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US Army conducts ‘max range' PrSM test fire

The US Army conducted a ‘max-range shot' of a Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) prototype on 13 October at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, but neither the service nor Lockheed Martin have disclosed just how far the missile flew.

“Lockheed Martin's PrSM completed its longest flight to date, exceeding maximum threshold,” the company wrote in a 14 October announcement.

Just days earlier, Janes spoke with Brigadier General John Rafferty, head of the army's Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, about PrSM development and the plan to fire the weapon out past the 500 km range.

“This is our max range shot to help us figure out what the max range of the baseline missile will be,” Brig Gen Rafferty explained. After Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), it announced that it would lift PrSM's 499 km range cap.

While the service has not disclosed what the baseline missile's range will be when it is fielded in 2023, it is expected to exceed 500 km. Future iterations are then expected to push that envelope out even further, while the addition of a multimode seeker will enable the weapon to also strike maritime targets.

With this max range shot completed, the service now intends to showcase the PrSM during Project Convergence 2021 and will load two missiles into a M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher for the event. However, it will not ‘ripple' fire the missiles there, but will instead use them in two separate events, the one-star general said.

Additional tests are expected to follow, and to fund missile development the army recently awarded Lockheed Martin an additional USD62 million to continue work through to April 2025, though the company says this figure could increase to USD444 million.

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