The AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is an American military program to develop an air-to-surface missile to replace the current air-launched BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire, and AGM-65 Maverick missiles.
Continuing the legacy of superior precision engagement performance, Lockheed Martin’s Joint-Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) is ready for full rate production.
On August 30, 2022, the U.S. Army approved the JAGM system to enter full rate production (FRP). This decision showcases the maturation of the JAGM program and the Army’s confidence in JAGM’s long-term production and sustainment capabilities.
The FRP decision enables Lockheed Martin to produce the JAGM system in higher quantities for its customers without restrictions. The milestone also marks the successful completion of operational testing of JAGM on the US Army’s AH-64E Apache and the Marine Corps’ AH-1Z Viper helicopters.
“JAGM has repeatedly proven that it can be counted on when it matters most, providing mission-focused offensive and defense capabilities and maintaining a competitive edge against any potential adversaries,” says Jerry Brode, vice president of Close Combat Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The program’s full rate production milestone speaks volumes to how JAGM’s precision and combat effectiveness continues to provide 21st Century Solutions in an ever-evolving threat environment.”
JAGM will replace the legacy Lockheed Martin-made HELLFIRE Romeo and HELLFIRE Longbow missiles. JAGM is a multi-sensor air-to-ground missile that is backward compatible to the M299 launcher and, with appropriate integration upgrades, to all platforms (air, ground and maritime) that currently employ HELLFIRE or Longbow missiles.
JAGM combines its dual-mode seeker with the combat-proven HELLFIRE missile bus to take precision engagement to the next level.
“JAGM’s advanced capabilities and increased commonality positions its users to maintain a competitive advantage over the threats of today and tomorrow,” says Joey Drake, program management director of Air-to-Ground Missile Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The full rate production decision demonstrates that the program has not only reached a maturation point, but it also is a vote of confidence from the Army in the product.”
The multi-mode guidance section offers enhanced performance on the battlefield. The dual-mode sensor combines improved Semi-Active Laser (SAL) and millimeter wave (MMW) radar sensors providing precision strike and fire-and-forget capability against stationary and moving land and maritime and even airborne targets. This seeker enables JAGM users to strike multiple targets, near simultaneously, with more precision in adverse weather and obscured battlefield conditions which increases user survivability and effectiveness.
JAGM boosts increased commonality with rotor-wing and fixed-wing platforms across the services including the AH-64, MQ-1C, AH-1Z and potentially, MQ-9, MH-60R/S, LCS and M-SHORAD. JAGM provides increased lethality and operational flexibility to all platforms.
To stay ahead of adversary advancement, Lockheed Martin is also investing in future JAGM product improvements including increasing JAGM’s range out to 16 km in the JAGM-Medium Range variant. JAGM-MR nearly doubles JAGM’s current range without impacting JAGM’s length or diameter. This significant increase in capability optimizes JAGM for multi-domain operations.
JAGM has proven its combat effectiveness and system maturity through several rounds of flight tests and production evaluations.
In June 2018, JAGM achieved Milestone C and entered into Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP). The program successfully conducted supplier and prime contractor production readiness reviews, and showcased its reliability and combat performance through multiple flight tests. Throughout LRIP, Lockheed Martin produced JAGM in limited quantities to establish a production base and allow for operational testing and evaluation of the system.
In March 2019, JAGM received Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the U.S. Army’s AH-64E Apache Helicopters. In March 2022, JAGM received IOC on the U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper reconnaissance and attack helicopter. These milestones followed the successful completion of an initial test and evaluation period.
On February 16, the 1,000th JAGM was produced at Pike County Operations, and it was then delivered to the Army. This significant production milestone was another step toward the FRP decision.
“This decision represents the hard work by many to continue to not only deliver performance excellence by building a transformative product with modernized capabilities, but to also integrate a long-term growth mindset for the program,” says Brode. “The increased JAGM production supports the program’s efforts to increase its inventory and also paves the way for future discussions on how the company can position the program to potential international customers.”
The JAGM FRP decision is a huge milestone for this next-generation program. Increased production capabilities will allow the program to deliver JAGM to domestic, and eventually international, customers quicker and at higher rates.
JAGM has over 95 percent reliability in flight testing and is manufactured on the active HELLFIRE® missile family production line by the same team that produced over 125,000 missiles. Because of this, JAGM continues to be the weapon of choice in critical, precision engagement opportunities.