USAF used $1.4 missile for first time ever when striking Syria

Airmen here prepare a AGM-158A, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile to be loaded onto a B-1B Lancer. (Air Force)

The Saturday airstrikes against the Syrian military ushered in the first ever combat use of a very interesting US precision weapon, a monumental occasion for its developers at Lockheed Martin.

An extended-range variant of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile, the AGM-158B JASSM-ER entered service in 2014 but was never used in combat until this weekend, when two B-1B heavy bombers unleashed an arsenal of JASSMS- including the extended-range variant.

The JASSM-ER was dialed in to one of the many strategic targets on the Allies’ kill list, predominantly aimed at disrupting Syrian chemical weapons production.

Utilizing the incredible range of the JASSMS, the 347th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1s hit targets without having to penetrate Syrian air space, firing 19 in total at the price of $1.4 million a piece.

The missiles were reportedly fired well outside of Syrian airspace, ensuring the B-1 bombers faced little in the way of resistance from Surface to Air Missiles (SAM)s.

With a range of over 575 miles compared to their older counterparts, the JASSM-ER shares about 70% hardware and 95% software commonality with the 230-mile JASSM.

Able to be deployed from a range of jets from the B-1 to the F-16, the JASSM-ER is incredibly versatile and possesses stealth capabilities to make it harder to track- and even harder to shoot town.

According to KOTATV, the B-1 squadron used in the attack is based out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

In addition to American air assets and US Navy deployment of BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, British and French forces assisted in the strikes with weapons of their own.

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