Ran in The Weaponeer on 4 February 1999

JSOW scores first combat success

By Kathi Ramont
Associate Editor
One of the first combat-ready JSOWs hangs from the outboard weapon station on an F/A-18 aboard USS Carl Vinson before a strike sortie over Iraq.
Three successful Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) AGM-154A missions were conducted in the Persian Gulf area during the week of Jan. 24 by an on-station Carrier Air Group. "The revolution in strike warfare has begun," wrote NAWCWD's new commander Capt. Bert Johnston, who is also the program manager for Conventional Strike Weapons, in a message to the JSOW Team. "Three JSOW were launched against targets in Iraq, and reports are that all were successful."

JSOW, conceived at the Weapons Division, is a family of low cost, air-to-ground weapons that employ a Global Positioning System-aided inertial navigation system.

Johnston sent the following message after the missiles deployment. "All of us wish for peace, but understand the world is a dangerous place and military intervention is a sometime necessity. You should all be very proud of your contribution to providing this extraordinary capability to the warfighter. The use of JSOW will most certainly save the lives of some of our men and women at the pointed end of the spear. Your efforts will affect the outcome of future battles."

"Response from the fleet has been extremely favorable," said Scott Weed, JSOW's project director, "and attention is focused on the use of these weapons at the highest levels in the Navy and in the theater of operations."

Two NAWCWD employees, LCdr. Mike Murphy, JSOW's project officer assigned to the China Lake Weapons Test Squadron, and Clyde Swasey, JSOW's logistics manager, were onboard the carrier to help train aircrews on the weapon's operation and functionality. According to Weed, Murphy was instrumental in identifying the need for a mission planning software program release version that was not on the ship but was needed to support JSOW. "Murphy personally hand-carried this crucial and classified mission planning software program to USS Carl Vinson and instructed aircrews in its use," Weed said.

These JSOWs were provided as a part of an urgent request by COMNAVAIRPAC and are the first production assets provided to the fleet, said Weed. The weapons were designed, built and delivered by Raytheon Systems Company, Lewisville, Texas, and based on the urgency of the request, transferred from their holding area at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Okla., to the carrier within 24 days.

NAVAIR's PMA-201, and the NAWCWD JSOW Team, helped by providing the weapons in-theater within the unusually short turnaround of three weeks through establishment of priorities, extensive coordination, and working shipping and logistics issues, Weed explained. "This is a significant accomplishment," he added.

JSOW has a range capability to satisfy standoff requirements for attacking interdiction targets from outside enemy point defenses. Weed also said that area commanders involved in the recent mission described the weapon as an "awesome new capability," and that it will revolutionize the way we [the Navy] prosecute targets.

The missile has also recently accomplished a significant program milestone -- on Jan. 21, PEO(T) issued a message which declared initial operational capability for JSOW's newest, the AGM-154A.