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Weapons

Lockheed Martin conducts initial Precision Strike Missile flight test

11 December 2019
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Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control conducted the first flight test of its candidate hypersonic surface-to-surface missile solution for the US Army's Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) programme at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 10 December.

Artist's rendering of the Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile being launched from an M142 HIMARS launcher. An initial flight test of a prototype Precision Strike Missile was conducted for the US Army's PrSM programme at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 10 December. (Lockheed Martin)Artist's rendering of the Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile being launched from an M142 HIMARS launcher. An initial flight test of a prototype Precision Strike Missile was conducted for the US Army's PrSM programme at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on 10 December. (Lockheed Martin)

During the flight test, the prototype missile - designated Precision Strike Missile - was fired from an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher and flew approximately 240 km to the target area. Test objectives included confirming the missile's flight trajectory performance, range and accuracy from launch to warhead event, validating all interfaces with the HIMARS launcher, as well as testing system software performance. According to the company, "all test objectives were achieved".

PrSM is an accelerated army initiative, dating from March 2017, to develop and field an all-weather long-range hypersonic precision-strike capability, using ground-launched missile-delivered indirect fires, to engage imprecisely located area and point targets. Intended to replace the legacy non-insensitive munition (IM) and Cluster Munition policy compliant Lockheed Martin MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that are in the US Army inventory, the PrSM requirement is being competed by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

The prototype requirement includes a Launch Pod Missile Container and a fully integrated surface-to-surface guided missile that will be compatible with the M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 HIMARS launchers. PrSM will be delivered as a two-missiles-per-pod system - one missile in each launch cell - which, compared with the current ATACMS capability, effectively doubles the PrSM load out in the M142 and M270 launchers.

The army identified PrSM as a priority and has accelerated the missile's acquisition schedule to provide an urgent material release in fiscal year (FY) 2023. However, by then the missile will only be usable from the M142 launcher. A programme official stated that legacy systems on the M270 launcher need to be updated before PrSM software can be integrated.

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