According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, Poland is adding a standoff cruise missile capability to its air force, signing an agreement to buy the Lockheed Martin AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) on 11 December 2014.
In addition to the purchase of the missiles, the programme will also include the upgrade of 46 Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft to carry the missiles. Tomasz Siemoniak, Polish minister of national defence and deputy prime minister, stated during the signing ceremony at the 31 Tactical Air Base at Krzesiny (part of the Nowe Miasto district of Poznań, Poland) that «never in Poland’s history have we had such a modern weapon».
Poland is purchasing the new capability as part of an effort to increase its airborne, naval, and land-based long-range strike assets. This is combined with new defensive missile programmes and is intended to deter hostile actions against Poland. These efforts have been given new impetus by the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about Russia’s intentions.
Following the government-to-government letter of offer and acceptance on 11 December 2014, a contract is expected to be awarded to contractor Lockheed Martin in the first quarter of 2015, a company statement said.
The agreement to buy the JASSM follows US Congress approval on 2 October 2014 of the sale of up to 40 of the stealthy cruise missiles and the F-16 upgrade package. According to the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the upgrade process for its F-16s will include the installation of retrofit kits and new software for the aircraft to Mid-Life Update tape M6.5 standard.
According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, IHS reporter, beginning in 2015 two Polish F-16s will have the new software integrated and will conduct flight-trials in the United States. The remaining 44 aircraft will receive the software upgrade and retrofit kits at Polish air bases from the second half of 2016 onwards, when the country also expects to receive its first batch of missiles.
When the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency notified the possible sale of the JASSM to Poland on 17 September, it estimated the maximum cost of the programme at $500 million: a figure that Polish sources previously described as «unacceptably high».
However, Polish deputy defence minister Czeslaw Mroczek, responsible for negotiating the purchase, stated that the price of the contract «was negotiated for a long time, but we received a very good price and the contract includes not only the acquisition of JASSM missiles, but also the development of customized software and training».
JASSM is a long-range, semi-autonomously guided, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. Air Force. Designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets, JASSM’s significant standoff range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems.
A 2,000-pound class weapon with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead, JASSM employs semi-autonomous guidance in adverse weather, day or night, using a state-of-the-art infrared seeker in addition to the anti-jam GPS to find a specific aimpoint on the target. Its stealthy airframe makes it extremely difficult to defeat.
JASSM is integrated on multiple aircraft including the B-1, B-2, B-52, F-16, and F-15E. Internationally, JASSM is certified on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18. Future integration efforts will focus on the U.S. and international versions of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft and other international platforms. With superior performance and affordable price, JASSM offers the best value of any weapon in its class.
- Simple mission planning
- Adverse weather operable
- Global Positioning System/Inertial Measurement Unit guidance
- GPS jam resistant
- Autonomous terminal guidance
- Pinpoint accuracy
- High lethality
- Highly survivable
- Low cost of ownership
- Full loadout on F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, F-15E, B-1, B-2, and B-52 aircraft
- Full aircraft carrier compatibility
JASSM’s design incorporates proven technologies and subsystems into a stealthy air vehicle to meet today’s and tomorrow’s threats
Weight: 2250 lbs./1020.58 kg
Warhead: 1000 lbs./453.59 kg (WDU-42/B)
Length: 168 in/4.267 m
Storage: 15 years
Range: >200 NMI/>370.4 km