Thales UK in Belfast has completed surface-to-air and surface-to-surface qualification firings of the Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) weapon system for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).
LMM is a lightweight, laser-beam-guided precision strike missile designed to be fired from a variety of tactical platforms including helicopters, fixed- or rotary-winged unmanned air systems, wheeled or tracked vehicles, or fast in-shore naval craft in a surface-to-air, surface-to-surface, and air-to-surface role.
Approved in 2008 as the preferred technical solution for the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon-Light (FASGW[L]) requirement in 2008, the MoD in April 2011 awarded Thales UK an initial LMM development and series production contract – the value of which remains undisclosed – providing for the design, development, and qualification of the missile and production of some 1,000+ rounds. That contract, under which Thales agreed to re-role previously contracted funding for Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) Tranche 4 production missiles to finance development and series production of the LMM, was heralded as the outcome of “an innovative approach to contracting under the principles of Team Complex Weapons”. This also reflected tight budget constraints within the MoD at the time of the negotiations, and the fact that the perceived target set priority for Starstreak is currently lower than that assigned to the LMM. The 1,000+ LMM common stockpile rounds will provide a cost-effective solution to equip two different requirement pockets in the MoD: the helicopter-launched air-to-service role for the RN’s FASGW(L) requirement and a surface-to-surface role/surface-to-air role for current and potential HVM Incremental Performance Enhancement (HIPE)-equipped platforms for the British Army.
The FASGW(L) is the low-cost lightweight precision-strike guided missile variant intended to address the lower end of the FASGW target set under the provisions of the UK Complex Weapons programme.
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