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Reliability Rising


Oct. 29, 2010—The reliability of the Air Force's Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile "has been inconsistent," since the stealthy cruise missile's operational flight testing began in 2001, states the Government Accountability Office. But its performance has been much better as of late.

From January 2001 through May 2007, Lockheed Martin's baseline JASSM achieved a 58 percent success rate in the 59 flight tests that were scored, according to data in GAO's new JASSM report to Congress, dated October.

Since then, the Defense Department has bolstered JASSM oversight and made major investments to improve the missile's reliability. Those efforts have borne fruit: the JASSM has successfully performed in 85 percent of the 46 scored flight tests since the Air Force instituted the reliability initiatives, states GAO.

Despite the "significantly" boosted reliability since 2007, the JASSM is still somewhat shy of the 90 percent reliability rate that DOD requires the missile to achieve by Fiscal 2013, GAO notes.

Not included in this chart is the performance of the JASSM extended-range variant, which has performed well in each of its first seven flight tests.

Source: "Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Reassess Joint Cruise Missile Costs before Starting New Production Phase," Government Accountability Office, October 2010. (Document)