Air Force

Will Poland Become The First Foreign Nation To Acquire the JASSM-ER Missiles?

  • Centrum Wystawienniczo - Kongresowe w Jasionce pod Rzeszowem, gdzie odbędzie się pierwszy Europejski Kongres Robotyczny, fot. Michał Bosek/UMWP

Poland is making efforts to acquire the JASSM-ER cruise missiles, the range of which exceeds 900 kilometers. The above means that Warsaw may become the first foreign purchaser of the latest variant of the JASSM missile, which is currently being introduced into use in the US Air Force.

Polish Ministry of Defence is currently in the process of inter-governmental negotiations, pertaining to acquisition of a batch of JASSM-ER missiles, within the scope of the FMS system. JASSM-ER missiles for Poland could come from the Loot 16, while Loot 15 procurements are already planned and negotiated. This means that the weapons could possibly be delivered to Poland by 2020.

AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles, with expanded range exceeding 900 kilometres, are currently integrated solely with the B-1B Lancer aircraft. Nonetheless, soon they will also be adopted for use on the B52H bombers and F-15 and F-16 jet fighters. In the light of the fact that the F-16 jet is not a priority platform for the United States Air Force, if Poland decides to acquire the ER variant of the American Missile, then the Polish F-16 jets may become the first Vipers integrated with the latest JASSM variant. This would require additional works to be carried out, due to the differences between the two variants of the weapon.

Read More: JASSM For Poland. Is it worth to pay the price?

The long range variant has a fuselage of the same dimensions, however, it is characterized by a little bit different weight and balancing specifications. This is because the missile utilizes a new propulsion system and carries more fuel, facilitating the doubled range. Nevertheless, the above changes would require to check the balancing and stress resistance of the airframe which carries such missile, also within a series of test flights.

Acquisition of the JASSM-ER missile has been planned, most probably, from the very beginning of existence of the Polish JASSM procurement plans and modernization of the F-16 Jastrząb jets, assuming that Tape M 6.5 upgrade would be implemented. This could be interpreted as one of the reasons for acquisition of only 40 missiles in their basic variant, back in 2014. If Poland also orders the JASSM-ER missiles, operational capabilities of the F-16 jets would be greatly enhanced. Poland, should this be the case, would become the first foreign user of the ordnance in question.