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US State Department Approves Sale of AGM-179 Joint Air to Ground Missiles (JAGM) to United Kingdom


US State Department Approves Sale of AGM-179 Joint Air to Ground Missiles (JAGM) to United Kingdom

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M299 HELLFIRE/JAGM Missile Launcher
AGM-179 Joint Air to Ground Missiles (JAGM)

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the United Kingdom of AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM) for an estimated cost of $957.4 million. The Government of the United Kingdom has requested to buy three thousand (3,000) Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM), AGM-179A. The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s capability to meet current and future threats. The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and services into its armed forces. Also included are dummy missiles; technical assistance; publications; integration support; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The principal contractor will be the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orlando, FL.

United States Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper Helicopter Test JAGM on Land Targets
U.S. Marines with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) load AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) onto an AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter. (Photo by (U.S. Marine Corps)

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. The U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps plan to buy thousands of JAGMs. The Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program is a follow-on from the unsuccessful AGM-169 Joint Common Missile program that was cancelled due to budget cuts. JAGM will share basically the same objectives and technologies as JCM but will be developed over a longer time scale. The designation AGM-179 was assigned to the JAGM program. The AGM-179A achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with USMC AH-1Z helicopters in early 2022, clearing the weapon for operational deployment.

M299 HELLFIRE/JAGM Missile Launcher
The M299 Launcher provides an affordable multi-platform, multi-mission capability for the AGM-114 HELLFIRE and the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM). (Photo by Lockheed Martin )

JAGM demonstrated adequate lethality against heavy and light armor, structures, personnel in the open, maritimetargets, and classified counterinsurgency targets. The height of burst is higher than expected when engaging personnel in the open and appears unrelated to surrounding objects or vehicles. The new terminal trajectory angle resulted in improved hit point selection and lethality against maritime targets. Preliminary assessment indicates JAGM lethality as fired from AH-1Z against multi-room structures is comparable to legacy HELLFIRE. The Navy did not demonstrate lethality against personnel behind a triple-brick wall due to a problem with fuse delay timing. Correction of the timing should result in JAGM lethality at least equal to that of HELLFIRE.

U.S. Army testing of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) via an AH-64 Apache Longbow at Cibola Range, Yuma Proving Ground
U.S. Army testing of the AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) via an AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopter at Cibola Range, Yuma Proving Ground. (Photo by U.S. Army)

On 30 August 2022, the JAGM was declared ready for full-rate production. 1,000 missiles had been produced by February 2022, manufacturing at the minimum sustainment rate under low-rate production. Improvements to the JAGM are being developed, such as a medium-range variant with a range of 16 km (10 mi) without changing the missile’s dimensions. On 16 November 2022, Lockheed Martin flight tested the JAGM-Medium Range, or JAGM-MR, which traveled 16 km. The version also incorporates a tri-mode seeker adding an imaging sensor, which was originally a requirement for the missile but was dropped due to cost factors; it was added back in the JAGM-MR as seeker technology became more affordable. Lockheed claims the upgraded capability can be provided at a cost close to the baseline JAGM.

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