The U.S. is poised to spend up to $8 billion on a “next generation” air-to-ground missile that so far has failed to be better than the missile it’s designed to replace, and the military has no idea how much more it will cost to realize the weapon’s originally promised improvements, according to a new report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General.
The declassified, lightly redacted report, published Thursday, says that “increment one” of the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) — a weapon that’s been in development since 1999 — “will not provide critical capabilities needed by the warfighter,” including “the capability to launch missiles from fixed-wing aircraft; strike targets from longer distances; and increase the accuracy, lethality, and interoperability over existing air-to-ground missiles.”
That first version of the missile also will only be used on two helicopters, rather than the 15 aircraft for which it was meant, including armed drones.
Increment one of the JAGM, which a military official said is currently transitioning from development to production, could cost up to $8 billion throughout the life of the program, the report says, citing a 2015 estimate from the Joint Attack Munitions Systems office that manages the JAGM, Hellfire and “other munitions.”
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