The U.S. Air Force fiscal 2022 budget requests nearly $711 million for 525 Lockheed Martin [LMT] Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Munitions Extended Range (JASSM-ER)–an increase of almost $211 million and 125 missiles from the fiscal 2021 congressionally funded amount.
The service said that the 525 represent the highest possible, yearly production level–“max production.”
The proposal would fund amounts for three JASSM-ER variants–280 of the $1 million AGM-158B–a decrease of 80 weapons from fiscal 2021; 210 of the $1.1 million AGM-158B-2, an increase of 170 from fiscal 2021; and first production of 35 $1.5 million, 1,000 nautical mile range AGM-158D “extreme range” JASSM-ERs.
Awards for the three variants to be built at Lockheed Martin’s Troy, Ala. plant are expected in March next year, and deliveries under the new contracts are to start in October, 2024 for the AGM-158B and February, 2025 for the AGM-158B-2 and AGM-158D.
In addition to JASSM-ER, the Air Force proposes an increase in other advanced, long-range weapons programs to deter Russia and China.
The service requested $399 million in research and development for the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air Launch Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) in fiscal 2022, including $161 million to buy the first 12 missiles (Defense Daily, May 18). ARRW is to be the nation’s first hypersonic weapon and is to achieve an “early operational capability” next year after a contract award in January, per the Air Force.
The Boeing [BA] AGM-157 Massive Ordnance Pentrator (MOP)–a 20 foot, 30,000-pound bomb to destroy hard and deeply buried targets, is to receive a $15.5 million upgrade in fiscal 2022 for integration of Military Code (M-Code) receivers with enhanced anti-jam prowess to survive in anti-access/area denial environments. Northrop Grumman [NOC] B-2 stealth bombers are able to carry the MOP.
The Air Force plans to buy 1,919 Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) for $124 million in fiscal 2022, a sharp decrease of the congressionally enacted $460 million to buy 16,800 in fiscal 2021.
The service said that it reduced the JDAM buy in part due to the existing inventory of the weapon, which is integrated on all bombers and a number of fighters, but not yet on the General Atomics MQ-9 Predator, nor the Lockheed Martin F-35.
Air Force Gen. Arnold Bunch, the head of Air Force Materiel Command, told the Defense Writers Group last week that the service has replenished its JDAM inventory and that foreign military sales will help sustain the industrial base.
“What we’ve done over the last number of years is we’ve invested in those [munitions], and we’re not dropping as many now, and we’ve built those stockpiles back up to a level so we can maybe not buy as many as we were,” he said, referring to the JDAM’s extensive use during Operation Inherent Resolve.
In addition, “we were told, ‘Invest in the future,’ higher end,” Bunch said. “We’ve invested more in JASSM-ER. We are investing in other areas. We’ve got money going into ARRW. There are things we’re doing to get after that ‘high end’ that we’re taking some of that money out of what we were doing with those platforms we were using in Afghanistan and Iraq and that region, and now we’re investing them in the higher end fight.”
Under an Urgent Operational Need, the Air Force is buying Strategic Anti-Jam Beamforming Receiver Y-Code (SABR-Y) guidance kits–an interim step to buying and fielding M-Code guidance kits, starting with JDAM Lot 27, an award that is to come in fiscal 2023.
The Air Force also plans to insert SABR-Y on Boeing’s 250 pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). The service requested about $83 million for 998 SDBs in fiscal 2022–a decrease from the $95 million for 2,462 SDBs that Congress funded in fiscal 2021.