Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lockheed JAGM Misses Target in 3rd Test

During Lockheed Martin's latest Joint Air-to-Ground Missile test, an anomaly was detected, causing the missile to miss the target, a company spokeswoman said Sept. 10.

This marks the second miss for the Lockheed team. In the Aug. 3 test, a "minor mechanical anomaly" caused the missile to overfly its target.

Lockheed is competing against a Boeing-Raytheon team in what is viewed as the last American missile competition for some time. Both teams are required to conduct three scored tests this summer to collect data on each mode of the tri-mode seeker.

According to an industry source, the Raytheon team is three for three. The team publicly announced the results of its first two tests, however could not confirm the success of its third test shot until the government approves release of the information, a Raytheon spokesman said.

Lockheed Martin conducted its third JAGM technology demonstration flight test Sept. 10 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The test was designed to demonstrate the missile's millimeter wave radar sensor.

A post-flight analysis is underway to determine the cause, according to the Lockheed spokeswoman.

Lockheed had a successful first test of its sensor's semi-active laser mode. The Aug. 3 test was to demonstrate the sensor's imaging infrared mode.

The millimeter wave and imaging infrared tests will be rescheduled and conducted once range time is available, the Lockheed spokeswoman said.

"The goal of the flight test portion of the technology demonstration phase is to collect sensor data and technical information, which was successfully accomplished during all three tests," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail message. "We look forward to conducting the FA-18 captive carry data collection flight tests later this year."

JAGM, the successor program to the canceled Joint Common Missile, is intended to replace Hellfire and Maverick missiles for the Army and Navy. The missile will be carried by rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, including the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Army's AH-64D Apache helicopter, the Marine Corps' AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopter, the Navy's MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and the Army's Extended Range Multi Purpose unmanned aircraft system. The services also aim to integrate the missile on the Air Force's F-35 and other aircraft.

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