From Aviationweek.com 2005 September

The U.S. Air Force plans to launch a program in early 2007 to examine weapons that could be adapted to destroy large, heavily defended ships at long ranges, an industry official said Sept. 12.

Air Combat Command is spearheading efforts to begin the advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) program on maritime interdiction, said Ed Whalen, director of strike weapons business development at Lockheed Martin.

Although the ACTD is not geared specifically toward Lockheed Martin's Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), Lockheed Martin expects its cruise missile will play a role in the program because of its stealth and long range, Whalen said.

"JASSM looks to play in that," Whalen said at a press briefing at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference. "Going against capital ships in a high-threat environment, there's no other missile that's as survivable as JASSM."

JASSM has a range of more than 200 nautical miles and is designed mainly to destroy high-value, heavily defended targets on the ground, such as air defense sites and hardened bunkers. Lockheed Martin is under contract with the Air Force to develop an extended range version (JASSM-ER) that can travel more than 500 nautical miles. Lockheed Martin is spending its own money on JASSM-XR, an extra-extended-range variant, which would have a range of 1,000 nautical miles or more.

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