The Joint Common
Missile (JCM) system is the next generation air-to-ground missile
designed to replace the Longbow,
Hellfire, and Maverick in U.S.
Armed Forces inventory. The missile will be carried by rotary- and
fixed-wing platforms as well as selected ground platforms. The
program's cost is estimated at $5 billion dollars over the life of
the program. Initial fielding of the JCM is expected by 2010. The
JCM will offer extended engagement ranges, compared to existing
missiles. When launched from high speed attack aircraft such as
the F/A-18, the JCM will be able to engage targets at 28 km and up
to 16 km when launched from helicopters (twice as the current
Hellfire II). Every F/A-18 will be able to carry up to four JCMs
per wing station (each rack will mount two missiles).
The U.S. Army, Navy
and Marine Corps are expected to procure up to 54,000 JCM rounds
at a total cost of $5 billion, 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, The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence has
also expressed potential interest in co-developing and producing
the new missile.
JCM will be equipped
with a tri-mode seeker combining semi-active
laser (SAL), passive
imaging infrared (IIR) and active millimeter wave radar (MMW).
SAL seekers will be employed for precision-strike, single-shot
kill with optional "man in the loop" capability, where low
collateral damage are required. Thermal imaging seekers are
considered for passive, fire-and-forget engagements, where
countermeasure resistance is required.
MMW seekers will be used for
engagements of dispersed, multiple targets, under adverse weather
conditions. In December 2004 the tri-mode seeker was tested
against small littoral targets. During 125 test-runs the JCM
deployed the I2R and MMW seeker modes targeting Boghammar class
FPBs which performed high speed and evasion maneuvers in calm and
high sea (up to sea state 3). In previous tests, conducted in 2003
the JCM seeker was successfully demonstrated its capability to
engage larger vessels.
warhead is designed by General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical
Systems (OTS). It will integrate a shaped-charge which will defeat
all advanced armored threats and a blast fragmentation explosive
charge, activated by a multi-mode delay fuse, built by Perkin
Elmer Optoelectronics, which will penetrate the outer skin of
"soft" targets and explode inside targets such as boats, vehicles,
buildings and bunkers. Both capabilities are currently addressed
by different warheads provided for the Hellfire II shaped charge
and Blast Fragmentation warheads.
The JCM uses a single
two-stage rocket motor produced by Aerojet and Roxel which
provides the boost and sustain thrusts (at a ratio of 20:1) to
accelerate and maintain missile's cruising speed over a long
distance and wide temperature extremes of both rotary- and
fixed-wing environments. Both rocket motor and warhead are
designed as an "insensitive munitions", to prevent sympathetic
explosion when subject to nearby explosions, impact by small arms
or fragment or exposed to intense fire.
In December 23, 2004 the pentagon
announced plans for saving of $30 billion between 2005 and 2011.
Among the programs cancelled due to these cuts is the $2.4 billion
funding for the JCM program. Raytheon is proposing a follow-on
program - Precision Attack Air-launched Surface Missile (PAASM),
utilizing multi-mode seeker technology from the
PAM and some technologies developed for