Lockheed Martin has been selected to develop the Joint Common Missile (JCM) system, a next generation air-to-ground missile that will be carried on US Armed Forces rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.
The contract is worth approximately $5 billion over the life of the program. Lockheed Martin received an initial contract valued at $53 million to commence work on the program’s system design and development (SDD) phase.
The systems design and development contract includes a 14 month risk reduction phase and a 36 month test and integration phase to ready the JCM for initial production. The first JCMs are expected to be employed by US armed forces in 2010.
The US Army, Navy and Marine Corps are expected to purchase up to 54,000 JCM rounds to replace the Longbow/Hellfire missiles on the Apache, Cobra, and Strikehawk helicopters and the Maverick missile on the F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter. Britain’s Ministry of Defence has also expressed potential interest in co-developing and producing the new missile.
The design and development of the JCM will be performed at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida. The missiles will be produced at Lockheed’s advanced missile manufacturing facility in Troy, Alabama.
JCM has a multi-purpose warhead that delivers a highly lethal shaped- charge to destroy advanced armoured targets. It also delivers a blast fragmentation capability to destroy ships, buildings, bunkers and other “soft” targets by penetrating them with a precursor warhead and then detonating a time-delayed main warhead to incapacitate the target from within.