In December 2021, The B-2 successfully launched a JASSM-ER AGM-158B cruise missile.
Northrop Grumman, in collaboration with USAF, has been improving the combat capabilities of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet. They continue to add new weapons to B-2, like long-range stealth cruise missiles.
US defense officials say the AGM-158B will enhance the B2 spirit’s ability to hit targets anywhere. B-2s are now packed with new and improved radar-assisted encryption equipment, also known as (RATS) Radar Aided Targeting System.
RATS gives the B-2 an improved ability to use precision-guided munitions by taking advantage of location data provided by its radar.
The United States began work on the AGM-158B JASSM-ER version in 2002. The initial estimated range was 925 km, but during the first tests in 2006 exceeded the range of 1000 km.
In addition to conventional warheads, the missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
The “fire and forget” AGM-158B JASSM-ER uses principle. It resists jamming systems, allowing it to approach and attack enemy warships.
To find crucial targets during flight, The missile operates using Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertial Guidance System guidance.
And then, in the last stage missile uses infrared to find the specific target’s accurate location to destroy it. Its ER variant can destroy targets at a distance of up to 926 kilometers.
According to US military experts, AGM-158B is one of the most advanced technology-integrated cruise missiles in the world today.
With stealth capabilities, the AGA-158B can penetrate locations using a dense air defense network. The extremely long range allows this missile to be out of the intercept capability of the S-300 air defense system and enough to take the Russiαn-made S-400 by surprise.
This means enemy air defense systems will be in a passive state, unable to intercept US bombers before launching missiles. With exceptional power and stealth, the JASSM-ER AGM-158B missile is truly a nightmare for many adversaries.
The JASSM-ER first came to light in 2014. Since then, it’s been in service, and uses were limited to the B-1B bombers. Besides that, it’s been added to the F-15E strike eagle providing a complete operational capability with this new missile in 2018.
The integration of the AGM-158B on the B-2 bomber opens doors for additional capabilities in the future. There are three AGM-158B sub-veins and derivatives already in development that will further expand the range of JASSM-ER and be flexibly operational.
This includes the AGM-158B-2, an all-new wing design that will extend its range, along with other improvements.