The Unites States Army introduced a requirement for an anti-tank missile in the early 1970s, which led to the development of the AGM-114 Hellfire. In 1982, the United States Army’s AH-64 Apache received the first Hellfire, which used laser guidance to target vehicles, bunkers, and buildings. The longest effective range of Hellfire missiles is 4.3 nautical miles. The Marine Corps had deployed Hellfire missiles to its assault helicopter fleet by the mid-1980s. Over the years, Hellfire missiles have been upgraded to include infrared sensors, warheads that can target small boats, and integration with the Apache’s Longbow radar.
The US Army and the US Marine Corps established a new development project named the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) to replace the Hellfire missile, which began testing in 2012. The Hellfire, TOW, and Maverick missiles are expected to be replaced by the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. The JAGM system combines a new warhead/seeker with a current AGM-114R rocket motor, which is the most recent type to increase target acquisition and discrimination. When launched from a helicopter, the JAGM has a maximum effective range of 8.6 nautical miles and 15.1 nautical miles when launched from a fixed-wing aircraft.
The AH-64E Apache and AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopters were successfully fitted with the JAGM missile in 2010, and the missile attained basic operational capability in 2019. The FA18E/F Super Hornet, MQ-1C Grey Eagle, MH-60M Defensive Air Penetrator, MH-60S Seahawk, F-35 Lightning II, and P-8 Poseidon are all expected to be equipped with JAGM. Furthermore, the Air Force has begun acquiring JAGMs but has not revealed which platforms would be equipped with the missile.
In the mid-1990s, the Joint Air-to-Surface Strike Missile was planned as a stealthy cruise missile capable of striking targets in heavily protected airspace. The AGM-158A JASSM has been exported to Australia, Finland, and Poland, and has a stated range of more than 200 nautical miles. The Air Force concluded in 2004 that the JASSM needed more range and created the AGM-158B JASSM-ER, an extended range version. On the B-1B Lancer, this munition achieved initial operational capability in 2014. With integration aboard the F-15E Strike Eagle, it achieved full operational capability in 2018 and is already in full-rate manufacturing. The Air Force had planned to purchase 2,866 JASSMs and JASSMERs, but the requirement has now been increased to 7,200 missiles. More than 4,000 JASSMs have been purchased by the Air Force as of 2019.
Japan has showed interest in purchasing JASSM-ER missiles, while Poland has been given approval to receive 70 of them in 2016. In September 2019, the Air Force announced intentions to raise JASSM manufacturing to a maximum of 550 missiles per year. The JASSM arsenal will be increased to around 10,000 missiles by the Service. The Air Force announced a USD 818 million deal in February 2020 to manufacture the next version of the JASSM-Extreme Range Missile.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) developed the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) as a concept to replace the AGM-88 Harpoon with a JASSM body. LRASM commenced flight testing on a B-1B in 2012, and the missile was afterwards tested on an F/A18E/F Super Hornet. For terminal guiding, LRASM uses a combination of passive radio-frequency sensors and electro optical/infrared seekers. The LRASM has piqued Japan’s interest in purchasing it. The Air Force said in September 2019 that it intends to purchase up to 410 LRASM missiles, up from an initial estimate of 110 missiles. The LRASM and the JASSM-ER are manufactured in the same plant. According to budget papers, JASSM and LRASM procurement in FY2020 was at maximum capacity; nevertheless, production capacity appears to have risen since FY2020. As of 2022, the Air Force and Navy will be purchasing JASSM-ER and LRASM.
The Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Munitions is meant to attack enemy air defenses, specifically guidance radars. The Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Munitions (AARGM) was developed in 2001 to replace the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HSARM) (HARM). During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Department of Defense discovered various flaws in the HARM that hampered its operational efficacy. As a result, the AARGM included a new solid propellant rocket engine that increased range over the HARM, as well as new guidance and seeker systems, which included GPS inertial navigation for guidance and millimeter wave and W-band (more than 40 GHz) sensors for seeker. In 2010, AARGM began operational testing, and in 2012, it achieved initial operational capability. The F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, E/A-18G Growler, F16C/D Falcon, and F-35 Lightning II all have AARGM.
The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) is a new development programme that will eventually take the place of the ATACMS. PrSM is a multiple rocket launcher system that can be launched from the M270 and M142 HIMARS. According to the US Army, PrSM is designed to launch two missiles from a single launcher pod, has a range of over 400 kilometers, and features an anti-jam GPS antenna. PrSM is currently in development and is expected to be operational in FY2023. The Army has not yet said when the PrSM will be evaluated. Although this missile may be delivered to foreign forces in the future, the US Army claims that no foreign nations have made purchase commitments as of 2019.