Air Warfare

Army moving towards new Javelin launcher fielding in 2025, software glitch fixed

While launcher fielding remains on track, development of the new G-Model missile is still in limbo after a 2022 test failure.


The US has supplied Ukraine with thousands of Javelin antitank weapon systems and is working on a modernization line with a new launcher and missile. (Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON — A software problem with the US Army’s new Javelin launcher has been corrected, but development of a new shoulder-fired missile remains on hold, the service told Breaking Defense.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon’s Javelin Joint Venture is tapped for a modernization effort that includes a Light Weight Command Launch Unit (LW CLU) and the new G-model missile (to be designated the FGM-148G). Both have encountered problems, as detailed in this year’s Pentagon test report, published earlier this month.

“Early results indicate that the [launcher] met its reliability requirement at the [limited user test] LUT, but not during the [follow-on operational test & evaluation] FOT&E due to a new software fault that resulted in multiple system aborts,” the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) wrote in its annual report covering fiscal 2023 weapons testing.

According to a Javelin Joint Venture spokeswoman, that launcher problem stemmed from a “discovery related to a battery in an end of life state.”

“This was promptly resolved with a software update and subsequent testing confirmed the fix,” she wrote in a statement Thursday. “The system demonstrated optimal performance, showcasing its enhanced capabilities for extended range.”

A spokesman for the Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Missiles and Space confirmed the software fix and said the service plans to continue launcher testing this year to ensure it works as planned. If everything proceeds smoothly, service leaders want to make a full-rate production decision in the April to June timeframe, and begin fielding the first launchers in mid-FY25, he added.

But work doesn’t stop there. The annual test report noted that similar to the current launcher, the Block 1 CLU, the LW CLU’s battery performance “was significantly degraded in the cold temperatures,” and recommended that a long-term replacement strategy be crafted.

The Army spokesman said such a plan is in the works with an analysis into alternative batteries underway.

Missile In Holding Pattern

The DOT&E report, meanwhile, maintained the Army was continuing to investigate problems with the new G-model Javelin missile, designed with a new disposable launch tube assembly, electronic battery unit, guidance electronics unit and missile seeker.

In fiscal 2022, G-model missile development hit a roadblock when it experienced a test failure, halted testing and was subsequently rebaselined. It’s now been a year since the service told Breaking Defense an investigation was underway to figure out what caused the test anomaly, and that remains the case today. 

The G-Model missile flight test anomaly is undergoing a thorough investigation into the root cause and development of corrective action(s),” the service spokesman wrote in an email on Wednesday. “The program schedule will be updated once root cause and corrective actions have been identified.”

The Javelin Joint Venture declined to say why the investigation is taking so long but said it is working with the Army to address test discoveries and ink a course correction plan.

“Javelin G-Model testing delays are not [affecting] the current Javelin production efforts,” a second joint venture spokesperson wrote. “In partnership with the Army, we are focusing on increasing from our current rate of 2,400 Javelins per year to 3,960 Javelins per year by late 2026.”