Air Weapons: December 7, 2004

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The U.S. Air Force has ordered 288 AFM-158 JASSM missiles. These 2,300 pound weapons cost $389,000 each and are basically 1,000 pound JDAMS (GPS guided bombs) with a motor added. JASSM has a range of 350 kilometers and is designed to go after enemy air defense systems, or targets deep in heavily defended (against air attack) enemy territory. The air force and navy plan to buy over 5,000 JASSM, but there has been some opposition in the military and in Congress. The missiles are ten times as expensive as a JADM bomb of the same weight. But the aviators make the argument that many aircraft and pilots would be lost if the air defenses of a nation like, perhaps China, were attacked without using JASSM.

 


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