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US Army tests future PrSM seeker

The US Army recently completed the first captive-carry test of an advanced multi-mode seeker designed for its new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).

During the 3 June ‘open-air’ test at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, the service mounted a pod under the wing of an aircraft, sent it up in the air, and it was able to detect larger objects on ground or at sea level such as ships.

“We're pretty pleased with the preliminary results,” Mike Turner with the Aviation & Missile Center told reporters during a 4 June call. “What that means for the future of long-range fire missiles [is that] we could use this technology to locate targets in an [anti-access/area denial] environment … and successfully prosecute targets with unknown or poorly located coordinates.”

This seeker is being developed inside the army’s science and technology community with the support of industry partners, and currently operates in two modes – radio frequency (RF) and imaging infrared (IR).

“We would use RF more along the lines of midcourse and then IR in the terminal phase to do aim point refinement and target discrimination,” Turner added.

During this most recent test, the seeker was operating at about 50% of its capacity, he explained, and said that the army was set to conduct another captive-carry test at “full capacity” with a “more representative target” at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the coming months. Then, as the programme scales up, the sensor will be integrated into a surrogate missile.

“We have three tests planned on that before we are able to start integrating into PrSMs for tests,” Turner furthered.

In December 2019, Lockheed Martin conducted its first PrSM flight test for the US Army (shown here). In June 2020, the service conducted its first captive-carry test of an advanced multi-mode seeker for this new missile.

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