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AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Eduard Brassin AGM-154A/C Block II JSOW -- 1:48 Scale

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The Raytheon AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (or JSOW) emerged from a joint US Navy/USAF program (with the Navy in the lead).  The JSOW is a 1,000-pound air-to-surface glide-delivery missile that can carry several different kinds of munitions.  When released, the AGM-154 deploys its wings and becomes a launch-and-leave, GPS/INS precision-guided glide bomb.  Depending on the release altitude, it can reach targets between 15 to 80 miles from its release point, permitting the launching aircraft to remain well outside the envelope of a target’s air defenses.  It also has a number of radar cross-section reducing features to make sure that if it is detected, it is too late for the target to defend itself. 

The story of the JSOW includes what may be one of the most effective weapon system development and acquisition processes of the 1990s coupled with an excellent combat record in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.  Beginning with its first use in Operation DESERT FOX in 1998, the JSOW has become a favorite tool to kill fixed SAM sites.  Since then, some 400 of these weapons have been launched in combat over the course of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. 

The JSOW concept spawned a family of variants and subvariants.  The AGM-154A is optimized to attack fixed and soft targets such as parked aircraft, trucks, armored personnel carriers, and SAM sites.  It uses BLU-97 combined-effect bomblets for the job, but the AGM-154A-1 version swapped out the BLU-97 for the 500-lb. BLU-111 (Mk. 82) warhead in place of the cluster munitions.  The AGM-154B was an anti-armor version that was developed but not put into production.

The AGM-154C incorporated a Broach multi-stage 500-pound warhead (blast, fragmentation, and penetration capability) coupled with an infrared seeker allowing for autonomous target acquisition in the terminal guidance phase.  AGM-154s were operationally cleared for use on the F/A-18C/D/E/F, F-16, B-52, F-15E, B-1B, and B-2.  The Block II AGM-154As and C were the second generation of JSOWs. 

The Block II AGM-154A/C employed a range of engineering changes that reduced the unit cost by up to 33%.  These involved redesign of the bomb body airframe to a single piece instead of multiple parts, increasing the number of reduced cost components, and use of other advanced technologies that, in part, increases the Block II’s shelf life and reduces inspection needs/costs.  JSOW Block IIs were are manufactured under a production contract with U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, and Raytheon and delivered the first JSOW Block II on 31 May 2007.  JSOW Block II weapons can be either JSOW-As or JSOW-Cs.  Both add an improved Raytheon SAS “Raptor” anti-jam and anti-spoofing GPS receiver.  Operationally, these later generation JSOWs have today been replacing earlier Block I variants in the inventory.  

To be certain, no mainstream kit manufacture that I can think of has a JSOW of any block number on their sprues.  You’d be out of luck of you wanted to depict your 1:48 scale kit of a Hornet, Super Hornet, Fighting Falcon, Strike Eagle, Stratofortress, or Lancer with AGM-154s.  Thankfully, Eduard has filled this gap with their aftermarket BRASSIN JSOW set in both 1:72 and 1:48 scales. 

Here, we take a look at their 1:48 Block II AGM-154A/C.  This set contains 24 cast resin parts.  The largest parts are the two complete JSOW bomb bodies (often referred to as munitions delivery ‘trucks’).  Beyond that, individually cast resin wings, tail fins, pylon mounting plates, and pylon mounting lugs round out the parts breakdown.  You can build your Block II JSOWs with either retracted or extended wings (the latter of for the in-flight configuration, only).  There’s also a small decal sheet that appears to have been printed in-house by Eduard that covers all of the JSOW’s stenciling (which is pretty minimal).  As you would expect from Eduard, the casting quality is outstanding and, for all intents and purposes, it’s flawless.

Overall, the shape, size, and finer details, including really nicely recessed panel lines and rivet detail, all appear quite accurate.  The decal sheet looks quite solid, too.  There’s nothing really that I can find to critique about this set.  Of course, when working on YOUR project, make sure that the timeframe of your subject matter/airplane matches that of a Block II AGM-154A/C.       

We extend our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany/

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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