WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has approved a potential $957.4 million sale of Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles to the United Kingdom, according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement.
The U.K. intends to buy 3,000 Lockheed Martin-developed JAGMs — or AGM-197A missiles — the announcement states. It notes Congress must now approve the sale.
The U.S. Army and the Marine Corps in August 2022 declared JAGM ready for full-rate production. The services had delayed the missile’s fielding by more than a year after the weapon previously failed to achieve desired lethal effects on a maritime target.
JAGM will replace Lockheed-made Hellfire missiles aboard American aircraft and will first be fielded on AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper helicopters.
While the Army and the Marine Corps are the first adopters of the capability, the U.K. in 2021 signed on to purchase JAGM. In the last year, Poland and the Netherlands have both announced plans to buy JAGM.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has been working on upgrading JAGM. The company announced in December 2022 it had conducted a flight test of a version with double the range, traveling 16 kilometers at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California.
The company also incorporated a tri-mode seeker that pairs a low-cost imaging sensor with the seeker’s semi-active laser and millimeter wave sensors. The U.S. Army originally required the JAGM weapon to have a tri-mode seeker, but returned to a dual-mode seeker requirement when the price was too high. Since then, tri-mode seeker technology has become more affordable.
Lockheed also said in summer 2022 it was evaluating how JAGM could be configured for mobile, short-range air defense launched from ground platforms.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.