Royal Australian Air Force To Utilize JSOW C


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Royal Australian Air Force To Utilize JSOW C

By Eddy Metcalf

December 7, 2010 - The Royal Australian Air Force launched two Raytheon Company Joint Standoff Weapon Cs from the RAAF's new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Marking the first time a U.S. ally has operationally tested a JSOW C. This test series also marked the first time the JSOW C variant has been employed outside the continental United States. 

The Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is the product of a joint venture between the United States Navy and Air Force to deploy a standardized medium range precision guided weapon, especially for engagement of defended targets from outside the range of standard anti-aircraft defenses, thereby increasing aircraft survivability and minimizing friendly losses. 

The JSOW is intended to provide a low cost, highly lethal glide weapon with a standoff capability. The JSOW family of air to surface glide weapons are 1,000 lb (450 kg) class weapons that provide standoff capabilities from 15 nautical miles (28 km) low altitude launch and up to 70 nautical miles high altitude launch.

The JSOW C carries a single BROACH warhead that has blast, fragmentation and penetration effects. JSOW is integrated on all variants of the F/A-18 and will be integrated on the Joint Strike Fighter. The JSOW can be used against a variety of land targets and operates from ranges outside enemy point defenses. The JSOW is a launch and leave weapon that employs a tightly coupled Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System (INS), and is capable of day/night and adverse weather operations. The JSOW-A uses GPS/INS for terminal guidance, while the JSOW-C uses an infra-red seeker for terminal guidance. 

The RAAF also has placed an order for the JSOW C-1, which is currently in production; deliveries are expected to begin in 2011. The JSOW C-1 maintains the land attack capability of JSOW C and adds a moving maritime target capability by incorporating a datalink. This enables the JSOW to receive target updates as it flies to its target. 

"The successful tests are a result of the hard work and close cooperation between the U.S. Navy's JSOW program office, the RAAF and Raytheon," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile System's Air Warfare Systems' product line. "Raytheon congratulates the U.S. Navy and the RAAF on this milestone; we are pleased to be a trusted partner on this important new capability for Australia." 


During the 1990s JSOW was considered to be one of the most successful development programs in DOD history. The system was introduced to operational use a year ahead of schedule. Unlike most guided weapons and aircraft, the system never had a weight management problem, and was deployed at its target weight. The system introduced a new type of fuse, but was able to obtain authority from an independent safety review in record time. Many observers credited these accomplishments to the management style chosen by the DOD.


The JSOW traditionally gets used for SEAD missions. Initial deployment testing occurred aboard USS Nimitz and later aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The first combat deployment of the JSOW occurred over southern Iraq on January 25, 1999 when launched by a single F/A-18 from Carrier Air Wing 11 embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson. The glide range of the JSOW allowed the weapon to strike a target located in the southern suburbs of Baghdad. This weapon enjoyed success since its early use.  

One adverse event: In February 2001, when a strike of F/A-18s from the USS Harry S. Truman battle group launched a massive attack on Iraqi air-defense sites, nearly every weapon missed the target. The cause of the miss was reported as a software problem. This problem was solved soon afterward. Since 1999, at least 400 of the JSOW weapons have been used in the following conflicts: Operation Southern Watch, NATO Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.


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