Military

US Navy’s ‘First’ Air-to-Ground Network-Enabled Weapon Reaches Full Operational Capability

By S.L. Fuller | October 18, 2017

A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 impacts a target during a flight test in March 2016 at Point Mugu Sea Test Range, Calif. (U.S. Navy photo)

A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 impacts a target during a flight test in March 2016 at Point Mugu Sea Test Range, Calif. (U.S. Navy photo)

The U.S. Navy’s Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 is ready for full operational capability, the service recently declared. All U.S. squadrons are outfitted with the air-to-ground network-enable weapon that can attack stationary land and moving maritime targets. According to the Navy, this solution is a “first” of its kind.

“Formal declaration of full operational capability for JSOW C-1 is the final step in a phased approach to introducing this weapon and its capabilities to the fleet,” said Cmdr. Sam Messer, JSOW deputy program manager. “It is the culmination of a complete team effort to deliver not only the hardware, but the training, tactics development and support infrastructure to ensure we field a meaningful warfighting capability.”

According to the Navy, JSOW C-1 reached initial operational capability in 2016. Then the program began a series of four fleet-wide exercises to demonstrate capabilities in increasingly complex scenarios. A two-day training mission followed, culminating in the loading of Boeing Super Hornet mission cards with the appropriate keys and JSOW files for Carrier Air Wing Nine to fly a JSOW C-1 mission. Next came the first operational shots of live SJOW C-1s, in which JSOW conducted the “first-ever operational employment of an air-launched network-enabled weapon and receipt of targeting data from the littoral surveillance radar system,” according to the Navy.

Some of the last exercises conducted leading up to full operational capability involved 12 maritime strike exercise events were conducted employing embedded Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornets with JSOW C-1 captive air training missiles, alongside Navy counterparts.

The Navy said this latest JSOW variant includes GPS/INS guidance, terminal IR seeker and a Link 16 weapon data link.

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