Air Force News

Competing JASSM contractors chosen

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Two defense contractors were chosen to compete in the program definition and risk reduction phase of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile program June 17.

The contractors, Lockheed-Martin Integrated Systems of Orlando, Fla., and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace of St. Louis, Mo., were announced at a Pentagon press briefing by Arthur Money, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

JASSM is a joint Air Force and Navy program that will provide an autonomous, long range conventional air-to-ground precision missile. Air Force is the lead service for the program, which is managed by an Air Force and Navy joint program office located at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The companies were awarded cost-plus, fixed-fee contracts totaling $237.4 million, and will compete in head-to-head competition over the next 24 months. At the end of this phase, the Department of Defense will select one of the contractors to complete development and production of at least 2,400 JASSMs at a total program cost of approximately $3 billion.

"JASSM represents an aggressive acquisition approach using virtually every acquisition reform initiative known to date," Money said. "The Air Force and Navy, working together ... should be complimented for teaming, together with all five contractors, in structuring this acquisition approach and this program."

The two services developed an aggressive acquisition approach that reflects the intent to develop, produce, and initially deploy JASSMs within the next five years, Money said. To minimize overall program risk, JASSM leverages existing technologies, readily available components and previous weapon system developments to the maximum extent possible.

"JASSM represents a radical departure from the old ways of doing acquisition business and will become the pathfinder to the new way of doing business for the Air Force and the Navy users," Money said.

JASSM's acquisition approach is based on precepts of acquisition reform and the concept of cost as an independent variable. Instead of mandating requirements supported by countless military specifications, the JASSM program has only three key performance parameters: range, missile mission effectiveness and carrier operability, Money said. All other requirements are tradable to obtain a missile below the threshold average unit price of $700,000 per missile.

The JASSM requirements and cost goals evolved over the past year in an unprecedented partnership with industry, the joint warfighters, and the DOD acquisition community, he said.