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Pentagon Plans To Start Competition For JCM Successor

By | May 21, 2007

      By Jen DiMascio

      The Pentagon is planning to move toward a competition for the Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM), a follow-on program to the Joint Common Missile (JCM), within the next month, according to industry officials and congressional staff.

      JCM was cut by the Department of Defense in late 2004, but has survived on plus-ups from Congress.

      More recently, Pentagon acquisition officials have sought to recompete the JCM contract, while the Army has maintained support for Lockheed Martin Corp, [LMT] as the prime contractor, according to industry officials.

      Meanwhile, as the Pentagon sorts out a final acquisition strategy for the new program, Lockheed Martin continues to work on JCM.

      “We are on contract and on schedule, and the program has not been officially terminated,” a Lockheed Martin spokesman said.

      The JCM program seeks to create a precision missile that would replace Hellfire, Longbow, Maverick and TOW missiles used today by the three services.

      That JAGM program may require different key performance parameters than JCM, according to an industry source.

      Release of a draft request for proposals (RFP) could arrive by June 18, said an industry official. That draft acquisition strategy is expected to accompany the draft RFP.

      The final RFP will not be released to industry until the Pentagon’s acquisition chief signs off on the strategy. Approval is projected for mid-September, said a congressional aide.

      Noting that developments with the JAGM program could impact the Army’s supply of Hellfire missiles, the House version of the fiscal year 2008 defense authorization bill urges the Army to retain an minimum inventory. The Pentagon does not plan to start full-rate production of JAGM until 2016, according to the bill, which, as of press time, was being debated on the floor of the House.

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