JASSM Launch & Leave
Subsonic Cruise Missile Design

Air Force Armament Team News Connection, Eglin AFB (Special Edition - 1999)

The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is an all-up-round weapon system stored in its own container. The missile weighs a maximum of 2250 pounds and is 168 inches long and approximately 18 inches in diameter.

JASSM provides the warfighter a unique, adverse weather, autonomous "launch-and-leave," precision guided munition. JASSM is a low observable, highly survivable, subsonic cruise missile deigned to penetrate next generation air defense systems encountered en route to its assigned target. The missile enables the delivery platform to standoff outside enemy area defenses. The weapon's precise attack capabilities enable JASSM to place high value, fixed relocateable point targets at risk while minimizing aircrew and launch platform exposure to enemy air defense systems. Potential JASSM targets range from non-hardened above ground to hardened, shallow buried targets. The missile carries a 1000-pound class, hardened, penetrating warhead. The warhead's penetration capability is comparable to the BLU-109/B. The missile employs an infrared seeker system with missile system accuracy of less than three meters. The missile's mid-course navigation and a back-up mode for terminal guidance is the missile's Global Positioning System (GPS)/inertial navigation system (INS). The INS/GPS back-up terminal guidance capability provides an accuracy of less than 13 meters. Future JASSM objectives include the integration of a cluster-type warhead; the ability to attack more deeply buried, hardened targets; and the ability to carry special warhead payloads.

JASSM will be integrated on a number of fighter and bomber aircraft. Aircraft integration objectives are to maximize aircraft carriage capabilities with no additional hardware modifications and to minimize unique suspension equipment configurations. Integration activities will utilize existing off-the-shelf lanyards/extractor assemblies before any attempts to develop JASSM-unique assemblies take place. Additionally, JASSM lanyards/extractor assemblies are common to all aircraft to the maximum extent possible. Any JASSM stand-offs/fittings shall be capable of supporting other certified Military Standard (MIL-STD)-1760 munitions to minimize reconfiguration efforts and aircraft turn-times.

The JASSM mission planning concept is unique in its design when compared to existing cruise missile systems. JASSM mission planning is a software-centered, multi-platform capability and is not dependent on a "stovepipe" system or a "contractor-unique" solution.

JASSM paves the way for less expensive, direct attack weapons. The missile will be employed heavily in the Defense Planning Guidance "rapidly defeat the enemy's initial attack" phase of a conflict before air superiority is established. In the subsequent stages of conflict, the missile would be employed against selected high value targets remaining heavily defended. JASSM acts as a force multiplier. The missile's effectiveness reduces the number of weapons required to destroy a target, the number of sorties required, and friendly attrition by lowering the number of weapons required to directly attack high threat target sets.

Shrinking force structure, increasing tasking, improving threats and the need to conserve precious lives and assets drive a demand for a standoff, precision strike capability in the conduct of 21st Century air operations. JASSM combines several key attributes not available in other cruise missiles needed to satisfy these needs: cost effectiveness, accuracy, flexibility and responsiveness from a tasking perspective, and high survivability.