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US Army long-range missile completes short-range test

Lockheed Martin is under contract to continue PrSM development for the army. (US Army)

The US Army's Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) completed its shortest ever trip during a production qualification test on 13 November, according to a service announcement on 16 November.

Fired from an M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), the missile demonstrated “successful target engagements” at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to the army release. The test announcement comes as PrSM is expected to reach early operational capability (EOC) before the end of the year.

The test “satisfies the criteria” for the acceptance of PrSM Increment 1 (PrSM Inc 1) EOC missiles in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2024, according to the army release.

The army declined to provide the exact distance PrSM travelled but said it “performed nominally” on expected flight trajectory, lethality, near-vertical engagement angle, and height of burst. The test range was shorter than the 85 km test performed in 2020, according to a 16 November Lockheed Martin press release.

The demonstration did not test PrSM's “primary mission range” but was intended to verify its structural integrity and trajectory control. “The short-range flight represents the most stressful, dynamic environment for the missile as it manoeuvres at hypersonic speeds to align to the target,” according to Lockheed's announcement.

The missile achieved 499 km in an October 2022 flight test at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Lockheed Martin told Janes in an 11 October email. In October 2021 PrSM exceeded the 499 km range in a test, according to the company. The missile can also be fired from an M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

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