LRASM Demonstrates Surface Launch Capability
ORLANDO, Fla. — Lockheed Martin successfully conducted the first-ever launch July 26 of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) surface-launch variant from a topside canister, the company said in a July 27 release.
The flight test, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., proved the missile’s ability to conduct an angled launch from the newly designed topside canister, replicating a ship-launched environment. During the test, the LRASM, its Mk114 booster and booster adapter ejected cleanly from the topside launcher using the same launch control and launch sequencer software currently employed by the Mk41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).
“This successful flight test demonstrates Lockheed Martin’s readiness to answer the U.S. Navy’s call for lethal, longer range anti-surface warfare capabilities as part of the ‘Distributed Lethality’ concept,” said Scott Callaway, Subsonic Cruise Missile director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This test also validates the flexibility and versatility of LRASM, as it proved it can be successfully fired from VLS and non-VLS surface platforms.”
Integrating LRASM onto surface ships enables distributed operations beyond enemy threat ranges. Along with the already proven VLS launch capability of LRASM, this topside canister with an angled launcher allows the LRASM surface-launch variant to be employed aboard various platforms in the Navy’s surface fleet, providing the potential for a powerful new anti-ship role under the Distributed Lethality concept of operations.
The LRASM surface-launch variant is built on the same production line as Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), JASSM-ER (extended range) and LRASM air-launch weapons, delivering the same long-range, precision capability while benefiting from manufacturing efficiencies.
LRASM is a precision-guided anti-ship missile that leverages the successful JASSM-ER heritage, and is designed to meet the needs of U.S. Navy and Air Force warfighters in a robust contested environment. The air-launched variant provides an early operational capability for the Navy’s offensive anti-surface warfare Increment I requirement to be integrated onto the U.S. Air Force’s B-1B in 2018 and on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in 2019.
In a separate release June 26, Lockheed Martin also announced it has received an $86.5 million contract from the U.S. Navy and Air Force for LRASM production. The contract marks the first production award for the air-launched variant of LRASM, and includes 23 missiles and engineering support.
Low-rate initial production Lot 1 is the first of several expected annual production lots that will deliver next-generation anti-ship missiles to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.
“This first production lot of LRASM brings a new level of capability to both the U.S. Air Force and the Navy,” said Mike Fleming, LRASM director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “LRASM enables our warfighters to prosecute even the most advanced enemy ships.”