In general it's a very mediocre design.
Yes, it provides stealth but only at a weight penalty which rivals that of GBU-31 JDAM and a drag penalty which is about 1.5X as much as our largest
Note how that F-16 just /rocks to beat hell/ when the weapon comes off. Not a good airframe
rdnance matchup there.
LO is nice but only to the extent that you don't throw it away on cheap targets (even direct impacts with full warhead functionality often leaves
amazingly large chunks of Tomahawk airframe and engine behind).
The real utility of the JASSM is in it's ability to revitalize the utility of the bomber fleet so that 'if not when' enemy-X pulls the coalition
effect on a dual-hemisphere war strategy (justifying their actions by the weight of a global massed threat), we can send tacair to the hotspot and
bomberair to hold the line at the less intense troublezone. Or vice versa, depending on available basing rights.
In this, you almost have to go with the AGM-158B with a 600nm range upgrade if you are going to do anything with ultra high value assets like bombers
(which are so threatened as to require stealthy munitions). And even then you are limited in your ability to target on the fly because the munition
will have the same speed and probably less LO capabilties than the bomber it leaves.
This gets tricky when you have a spot track on a TBM TEL or Feyadin meeting at Hut-X. Where you need to have assets _on station_ to react before the
enemy moves out. And you MUST have certainty of not merely accurate targeting but also minimum collaterals.
Here too, the JASSM supposedly has an edge, given it's targeting sensor can also act as a terminal ISR aid but the round cost of nearly 799,000
dollars (FY 2007 authorization for 234 missiles at 187 million) and the short loiter on only '200nm' worth of range places you in a position where
you either have to launch closer in. Or accept next to no loiter on a weapon which you just _cannot_ throw away on random launches.
Given that there are only about 400 in the inventory these are systems which would primarily be used against targets like China where the depth and
forward presence of the IADS all but assures bombers wouldn't be safe. And fighters would not be able to plus-up shot counts for fuel tanks because
the weapon standoff doesn't add enough to their radius to be worth it.
In the end, the JASSM is a weapon looking for a funding line as much as mission. The weapon we NEED is a cheap, high energy, 'FRSW' or Future Rapid
Standoff Weapon which puts 100-200lb penetrator warheads 350-400nm down range at Mach 5-8 using conventional motor and airframe technology.
Preferrably a minimum of four per airframe from combined fuel/munition (low drag) pylon encapsulates.
An inertial-HARM package with smaller fins and a slightly different forebody (bulged and ceramo-carboned for lofted Mach performance) would
Do this and you don't really need to worry about tactical penetration. Do this and you actually have a chance of responding to TCT popups. Do this
and you will halve your raid coordination factors. Do this and much of the coming-soon problem inherent to DEWS and hunting S2A will go away or be
Do this and you STILL have to solve for overhead realtime targeting problem. But at least you will have the cash available to do so.
Otherwise, while the high altitude capabilities and smart-D/L targeting of the AGM-158 are nice, you just don't get enough out of the combined
performance and carriage penalty of JASSM to justify the sortie lag, reduced aimpoint count and overall tactical inflexibility in comparison with a
similar (295,000 dollar) capability inherent to Blk.IV Tomahawk. Which is pennies-per-tone-mile alway going to be closer to the problem.
P.S. Particularly when evaluating for accuracy and effects, don't trust ANY video which splitscenes between different perspectives. Particularly in
this case where the seeker video does NOT line up with the trajectory of the missile which is itself only seen impacting from a different angle than
that shown in the initial explosion. It is particularly important to note that the JASSMs hardened warhead could probably achieve the same effect
from a terminal roof attack and blast through the 'opening' is merely a path of least resistance aftermath.
You also need to be more critical of the target damage analysis itself.
First, the U.S. military tends to use cheap targets on all but media and 'convince your Congressman' full-up funding critical tests which typically
means stacked shipping containers or even corrogated sheeting with dirt fill for most of the program.
Second, it looks as if the building in question was intended to replicate a 2-story structure. If so, while hardly a difficult target (nothing above
ground ever is) in and of itself, the resulting blast bubble and material uplift seems to indicate an immediate target area effect at least 5-8X the
height of the structure itself and a 2 block 'throw' radius on wall sized debris fragments. None of which is very useful if you are trying to kill
targets in a dense urban environment (as even S2A threats now often are imbedded).
The Saddam Hussein attack in a residential home just down the street from a busy market and restaurant comes to mind here as 'why as much as how not
to do things'.
Indeed, with the types of thermobaric munitions now available (able to overpressure an interior volume and splatter the living contents across walls)
down to the handheld level, the use of 1,000lb warhead classes is itself ludicrous when the same money could buy you 4-5 impacts by smaller weapons,
each of which could better penetrate defenses and destroy structures, room by room.
Without every throwing blast or debris outside the building footprint itself.