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Lockheed Martin Told To Wrap Up Work On Joint Common Missile

By | June 18, 2007

      The Army is bringing the Joint Common Missile (JCM) program to a formal close, preparing for the launch of a competition for the follow-on program — the Joint Air to Ground Missile (JAGM).

      Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], the contractor that has been working on JCM since 2004, must stop work on the program, according to a letter from the Army’s Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command.

      The company was told to close out the contract with the remaining funds by June 15, according to the May 14 letter. “Further work against the Statement of Work is not required,” the letter said.

      The break in work opens the door for the Army to release a request for information (RFI) for the JAGM. A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for next week, on June 28 and 29, during which the Army will present its procurement strategy and vision for the missile’s mission, the notice said.

      The notice to Lockheed Martin is the latest in a long line of hurdles for the contractor on the JCM program.

      Lockheed Martin won a $53 million contract to develop the missile in the spring of 2004, beating competitors Raytheon Co. [RTN] and a team proposal led by The Boeing Co. [BA] and Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC]. At the time, the program’s estimated worth was $5 billion.

      That fell into doubt during a Pentagon budget decision later that year, but the program continued to survive with support from Congress.

      Last year, Pentagon officials began discussing the possibility of recompeting the program, a process that is now taking shape.

      JAGM will be used by Army, Navy and Marine Corps aerial platforms with “enhanced targeting capabilities, increased lethality and extended range in both fire-and-forget and precision point targeting modes, and against the most advanced threat armored vehicles and non-traditional (or other than armored vehicle) target sets in adverse weather, obscured battlefield conditions, and against current and projected threat countermeasures using advanced seeker technologies,” said the presolicitation notice posted June 1.

      JAGM is the new successor to the TOW, Hellfire and Maverick missiles and replaces the JCM program that was cut from the Pentagon’s budget in late 2004 and kept alive by congressional plus-ups.

      As of last month, Lockheed Martin continued to work on its contract for that program, saying that its contract had not been formally terminated

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