These bomblets have a shaped charge for armor defeating capability, a fragmenting case for material destruction, and a zirconium ring for incendiary effects.
The warhead for the AGM-154B is the BLU-108/B from the Air Force’s Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) program. The JSOW B was to carry six BLU-108/B submunitions. Each submunition releases four projectiles (total of 24 per weapon) that use infrared sensors to detect targets. When a submunition detects that it is aligned with a target, it fires, creating an explosively formed penetrator capable of defeating vehicle armor. This program concluded development but the Navy decided not to procure the weapon.
AGM-154C (unitary variant)
The AGM-154C uses an Imaging Infrared (IIR) terminal seeker with autonomous guidance. The AGM-154C carries the BROACH warhead. This two stage 225 kg (500 lb) warhead is made up from a WDU-44 shaped augmenting warhead and a WDU-45 follow through bomb. The weapon is designed to attack hardened targets. It entered service with the US Navy in February 2005.
Production and upgrades
Full rate production started on December 29, 1999. In June 2000 Raytheon was contracted to develop an enhanced electronics package for the JSOW to prevent electronic spoofing of GPS signals. This ultimately resulted in the JSOW Block II weapon, incorporating multiple cost reduction initiatives in addition to the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) capability. JSOW Block II was scheduled to begin production in March 2007.
The JSOW contains a modular control and deployment interface that allows future enhancement and additional configurations since it is likely that additional variants will emerge. The basic airframe is advertised as a “truck” and the JSOW-as-a-truck capability is widely advertised. Raytheon has placed a tremendous investment in the JSOW program and will certainly try to extend the Department of Defense contracts for as long as possible with system upgrades and repackagings for new missions and targets.
JSOW Block III (JSOW-C1)
The AGM-154C-1 was scheduled to begin production in 2009. The first three launches were conducted in August 2011 from an F/A-18F. The JSOW-C1 completed integrated test and evaluations in January 2015, moving on to operational tests. The C1 version is slated for delivery in 2016. It achieved Initial Operating Capability on 22 June 2016. On 11 October 2017 the Department of the Navy declared the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 ready for full operational capability.
In addition, the AGM-154A-1 configuration is under development by Raytheon for FMS sales. This version replaces the submunition payload of the AGM-154A with a BLU-111 warhead to enhance blast-fragmentation effects without the unexploded ordnance (UXO) concerns with the BLU-97/B payload.
Powered JSOW (JSOW-ER)
A Pratt & Whitney TJ-150 turbojet engine for a powered JSOW is being tested. This variant is named JSOW-ER, where “ER” is for “extended range”. JSOW-ER will increase range from 130 to 560 kilometres (70 to 300 nmi). In February, 2019, the US Navy announced that it would issue a sole-source contract to Raytheon to build an improved JSOW-ER to be placed in service by the end of FY2023.
|Mass||483 to 497 kg (1,065 to 1,095 lb)|
|Length||410 cm (160 in)|
|Diameter||330 mm (13 in)|
|Warhead||BLU-97/B – Combined Effects Bomblets (JSOW A)
BLU-108 – Sensor fused weapon (JSOW B – now cancelled)
BROACH multi-stage warhead (JSOW C)
|Wingspan||270 cm (106 in)|
|low altitude release: 22 kilometres (12 nmi)
high altitude release: 130 kilometres (70 nmi)
|Inertial Navigation System coupled with Global Positioning System, terminal Infrared homing (AGM-154C Only)|
- Australian Air Force – AGM-154C upgraded to Block III
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United States