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JASSM Reliability Improving: So says Alan Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s director for the stealthy cruise missile and its extended-range variant, the JASSM-ER. In a Reuters news wire service report Monday, Jackson said the missile program had achieved “significantly over 80 percent reliability" and was nearing the 90 percent mark, which the Air Force is establishing as the future standard for the missile. Those benchmarks are crucial for the JASSM program as it faces a series of flight tests later this year that could seal its fate. The missile has been plagued by reliability issues in the past that have marred its performance in some flight tests. Despite internal Lockheed efforts and Air Force-sponsored improvements, the program has not fully overcome them yet, leading the Air Force to say it may cancel its planned future orders if the missile does not perform well end-to-end in the upcoming flights. Nonetheless, Jackson told Reuters that the $23 million contract that the Air Force has just let for 12 JASSM-ER cruise missiles for testing purposes, announced Monday, shows the service’s commitment to the JASSM program.