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USN axes JSOW ER in favour of JASSM-ER buy

The US Navy (USN) has scrapped plans to develop a powered, extended range (ER) variant of the Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW).

Revealing the decision in the fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request, the navy will instead procure a variant of Lockheed Martin's AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) cruise missile to meet both strike and offensive anti-surface warfare (OASuW) requirements. This so-called Navy JASSM will also leverage from the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), itself a JASSM-ER derivative.

A planned evolution of the AGM-154 glide bomb, JSOW ER had been coveted by the USN to confer a capability to strike stationary land targets, mobile land targets, and moving maritime targets from outside the envelope of modern surface-to-air missile threats. The JSOW ER design incorporated a Pratt & Whitney TJ-150 turbojet engine, together with avionics upgrades and improved software, to enable operations at tactical ranges beyond 200 n miles. Additionally, the JSOW ER capability would support the navy's plan to field a new generation of network-enabled weapons.

In February 2019 the Naval Air System Command announced its intention to award a sole-source contract to Raytheon for the technology maturation risk-reduction and engineering, manufacturing, and development for JSOW ER. The USN had been targeting an Early Operational Capability for JSOW ER in FY 2024 on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; the service had also intended to field the AGM-154E on the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter (the weapon being sized to fit inside the aircraft's internal weapon bays).

However, the service's FY 2022 budget request has zero-funded JSOW ER development, with the USN stating that it “has decided not to pursue JSOW ER capability”. Instead, the service has outlined plans to procure a JASSM-ER derived capability to enhance long-range strike and existing OASuW capability.

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