According to a press release from Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) Office awarded the company a $25 million contract to support the next phase of the service’s Palletized Munitions Experimentation Campaign.
The system allows air-launched weapons to be delivered by aircraft including the C-130, which is manufactured here in Cobb County at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta facility.
“Despite the Palletized Munitions program being relatively new, it’s moving very quickly,” said Scott Callaway, Lockheed Martin Advanced Strike Systems director. “The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contracting and Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) offices, and Lockheed Martin teams established this new contract in a record time of 30 days, supporting faster prototyping and a shorter timeline to bring this advanced capability to the warfighter in the field.”
Phase I of the program demonstrated five high-altitude airdrops from an MC-130J (manufactured by Lockheed Martin here in Cobb County) and a C-17 (manufactured by Boeing).
The press release described the drop as follows:
During this effort, the U.S. Air Force tested the suitability of launching JASSM-ERs from an airlifter. JASSM is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. and allied forces designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets.
Initial studies show that airlifters have the potential to deploy large quantities of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles, providing a significant increase in long-range standoff scale and complementing traditional strike and bomber aircrafts. This innovative approach enables warfighters to launch offensive operations from a greater number of airfields and engage a larger number of near-peer adversarial targets.
The overall goal of the experimentation is to develop a modular system to deliver air-launched weapons, leveraging standard airdrop procedures and operations. The system will have the ability to be rolled on and off multiple types of aircraft, including the C-17 and C-130.