Of all missiles fired at Syria during the airstrike last week, one that caught attention was Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range or JASSM-ER. This is arguably one of the most well-equipped missiles today, which has now become part of the U.S. arsenal. The Air Force and U.S. Navy launched a total of 57 long-range missiles, all of which had successfully hit the targets although Russia claimed that some weren’t successful.
Each one of the ammunitions carried a half-ton explosive warhead. The new missile was never involved in any combat until recently. Although the B-1B is a capable bomber itself, it has a hard time catching up with modern air defenses. It now requires standoff weapons to deal with rough situations. Russia has its own advanced missiles like the S-400 and S-300V4 which are known for their long ranges. This is when standoff missiles are required, so that the bomber doesn’t need to get too close to the target.
The AGM-158 JASSM began as a program to create a cruise missile that could hit a target precisely in a heavily protected area. It’s made of several components, one of which is the 454 kg blast fragmentation warhead, which puts its total weight at around 1,200 kg. It’s incredibly capable for day and night, not to mention that the missile is also designed weather-resistant. There are other significant components, such as digital anti-jam GPS receiver and Inertial Navigation System.
With all these capabilities, the JASSM-ER makes a perfect addition to a non-stealthy aircraft which can easily be detected by current technology. There is no denying that the B-1B is powerful, but it could be pointless in heavily defended airspace. The new strike missile has a range of over 600 nautical miles. It’s not only effective for air combat, but the U.S. Navy can also utilize it to protect the country against threats coming from the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles.