Nonetheless, the British stockpile of these missiles is relatively meager, and for the time being, the delivery of German TAURUS KEPD 350 missiles cannot be accomplished. The Americans have indeed equipped Ukraine with the oldest versions of the MGM-140 ATACMS ballistic missiles. However, the newer AGM-158 JASSM maneuvering missiles launched from aircraft appear to be an appealing opportunity.
However, given American caution when supplying weapons to Ukraine, it could be that only the older versions with a range of about 230 miles may make it there, instead of the ER versions capable of up to 621 miles.
AGM-158 JASSM — The American long-range missile also employed by Poland against the Russians
The AGM-158 JASSM missile, the acronym standing for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, emerged in the late 90s but faced a challenging development process before finally entering service in 2009. Meanwhile, potential foreign users, including Poland, had to hold off until 2014 to get export approval, which also heralded a new variant with an extended range up to over 559 miles. This variant is integral to Polish F-16 equipment and can potentially target Moscow under favourable circumstances.
Crafted using stealth technology, the AGM-158 JASSM is a subsonic (0.8-0.9 Ma) missile designed for aircraft launch. Measuring about 14 feet long, it spans 9 feet after wing-extension—remarkably, both regular and extended range versions share identical dimensions.
These missiles come equipped with a penetrating WDU-42/B warhead weighing approximately 952 lbs, operating in three modes:
- Detonating upon hitting the target,
- An explosion delayed to optimize bunker destruction,
- An aerial detonation, causing dispersed lethal shrapnel.
Guiding the warhead to the target involves a combined inertial and satellite navigation system and an optoelectronic head, ensuring an accuracy of under 10 feet in the final flight phase. Providing Ukraine with this class of weapon would enable them to intensify strikes on primary Russian targets situated hundreds of miles behind the frontlines.