The strike on chemical weapons facilities in Syria has allowed the United States to demonstrate the capabilities of a new class of cruise missile. The AGM-158B JASSM-ER has stealth capabilities, and is accurate to within 10 feet. The biggest advantage, though, is an increase in range. The new missiles can be launched from nearly 600 miles away.
“The AGM-158B JASSM-ER missile was fired from B-1B Lancer bombers over the Mediterranean at a chemical weapons factory in Barzah in northern Damascus,” The Daily Mail writes.
The B-1B was just one part of the U.S. assault this past weekend. In total, 85 missiles were fired by three U.S. destroyers, planes, and a submarine.
“The new [AGM-158B JASSM-ER] is an extended range (ER) version of a Joint Air-To-Surface Munition (JASSM), with two-and-a-half times the range, and has been operational since 2014 but never before fired in combat,” DM notes.
Before the airstrike, the Syrian regime promised that their missile defenses would take down any incoming threats. The Syrians have a Russian built S-400 system that is intended to protect Damascus.
After the attack, Russian media claimed that Russia down 71 missiles. The Pentagon reports that all of the missiles fired by the U.S., the U.k. and France found their intended targets.
That means 19 of the new JASSM-ERs struck Barzah. The cost for these new missiles isn’t cheap. They run $1.4million each.
The new Lockheed Martin JASSM-ER comes in at 25 inches wide. Each weighs 2,000 pounds. The warhead weighs 1,00 pounds. They have a shelf-life of 15 years. The biggest advantage, though, is the extended range, estimated at 575 miles. This allows air crews to deploy the missiles from greater distances, farther from the enemy.
“JASSM-ER shares the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics of the baseline JASSM, but with more than two-and-a-half times the range,” Lockheed brags.
“This additional reach allows Warfighters to deploy JASSM-ER against high-value, well-fortified, fixed and relocateable targets while remaining clear of highly defended airspace and long-range surface-to-air missiles.”