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US State Department approves possible JASSM-ER sale to Japan

Japan intends to equip its fleet of Mitsubishi-Boeing F-15Js with AGM-158B/B-2 JASSM-ERs for stand-off attacks. Other aircraft in the JASDF, such as transport aircraft, could also be armed with missiles. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Department of State has approved a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of AGM-158B/B-2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range (JASSM-ER) to Japan.

The 28 August announcement follows a Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) disclosure that it is trying to develop and procure a stand-off missile launch system for transport aircraft. Janes has assessed that the JASSM-ER is one of the missiles that could be used to arm transport aircraft.

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the proposed sale will provide a stand-off capability for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF's) Mitsubishi-Boeing F-15J fleet. However, the DSCA added that the missile's employment is “not limited to the F-15J”.

The proposed sale has a value of USD104 million. This includes up to 50 AGM-158B/B-2 missiles, JASSM Anti-jam Global Positioning System (GPS) Receivers (JAGRs), training missiles, and missile containers, plus munitions support and support equipment. The DSCA said it delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on 28 August.

According to Janes data, the AGM‐158B is an improved, extended-range variant of the AGM‐158A. It shares the same body and capabilities as the JASSM-Baseline (BL), including 70% of its hardware and 95% of its software. However, the AGM-158B variant has an extended range (more than two‐and‐a‐half times that of the JASSM-BL).

The B-2 version of the missile is a further improvement with a new wing assembly, which gives the B-2 version a stand-off range in excess of 1,000 km, according to Janes

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