Lockheed Martin has completed a first launch of its Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) surface-launch variant from a topside canister installation.
Performed at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 26 July, the flight test “proved the missile’s ability to conduct an angled launch from the newly designed topside canister, replicating a ship-launched environment,” said the company in a statement.
The air-launched AGM-158C LRASM missile is being developed by Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control to meet a US Navy (USN) requirement for a near-term Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment 1 capability able to defeat major maritime targets. Derived from the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER), LRASM introduces additional sensors and systems specific to the offensive anti-surface warfare mission, and has been conceived to be able to penetrate sophisticated shipborne defences, with reduced dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation.
The LRASM is intended to deliver an Early Operating Capability (EOC) in September 2018 on the US Air Force’s B-1B Lancer, followed by the USN F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in September 2019. A Lot 1 production contract covering an initial 23 missiles was awarded to Lockheed Martin on 25 July.
Having previously demonstrated a LRASM surface launch capability using the Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS), Lockheed Martin has invested in the design of a topside (or deck-mounted) launcher configuration that is designed to allow for easy integration on multiple surface ships as part of the ‘Distributed Lethality’ construct. The all-up-round configuration for this topside launcher – which incorporates a Mk 114 boost motor, is identical to the LRASM surface-launch missile previously flight tested.
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