Lockheed Martin is preparing to craft a proposal for the U.S. Army’s long-awaited development competition for a scaled-down Joint Air-to-Ground missile (JAGM) program, according to a company official.

Raytheon, however, its most likely competitor, is still assessing whether to continue pursuing the work.

Once eyed as a sophisticated tri-mode seeker design for destroying moving targets through weather on the battlefield, JAGM was refocused by the Army in 2013. Raytheon’s design was downselected out, and Lockheed Martin continued work developing a dual-mode seeker for integration on the AGM-114R Hellfire under a $60 million concept development contract.

The company’s strategy now is to build dual-mode seekers – using semi-active lasers (SALs) and millimeter wave (MMW) radars – that can be added to the back end of existing Hellfire designs.

The company funded two flight trials this year, the Lockheed Martin official said. Both were rail-launched units that are production representative, he said. The company requested his identity not be revealed for security reasons.

During the first trial in February, the SAL was used to guide the weapon in to destroy a truck from a range of 6 km. In the second, the SAL acquired the target and handed it off to the MMW for a kill of a moving target, the company official said.

The new strategy left behind Lockheed Martin’s imaging infrared seeker, reducing cost and complexity in the requirements.

The Army’s request for proposals is slated to come out soon, with contract award by August 2015. Though the Army ceased funding of Raytheon’s design, the company is still assessing whether to submit a bid for the work.

"If we bid, the company will offer our tri-mode seeker based on the hardware being proven today in Small Diameter Bomb II," an Air Force program to develop a moving target version of the 250-lb. SDB glide bomb, said John Patterson, a Raytheon spokesman. This design incorporates an uncooled imaging infrared seeker into the SAL and MMW sensor design. "We believe this can provide a more capable solution for the Army and the Department of the Navy that is both low risk and affordable."

The Army’s AH-64 Apache and Marine Corps AH-1Z are the threshold platforms slated to operate JAGM. It is also expected to eventually be used by the Predator, Reaper and Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft in the future.

Development of the JAGM could take about 18 months and two low-rate, initial production lots totaling 1,000 units are planned thereafter.

Meanwhile, Lockheed has "stayed very knowledgeable" on trimode seeker work but has no government-funded contracts to mature it. "We are not going to make assumptions and design the answer for the government," the Lockheed official said of the potential to add a third seeker into the design.