Improving Allies’ Defense: US State Department Approves Royal Netherlands Air Force’s Purchase of Cutting-Edge JAGM-158B/B-2 JASSM-ER Cruise Missiles

US State Department Approves Sale of JAGM-158B/B-2 JASSM-ER Cruise Missiles to Royal Netherlands Air Force
US State Department Approves Sale of JAGM-158B/B-2 JASSM-ER Cruise Missiles to Royal Netherlands Air Force

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Netherlands of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range and related equipment for an estimated cost of $908 million. The Government of the Netherlands has requested to buy 120 AGM-158B/B-2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range (JASSM-ER) All-Up-Rounds; 15 AGM-158 Inert JASSMs with Test Instrumentation Kits; 2 AGM-158 JASSM Separation Test Vehicles; 1 AGM-158 Instrumented Test Vehicle; and 2 JASSM Jettison Test Vehicles. Also included are AGM-158 JASSM Dummy Air Training Missiles (DATM); containers; KGV-135A encryption devices; test and integration equipment and support; spare parts, consumables, accessories, logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The proposed sale will improve the Netherlands’ capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its airborne, long-range, precision-strike combat capability. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, FL.

This move is set to bolster the arsenal of the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, enhancing the country’s airborne, long-range, precision-strike capabilities. The Netherlands was the second international partner to receive the F-35, and continues to serve as a key contributor to the production and sustainment of the F-35 Lightning II advanced fighter. The Dutch are making plans to add to their F-35 fleet to increase the nation’s capability and capacity to engage in allied operations. The Dutch program of record is for 52 aircraft. More than 25 suppliers from across Dutch industry are participating in critical technology development and strategic structural design ventures integral to the F-35 program, along with high-volume production, which includes composites, bonded assemblies, and aircraft wiring. The first F-35 RNLAF squadron operates out of Leeuwarden Air Base. In the future, Volkel Air Base will also be home to F-35s.

Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range (JASSM-ER) completed two product verification flight tests at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles with Extended Range (JASSM-ER) completed two product verification flight tests at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a low detection standoff air-launched cruise missile developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States Armed Forces. It is a large, stealthy long-range weapon with a 1,000-pound (450 kg) armor piercing warhead. It completed testing and entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 2009, and has entered foreign service in Australia, Finland, and Poland as of 2014. An extended range version of the missile, the AGM-158B JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range), entered service in 2014 as well as an anti-ship derivative, the AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile), in 2018. By September 2016, Lockheed Martin had delivered 2,000 total JASSMs comprising both variants to the USAF.

The JASSM-ER has 70% hardware commonality and 95% software commonality with the original AGM-158 JASSM. Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the same external dimensions as the JASSM, the JASSM-ER is intended to have a range of over 575 mi (925 km) as compared to the JASSM’s range of about 230 mi (370 km). Other possible improvements were studied but ultimately not pursued, including a submunition dispenser warhead, new types of homing head, and a new engine giving ranges in excess of 620 mi (1,000 km). The first flight test of the JASSM-ER occurred on May 18, 2006 when a missile was launched from a U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The initial platform for the JASSM-ER is the B-1. While both the original JASSM and the JASSM-ER are several inches too long to be carried in the internal weapons bay of the F-35 Lightning II, the F-35 will be able to carry both missiles externally, which would compromise the aircraft’s stealth features.

Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 fighter jet arrived in Bulgaria for NATO Air Policing Task.
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35 fighter jet arrived in Bulgaria for NATO Air Policing Task.

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