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US Army to receive four Mid-Range Capability battery prototypes, fielding set for 2023

Image showing US Army detailing what each MRC prototype battery will include. The service plans to begin fielding the weapon in 2023. (US Army)

Lockheed Martin is poised to deliver four initial Mid-Range Capability (MRC) weapon system batteries to the US Army by the end of 2022. If all goes as planned the service could field the new weapon prototype, paired with Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk missiles, to soldiers by late September 2023, according to the company and service.

The army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) tasked Lockheed Martin with building this mid-range prototype in late 2020, at present called the ‘Typhon', which includes launchers, missiles, and a battery operations centre.

The idea was to create a capability to strike targets somewhere between the 500 and 1,800 km range, or greater than the future Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) but shorter than a Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) system. To do this, army programme officials joined forces with the navy to leverage existing capabilities such as the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS), and the Tomahawk and SM-6 missiles.

“We don't have to be the bastion of every good idea; We can actually get good ideas from other people, and we can leverage those good ideas,” RCCTO Director Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood told an audience on 10 August during the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin's vice-president of naval combat and missile defence systems, told Janes during a 9 August interview that this effort is more of an “engineering and integration” initiative than a major development one.

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