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US Army plans four PrSM test shots in 2021

The US Army will conduct a series of four test shots with Lockheed Martin’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) prototype this year.

The first event will occur in mid-May at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, before the final two are fired as part of Project Convergence 2021, according to Brigadier General John Rafferty, head of the US Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team.

The effort to replace the Lockheed Martin’s MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) with a weapon that has a range of greater than 500 km is in the Enhanced Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction (ETMRR) phase. For this stage of work, the company is under contract to produce four PrSMs.

The service will fire the first weapon 400 km in mid-May, Brig Gen Rafferty told reporters on 15 April. Then in the August to September timeframe the service will conduct a “max-range shot” at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The army then intends to fire two PrSMs as part of Project Convergence 2021 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, he added.

This baseline missile uses a GPS inertial navigation unit to reach targets exceeding 500 km, and if all goes as planned, the service could begin fielding it in 2023.

At the same time, though, the army is working on subsequent spirals, or increments, intended to increase the weapon’s reach. This includes development of a multimode seeker that will enable the weapon to also strike maritime targets. To date, seeker development included captive-carry tests with a pod mounted under the wing of an aircraft. But by the end of June, the army will conduct its first test with the seeker integrated into ‘surrogate missile’.

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