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Air-Launched Weapons

USAF boosts LRASM stocks

27 November 2018
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The US Air Force is ramping up its stocks of the AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Source: Lockheed Martin

The US Air Force (USAF) Life Cycle Management Center has awarded Lockheed Martin a USD172.1 million contract for Lot 2 production AGM-158C Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs).

The contract, which was announced by the US Department of Defense on 15 November, provides for the production of 50 Lot 2 LRASMs, with work to be completed by 31 December 2021.

The contract marks the third USAF order for the air-launched LRASM variant. In July 2017, Lockheed Martin was awarded an USD86.5 million contract to manufacture the first 23 AGM-158C missiles in Lot 1 production. In April 2018 the company received a USD13.9 million modification to that contract to supply an additional four Lot 1 production LRASM munitions. There are no differences in capability/technology between the production of Lot 1 and Lot 2 missiles.

Initiated in 2008 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research, the LRASM programme has since transitioned to the LRASM Deployment Office (LDO), a partnership of DARPA, the US Navy (USN) (through the Naval Air Systems Command), and USAF.

Developed and integrated under an accelerated programme to meet the Offensive Anti-surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment 1 programme, LRASM is a highly autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship stand-off weapon that leverages the basic design of the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) but introduces additional sensors and systems specific to the OASuW mission.

LRASM is designed to penetrate sophisticated shipborne defences with reduced dependence on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms; network links; and GPS navigation in aggressive electronic warfare environments. This 'autonomous capability' enables the missile weapon to use target cueing data to locate and destroy its target in denied environments.

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