12:00 GMT25 February 2021
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    US F-15E Strike Eagles have gained a more robust capability to fire long-range missiles for attacking land targets.

    The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) reached full operational capability for the F-15E in February, Lockheed Martin said in a February 6 announcement. The US Air Force operates a fleet of 219 F-15 aircraft.

    Program Director of Long Range Strike Systems at Lockheed Martin Jeffrey Foley said "Fielding on the F-15E Strike Eagle expands JASSM-ER's mission flexibility."

    The extended-range weapon can fly more than 500 nautical miles, a range roughly 2.5 times greater than that of the baseline JASSM.

    The missile is intended to hit well-protected sea or land targets without jeopardizing the pilot of the attacking plane. The B-2, B-1B, and B-52 fleets are armed with the JASSM as well as the F-16. The military has said it is considering arming F-35s and F/A-18s with the weapon eventually. If it is attached to the F-35, it would counteract the plane's "stealthiness" since the weapon cannot fit in an F-35's weapons bay and would have to be carried under the plane's wings.

    Lockheed was awarded $413 million last year by the US Air Force to manufacture 360 of the extended range air-to-surface missiles. Poland has also been a buyer of JASSM-ER missiles for its F-16 fleet.

    The missile is similar to a cruise missile, employing inertial navigation, a global positioning system and infrared sensors to seek and destroy targets, Sputnik reported.


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    F-35, f-15, US Air Force, US
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